Wine buyers looking for a high-quality semillon sauvignon blanc can rest assured that Western Australian wineries are a good place to start.
In the new edition of James Halliday’s Wine Companion, WA winemakers dominate the Best of the Best listing for SSB.
In fact, 87 per cent of the best SSB wines are from WA.
The state also rates highly in riesling production, with 55 per cent of the best from WA wineries.
Other varieties in which WA wineries rate highly are cabernet sauvignon (42 per cent) and chardonnay 32 per cent.
The Wine Companion states that the Margaret River and Great Southern regions are to thank for WA’s strong performance, although there were a few wines from Pemberton, which made an appearance.
Eighteen WA wineries qualified for the highest ranking in the guide.
These are wineries that have been recognised for having a long track record of excellence – “truly the best of the best”.
The other wineries are spread across the South West, from Forest Hill Vineyard in the Great Southern to Houghton in the Swan Valley.
The big surprise this year was boutique Denmark producer Singlefile Wines, which took the inaugural top award in the Dark Horse category in the Wine Companion Awards.
“It is the first time I have selected the ‘best’ Dark Horse,” Mr Halliday said.
“I simply looked at the number and quality of the wines that got each of the Dark Horses over the line, and then selected the portfolio of the winner.”
Three years later, they bought an established vineyard in Denmark, pulled out the old shiraz and merlot vines and planted chardonnay in their place.
They have also established partnerships with vineyards in Frankland River, Porongurup, Denmark, Pemberton and Margaret River to make the rest of the wines in the Singlefile portfolio.
“We have made it our mission to seek out the best quality fruit from sites and regions where the variety grows well, and from growers who are as single minded in their approach as we are,” Singlefile chief executive Patrick Corbett said.
“This award validates that decision.”
The 2014 wine of the year went to a Gippsland winery for the Bass Phillip Reserve Pinot Noir 2010.
It received a record 99 points, the highest rating Mr Halliday has ever given for an Australian table wine.
The 2014 winery of the year went to Penfolds, in the Barossa Valley.
One of Australia’s oldest wineries, it is now owned by listed company Treasury Wine Estates.