Ray Jordan’s Top 100 Reds 2017

The Best Wine

Ulithorne Dona Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2015 ($24)

Wonderful example of the classic blend. Balanced with a seamless integrated palate that does set this one apart from so many. 94/100

Runner Up

Jacob’s Creek Barossa Signature Shiraz 2015 ($23)

A new range that is kicking some goals for Jacob’s Creek. Such a massive production, and yet the attention to detail to produce quality wines that stand up against anything at similar prices is quite remarkable. 93/100

The Wines $20 to $25

Battle of Bosworth shiraz 2015 ($23.95)

Another cracker from this excellent McLaren Vale producer specializing in single vineyard organically grown fruit. This is generously proportioned with a medium to full bodied feel in the mouth. Plush and long with a powerful and long finish. 93/100

Jacob’s Creek Barossa Signature shiraz 2015 ($23)

You must admire the winemaking with Jacob’s Creek. Such a massive production, and yet the attention to detail to produce quality wines that stand up against anything at similar prices is quite remarkable. This is another beauty. 93/100

Tahbilk shiraz 2014 ($24.80)

There has been quite a transformation in the past few years at Tahbilk, especially in these reasonably priced wines. Gone is the steely sometimes palate challenging styles and in their places wine that is far more friendly and approachable with better fruit vibrancy. Check this one out to prove my point. 93/100

Willow Bridge Gravel Pit shiraz 2015 ($30)

Georgeous example of Geographe shiraz. It’s been a wine that has steadily improved and been refined over the years and is now a consistently impressive wine. Grainy tannins and fine oak combine to bring the best out of the quality fruit. 94/100

Yelland & Papps Devote Greenock shiraz 2015 ($32.75)

The Greenock area within the Barossa has a distinctive and individua character that emerges in these red wines. Loads of rich dark chocolate and plush ripe fruit. Intense and multi-layered with masses of persistence and driving intensity. 94/100

Teusner The Riebke shiraz 2015 ($27)

From the Ebenezer area within the Barossa. Smooth and seamless pure Barossa shiraz with an earthy loamy character that seems to come direct from the soils of this famous region. 92/100

Domaine Naturaliste Discovery syrah 2014 ($23.90)

Bruce Dukes is kicking some goals with his own label while still making wines for a bunch of the brands in the region. This Margaret River medium bodied shiraz captures the dry earthy notes of the region which is quite different to the Plump sweet fruit of the Great Southern. Excellent. 91/100

Robert Oatley McLaren Vale shiraz 2014 ($23)

The Robert Oatley brand continues to grow. From the outset, it has been cleverly marketed but the key is quite simply first rate wines that deliver well above their rice point. All the lush McLaren Vale characters of juicy plump fruit bursting from the rich middle palate to a sustained finish. 92/100

Tyrrell’s Rufus Stone Heathcote shiraz 2014 ($24)

The distinctive graphite iron filings characters of this region are evident from the first sniff of an excellent value for money shiraz from this excellent year. Smooth and seamless with layered complexity delivered with precision. Spicy dark plum aromas with a little pepper and richer chocolate complexity. A most stylish elegant wine for the short term. 92/100

Vinaceous Reverend V Mount Barker 2014 Syrah ($24)

This is a very good wine. There is great depth and power here with a distinctive graphite character. Has great texture and fruit depth with fine grainy tannins and deep powerful fruit delivered with typical Mount Barker finesse and elegance. Has a cool character but not too lean that it lacks depth. I love this one. 93/100

Four in the Hand shiraz 2014 ($24.60)

This comes from Chris Hancock, who made a name for himself in the old Rosemount days. It’s Barossa shiraz in abundance with all those opulent dense fruit flavours you want from this great region. Great value for this quality. 92/100

Innocent Bystander Yarra Valley Syrah ($25)

This brand is now with Brown Brothers and you would have to say it was a clever buy for them This medium bodied syrah is effortless and long with a vibrant sweet plummy fruit character balanced by a little tannin and oak on the finish. 92/100

Pertaringa Undercover shiraz 2014 ($22)

A solid McLaren Vale shiraz that ticks all the boxes for style and distinguishing features of the region. Ripe and plump fruit with a liberal hit of oak to complement and support. Nice in the medium term. 91/100

Yelland & Papps Barossa shiraz 2015 ($21.55)

Like what these guys are doing with their entire range. This is another belter. Loaded with vibrant juicy rich fruit with a beautiful palate that seems to bounce along towards its long finish. Fruit driven style that you just wat to keep going back for more. 91/100

Cabernet sauvignon

d’Arenberg The High Trellis cabernet sauvignon 2013 ($21.40)

One of the best on this excellent line of cabernets from these guys. Savoury and black fruits …tweak the rest. Superb little value for money cabernet from this great name in McLaren Vale. Has a leafy black currant aroma with a little cedary savoury oak. It’s balanced with super fruit concentration and light dusty tannin in support. A wine that’s made for drinking over the next few years. 93/100

Alkoomi Black Label cabernet sauvignon 2014 ($24)

A smooth and textured Frankland cabernet showing a terrific fruit and oak balance. This is a medium bodied wine exhibiting soft black plummy fruit and some light toasty oak nuances. Fine grainy tannins and a tread of understated fine grained oak. Juicy and layered palate. 89/100

Sevenhill Inigo cabernet sauvignon 2014 ($24)

Famous old winery in the heart of the Clare Valley with access to great fruit that allows wines like this to be par for the course. Intense and concentrated with blackcurrant and black olive nuances spliced with lovely cedary oak influences. So much plush dark fruit delivered with poise and balanced restraint. 93/100

Pinot noir

Devil’s Corner pinot noir 2016 ($22)

If you get the chance, check out the cellar door and vineyard up on Tassie’s east coast. If you can’t get there, then this great value classy pinot will do the trick. Sour cherry and savoury influence work together with the light bodied frame controlling the flavor to a sustained precise finish. 91/100

Mount MacLeod pinot noir 2016 ($23)

This neat pinot nori comes from South Gippsland, a region that is well suited to pinot. South cherry and a slightly sweet and sour infusion makes for complexity and interest on the light bodied palate So well structured and balanced with tat smooth silky tanning structure a feature. 91/100


Ulithorne Dona Grenache shiraz mourvedre 2015 ($24)

Gosh this is a good wine. Exquisitely balanced with a seamless integrated palate that does set this one apart from so many. Like the savoury ad slightly grainy mouth feel, focused tannins and good weight oak. It all adds up to a super wine that has quality winemaking stamped all over it. 94/100

Castelli shiraz malbec 2015 ($24)

Great to see Malbec being put to such a worthy use. IT’s such a god variety for blending and with shiraz it is an underrated and seldom used winner. Lifted blueberry and deeper plum characters with a nice floral leafy note on the nose. Dense middle palate pushes to a long finish. 93/100

Millbrook grenache shiraz mourvedre 2016 ($20.75)

From the first sip, I was hooked on this delicious Rhone blend. Vibrant and bursting with enticing fruit flavours with the three varieties working in perfect harmony. Each mouthful you get a burst of lively fruit. Great drinking in the short term while those primary fruit characters are so pronounced. 93/100

Singlefile Great Southern cabernet merlot 2015 ($25)

Has become one of the best and most consistent producers in WA. This blend of Great Southern fruit shows such impeccable poise and structure integrity. The driving cabernet is filled perfectly with the plump fruit cakey merlot. Excellent wine for the medium term. 92/100

Wills Domain cabernet merlot 2014 ($20)

These guys are making some mighty fine red wines especially and this one in the value for money category is excellent. Soft and generously proportioned fruit characters on a smoothly integrated palate. Very long and sustained finish. Loads of dark berry fruits with a degree of merlot lushness for balance. 91/100

St John’s Road Workhorse shiraz cabernet 2014 ($23)

The workhorse blend in Australia and it works a treat here. Ripe and juicy full-bodied wine showing great texture and fleshiness. Super length and a deep palate. 91/100

Other varieties

Yalumba Old Bush Vine grenache 2015 ($20)

Have been a great fan of this wine from the first time I tasted it. Captures the essence of Grenache with a deft lightness of touch so that those beautiful floral rose petal aromatics and exquisite palate are not compromised. 93/100

Pizzini Nonna Gizsella sangiovese 2015 ($21.55)

Pizzini has made something of an art form of making sangiovese, not surprising given their heritage and the region they are playing in. This is soft with a sweet and sour character with a pure fruit lift on the finish. One glass just won’t be enough. 92/100