Spring wine reviews by Tyson Stelzer

99 POINTS // $365


The Caley

Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2016

More than any other wine of the modern era, this vintage declares why Yalumba commenced blending Coonawarra Cabernet and Barossa Shiraz more than a half century ago. Perfect, compact, fragrant blackcurrant and blackberry fruit depth and the most intricate, chalk mineral framework define one of the greatest expressions of the great Australian blend of recent decades. A vintage to keep coming back to for another half century yet.

99 POINTS // $890


Hill of Grace

Eden Valley Shiraz 2016

The legendary fable that is Hill of Grace is defined by effortless grace and caressing elegance, in the presence of commanding endurance of half-century proportions. 2016 embodies all the profound depth of black fruits and signature, fragrant, exotic Chinese five spice that characterise this storied place, set to tannins more finely textured yet more commanding than ever. The true spectacle of 2016 is yet decades away.

97 POINTS // $70


Centenary Hill

Barossa Shiraz 2016

A phenomenal take on Barossa Shiraz. Century-old vines whisper their fragrant, exotic spice, heightened magnificently by carefully gauged whole bunch fermentation. Polished dark chocolate oak furnishes a classy backdrop, sitting just below the fruit at every moment of a finish of grand persistence and undeviating line.

97 POINTS // $450

St Hallett

Planted 1919

Shiraz 2015

By contrast to St Hallett’s blending philosophy in Old Block, its new superstar celebrates the virutes of single site, in the soothing voice of ancient Eden Valley vines. It stands confidently, resolutely and refreshingly odds to the ‘bigger is better’ brigade, instead delivering breathtaking purity of rose petal fragrance, tangy morello cherry fruits, bright acidity and superb, fine-ground tannins. Sensitivity meets talent.

96 POINTS // $110

Brothers at War

Single Vineyard

Old Vine Barossa Valley Shiraz 2018

A Lyndoch Shiraz of considerable concentration, drive and larger than life determination, the only thing that is miniscule about it is its production. Carefully played whole bunches lay out a  spicy overlay atop all the black fruits and dark chocolate oak to be expected. Very fine and full tannins rise to the challenge, supporting a bright finish of exceptional line and length.

96 POINTS // $100


Circa Centum

by Wayne Dutschke 2018

The triumphant red and black berry, chery and plum fruit exuberance of the great 2018 season sets out a wonderful backdrop for the exotic spice of these almost century-old vines. Only Dutschke could capture such a spectale to a level of detail as this: fresh, crunchy, lively, and propelled eloquently by fine-grained tannins and luscious, high cocoa dark chocolate oak. One for the cellar.

96 POINTS // $40


Bin 51

Eden Valley Riesling 2021

The cool 2021 vintage is fast aligning itself with 2002 and 2005 as the finest Riesling seasons thus far this century. This is certainly compelling evidence, the most precise and enthralling Bin 51 of the recent era, irresistible now, and with a grand future before it. It is at once exuberant, and yet honed and streamlined as only a cool season can be, following a focused line of determined tension, powder-fine mineral structure and the scintillating acid drive of cool nights.

96 POINTS // $99

Hentley Farm

von Kasper

Barossa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2019

Benchmark, varietal Cabernet of enduring potential was hard to come by in 2019 in the Barossa. Hentley farm has bottled an exact replica of textbook blackcurrant, quintessential cassis, wonderful violet lift and rose hip intrigue. Masterfully crafted, powder-fine tannins fuse with bright acidity to carry a finish undeviating line and length.

96 POINTS // $115

Grant Burge


Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

Engineered for interstellar space travel, this is a Barossa Cabernet of breathtaking endurance. Propelled by fruit and oak tannins of supercharged proportions, yet at every moment intricately fine. Dark chocolate French oak brings up a finish of earth-shaking stamina. It’s not coming in for landing for at least 30 years.

99 POINTS // $700

Para Vintage Tawny

Persistence, longevity, complexity and concentration are the hallmarks of greatness, setting Para Centenary in a league of its own. A century in the deep has amassed an explosive power, mesmerising complexity and sheer viscosity like nothing else. A drop is all it takes to transport you into its transfixing universe, where time stops and it holds you in suspended animation for minutes.

98 POINTS // $800

The Laird

Singularly the most monumental showpiece for the sheer might of Barossa Shiraz, this is a vintage on another scale, with every detail exploded into larger-than-life proportions. Darker, deeper, more exotic, more smoky, mineral, spirty, dusty, unbridled. To achieve all and yet uphold consummate integrity and unrelending confidence is where it leaves all other overpowered pretenders in its wake.

97 POINTS // $100

No.1 Barossa Shiraz

Cool years like 2017 were tricky to negotiate in the full-bodied dimension of the Barossa. But when fruit was selected judicously and winemaking executed skilfully, the wines were blessed with brightness, definition, integrity and grand endurance that stand them resolutely alongside fabled seasons like 2002. Saltram has captured all the focus and poise of the year while upholding incredible black fruit density, epic tannins, magnificent natural acidity and high class French oak.

97 POINTS // $320

The Maverick
Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

The best wines are made in the vineyard and polished in the winery and this blend is living proof. Such space and grace in the presence of profound depth, character and seamless composure is the holy grail of Australia’s definitive blend. Shiraz and Cabernet unite pitch-perfect red and black fruits with fine-ground tannins, culminating in a crescendo of mesmerising line and length.

97 POINTS // $100

Peter Lehmann
Barossa Shiraz 2017

The cooler and more tricky seasons declare the depth of Lehmann’s reach into a vast spread of the Barossa’s finest sites. Compact, bright, dense, crunchy black fruits are dressed in an immaculate gown of fine-woven tannins of enduring confidence. High cocoa dark chocolate French oak has been perfectly tuned to the season, promising enduring longevity.

97 POINTS // $40

Leo Buring
Leonay Eden Valley
Riesling 2020

The shining pinnacle of Eden Valley Riesling in 2020, this is a Leonay that sways not to the tropical mood of the season, but rather upholds breathtaking dignity, profound concentration, consummate elegance and finish that holds undiminshed and undeterred for a full 45 seconds. Fully transcending its vintage, this is another epic chapter in the odyssey that is Leonay.

96 POINTS // $75

rolf binder
Heysen Barossa Valley
Shiraz 2018

Binder’s celbrated Heysen vineyard has made a grand statement in 2018, upholding brightness and definition without sacrificing Barossa character or profound depth. Crunchy black fruits of all kinds make for an alluring spectacle, playing to a backdrop of fresh liquorice straps, fine tannin confidence and bright acidity. For all it represents, it’s good value, too!

96 POINTS // $125

Rostein Vineyard
Flaxman Valley
Eden Valley Shiraz 2018

A grand new flagship for Spinifex, the first single vineyard release from this Eden Valley site. Classic Eden Shiraz, boasting full purple hue, reverberating with deep-set spice, powerful black fruits, fresh liquorice and a full serve of dark chocolate oak. Impressive concentration is tensioned with a fine yet taut frame of intricately suspended tannins.

96 POINTS // $95

Righteous Barossa Valley
Mataro 2018

Kym Teusner’s juicy, delicious polish is perhaps harder to translate in old vine Mataro than anywhere else. It’s impressive in itself that he manages to achieve this consistently, all the more so that he can do this while upholding accurate varietal markers. This is what sets this apart as one of the Barossa’s greatest single vineyard Mataros.

94 POINTS // $25

turkey flat
Barossa Valley White 2020

If you love cool climate Chardonnay, you’ll adore this warm climate Marsanne/Roussanne/Viognier blend. Really! Lemon and grapefruit zest tension contrasts pronounced struck flint reductiveness and high class cashew nut French oak, stripped back to racing spec by a rigid chassis of tense acid drive. Yet, crucially, it’s impeccably ripe, and endowed with just the right amount of flesh. Length, too. Be patient.

92 POINTS // $23

by Ben Glaetzer
Shiraz Grenache 2018

All the wonders of Ben Glaetzer’s wizardry let loose on old vines, swinging in at a refreshingly affordable price. Ebenezer declares its spicy red and black berry density, lifted by the freshening mood of tank-matured grenache. Fine-boned tannins complete a satisfying finish. Many flagships from this part ot the world merely dream of such joy and integrity.

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