Summer wine reviews by Tyson Stelzer

98 POINTS // $3,500



A fitting crescendo to the G series and a worthy tribute to 70 years of Grange. Bookended by the sublime 2018 and 2010 harvests, its black fruit density and definition are all-encompassing, and it delivers every detail of all there is to love of its five component vintages in larger than life proportions. Dark chocolate, black olives and coal steam are framed in an impeccably fine lattice of tannins of towering proportions that will see it out for half a century. A monumental take on Grange!

97 POINTS // $150


The Octavius

Barossa Old Vine Shiraz 2016

A splendid Octavius that confidently parades the grand depth of the Barossa with distinguished accomplishment. Black fruits of all kinds are bathed in black olives, high cocoa dark chocolate and nuanced with pan juices. The undiminished determination and persistence that it demonstrates on the finish is transfixing, framed in pinpoint, fine-grained tannin structure. Octavius is now firmly established among the most elite names in the Barossa.

96 POINTS // $40

Laughing Jack

Moppa Hill


Shawn Kalleske has conjured a serious Barossa Cabernet, coiled, tense and enduring. Deep, vibrant purple in hue, it’s impeccably varietal, filled with tiny, crunchy black- and redcurrants, blackberries and cassis. Top class French oak has been deployed confidently yet with the utmost care. Bright, natural acid line and fantastic persistence make for a cellaring special.

96 POINTS // $150

Laughing Jack

The Limited Two

Single Vineyard Barossa Valley
Shiraz 2018

A quintessential and benchmark take on Greenock, Shawn Kalleske’s flagship is a selection of his best two barrels. It’s built around a singular core of black and red berry fruits, locked into a strong lattice of firm, fine, mineral fruit and oak tannins, illuminated in a bright beacon of natural acidity. Every nuance moves forward in unison, marking out a very long finish.

96 POINTS // $70

O'Leary Walker

The Sleeper

Reserve Shiraz 2018

The oldest block in Williamstown (1946) infuses this wine with monumental density and concentration, balanced consummately with drive, structure and endurance. Glossy black fruits of all kinds, black liquorice straps and black pastilles are framed masterfully in fine-grained tannins that draw out a grand, lingering finish. Benchmark.

95 POINTS // $200


RWT Bin 798

Barossa Valley
Shiraz 2019

This is a strong and robust Bin 798 that commands a long spell in the cellar. Grand black fruit impact is framed boldly in French oak tannins of enduring structure and great line and length that seal its future. Spicy black fruits of all kinds meet liquorice and dark chocolate. Mouth-embracing tannin impact declares both drought season mood and confidently deployed barrels.

95 POINTS // $300




For lovers of bold Barossa, a full purple hue heralds dense layers of spicy dark berry fruits, subtly accented by the apricot and orange presence of a judicious touch of Viognier. French oak rises to the occasion with dark chocolate presence and great depth of firm, fine tannins. It concludes long and generous with sweet, warm alcohol. The full might of the 2018 harvest is rolled up in RunRig.

94 POINTS // $100

Charles Melton

Nine Popes

Barossa 2018

The lively, spicy, fragrant mood of Grenache leads out, with strong backing from the black fruit depth and savoury spice of Shiraz. Concentrated, sweet and sour berry fruits meet a veritable spice cart of personality. Dark chocolate oak and plush, finely crafted tannins bring up a long and linear finish. Charles Melton’s flagship is a complex and characterful take on the classic Barossa blend.

94 POINTS // $65

St Hugo


Daniel Ricciardo Barossa Valley
Shiraz 2014

A child of the Hahn block in, this is a case in point of the horsepower of Ebenezer bridled by the engineering of 100% new French oak. Generous fruit and high-tensile oak tannins sit disparate for now, but achieve balance and confidence, making this a certain long-distance performer.

93 POINTS // $75

Jacob's Creek

Our Limited Release

Barossa Valley
Estate Riesling 2020

Harking back to the earliest heritage of the company, half fermented and matured for 6 months in seasoned 110L oak octaves makes for a very different take on Jacob’s Creek’s house style. It delivers all the concentrated lime and lemon fruit and acid tension to be expected, wrapped in folds of brioche, roast almonds and spice, bringing a creaminess to high-tensile structure. It takes quite some talent to pull off this stark juxtaposition with such seamless, effortless grace.

97 POINTS // $119

Fine Aged Tawny
30 Years Old

A brilliant exemplar of the bountiful blessings of age, this is a masterfully blended tawny that delivers the viscosity and depth of complexity that can only come with time. I love the way the tang of acidity and the lift of spirit lead over sweetness in bringing vitality to a finish that just never seems to end. Super classy.

96 POINTS // $187

Hentley Farm
Barossa Valley Shiraz Cabernet 2019

A show-stopping blend at the big end of the Barossa, the union of Shiraz and Cabernet brings brightness and confidence to the not inconsiderable proportions of Greenock Creek in the drought 2019 season. Blackberries, blueberries and prunes hold long amidst black jubes, liquorice and high cocoa dark chocolate French oak. Deep and impenetrable, with every crevice filled with inky density, it’s confidently scaffolded in heavy tannin artillery to meet its proportions. It has a grand future before it.

96 POINTS // $200

Les Amis 2018

This is single vineyard, dry grown Greenock Creek Grenache of monumental, towering stature and enduring longevity. Deep wells of warm, spicy black fruits hover until kingdom come. Intricate, strong, slatey tannins mirror ancient geology. It completely laps up new French oak, reinforcing spicy black density, shoring its scaffolding and heightening its potential for the long-haul.

95 POINTS // $40

Eden Valley Shiraz 2020

It’s captivating to see Yalumba fruit interpreted by Tim Kirk, after Clonakilla tragically lost its entire 2020 crop to smoke taint. Almost one-third whole bunches lend a wonderful exoticism of violets and spice that lift a deep core of black fruit intensity and a powder-fine splay of magnificent tannins. Unmistakably Eden Valley and yet emphatically Clonakilla. Grand testimony to the calibre of both. And downright delicious, too.

95 POINTS // $50

Eden Valley Viognier 2020

When Clonakilla lost its entire 2020 crop to smoke taint, Yalumba kindly made Viognier available for this release. The result brings together in one bottle the two finest Viognier makers in the country in a breathtaking dance of texture, purity, drive and promise. This is a stunning Viognier exemplifying the perfect juxtaposition, at once creamy, fleshy, racy, and oh so enticing!

95 POINTS // $62

Keyneton Euphonium 2017

A classic Barossa blend with a long future before it, it takes quite some skill, dexterity and humility in the winery to allow fruit of such elegance to really sing. I love the transparency of the Barossa’s cooler seasons, in such articulate detail here that all four varieties are clearly visible in all their glory. It’s unashamedly medium-bodied, refreshing and enticing, yet in no way underpowered, simplistic or short-lived. Crunchy berry fruits, fine-ground tannins and vibrant acidity unite to marvellous effect and outstanding line and length.

95 POINTS // $160

Soul Growers
Hampel Barossa Valley Shiraz 2019

From 20 year old Kalimna vines, aged 20 months in French oak barrels (half new), this is a Barossa Shiraz of sweet fruit core carried long and strong, flanked confidently by firm, fine tannins. The signature satsuma plum and blackberry core of Kalimna is inimitable, framed immaculately here in long straps of fresh liquorice, high cocoa dark chocolate and mixed spice.

94 POINTS // $40

O'Leary Walker
Cabernet Shiraz 2020

There’s a seamless integration that comes from co-fermentation of Cabernet (75%) and Shiraz (25%), impeccably united here with seasoned French oak. Juicy, spicy red and black berry fruits are framed in delightfully powder-fine tannins. At once fleshy and bright, it’s impeccably confident from the outset, and will only improve over the coming decade.

94 POINTS // $130

John Duval Wines
Eligo Barossa Shiraz 2018

Deep wells of black fruits of all kinds, liquorice and coal steam are confidently supported by a frame of new French oak tannins. A dry finish reflects a drought year, yet holds pretty good persistence and promise. Eden Valley dominant for the first time, this is a Shiraz that achieves definition and detail in the presence of grand concentration and enduring structure.

91 POINTS // $25

Turkey Flat
Butchers Block Shiraz 2020

Juicy fruit, exotic spice and powder-fine tannins define a Barossa Shiraz of a uniquely enticing shape. It meets the brief of a purposely lighter, brighter, fresher, modern style of Shiraz with no new oak and the fragrant exoticism of whole bunches (15%). A fun lunchtime style!

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