Compared with many other countries and continents, Australia’s winemaking origins are well documented. In 1788, Governor Arthur Phillips brought the first vines to Sydney on his ship, The First Fleet, which set off from the Cape of Good Hope. And in 1833, James Busby, ‘the father of Australian wine’ brought cuttings from Spain and France, introducing Grenache and Shiraz to the region.
While sunbaked Australia has no shortage of big, robust reds, the country’s wine is considerably more diverse than that – matching its weather and landscape. Shiraz is by far the most planted grape, growing in nearly every region and accounting for around half of all Australian red wine production. Although the major producers reside in Barossa and McLaren Vale, there’s been an increase in cooler-climate Shiraz too.
But it’s not all about Shiraz. Cabernet Sauvignon (the third most-planted grape variety in Aus) and Grenache muscle their way in across Hunter Valley, Coonawarra and Barossa, while Margaret River is known for its rich, Bordeaux-style wines. And if you head to Western Australia, Victoria and Tasmania, you’ll find light and fresh Pinot Noir.
The 2022 IWSC results highlight a real mix of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir, with Cabernet Sauvignon just coming out on top. Jaraman Cabernet Sauvignon 2019 from Wakefield Taylors Wines scored an impressive 93 points, impressing judges with its ‘great fruit concentration, with rounded tannins, a creamy touch of oak and a long, harmonious finish.’
Showcasing Shiraz is Elisabetta 2020 from Calabria Family Wines, which earned 92 points and a Silver medal. It was praised for its ‘depth, grip and a savoury character with elegance and richness on the mid-palate.’ Also taking a Silver medal and 92 points are Santolin’s Gladysdale Pinot Noir 2019, in which the ‘alcohol is warming and deep,’ and Village Green Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 from Bec Hardy Wines with a ‘nicely structured’ palate and ‘clean acidity.’
To discover even more wonderful Australian red wine, check out the top 10 Silver medal-winners from this year’s IWSC below.
HOW DO WE JUDGE THESE WINES?
We run a tightly structured, rigorous wine tasting process. That means that each wine sample is pre-poured into numbered glasses and assessed blindly by the judges. Most importantly, our IWSC wine judges are experts in their field, who work across all sectors of the wine industry. For evidence, see our full list of judges.
HOW DO WE SCORE THESE WINES?
Only the best wines sampled receive a Gold or Silver award. For example, to win Gold, wines have to score between 95 and 100 points. Meanwhile, Silver wines range from 90 to 94 points. Click here to read more on our scoring system.
MORE FROM CLUB OENOLOGIQUE
Club O is an exclusive community and the go-to platform for wine and spirit lovers. Our flagship Club Oenologique magazine offers even more insights for enthusiasts and collectors. Based in London, our editorial team tells informative, inspirational stories from the world of wine and spirits, gastronomy and travel, as well as covering recommendations and the latest trends in drink. You can take a look at our Explained series, for instance, where we’re tackling grape varieties, regions and styles of wine and spirits. Alternatively, visit our Ask the Sommelier section, where experts answer your wine-related questions.