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South Australia’s top-scoring white wines: 20 to try

With Spring approaching this 20 March, white wines may begin to take an edge this time of year. Whether looking for crisp and refreshing styles or complex and full bodied, South Australia's top-scoring white wines from the 2020 Decanter World Wine Awards seem to encompass it all...

South Australia is home to some of Australia’s most famous wine regions. Barossa Shiraz, Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon or even McLaren Vale Grenache might initially come to mind, and rightly so. The state is responsible for around half of Australia’s wine production with red wines being a main component.

But then there’s esteemed Clare Valley Riesling, Adelaide Hills Chardonnay and a range of other white grape varieties to discover.


Premium – Grosset: producer profile and Riesling vertical

Scroll down to see South Australia’s top-scoring white wines and tasting notes


With a host of different soil types, microclimates and mitigating influences such as cooling coastal breezes and altitude, South Australia is able to produce a varied range of high-quality white wines – evident at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2020 where two of the state’s (and country’s) top-scoring white wines received Platinum medals and 97 points: Bird in Hand’s Ted Edward Andrew Chardonnay 2018 from Adelaide Hills and Pewsey Vale’s Museum Reserve, The Contours Riesling 2013 from Eden Valley. Just 178 wines out of the 16,518 evaluated were awarded this top accolade.

Tasted and rated by the expert judges and Australian wine specialists at DWWA 2020, here we highlight 20 of South Australia’s top-scoring white wines from fresh Rieslings, Assyrtiko and Grüner Veltliner to elegant Chardonnays and Viognier

South Australia’s top-scoring white wines: 20 to try

Chardonnay

Bird in Hand, Ted Edward Andrew Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills 2018

Platinum, 97 points
The complexity, depth and quality of this youthful wine strikes like an arrow the moment it enters the mouth. Crème brûlée, white peach, lime zest, salty oak tannin and a nutty hint decorously fill the mouth; undeviating line and length.

Bird in Hand, Nest Egg Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills 2018

Gold, 96 points
A very fine, elegant and restrained example with gentle tangerine and honeycomb aromatics. Pear, citrus, peach, melon, pineapple and vanilla stream across the mouth before being corralled into the long, zesty finish.

St Hugo, Chardonnay, Eden Valley 2018

Gold, 95 points
Seductive nose of lemon, lime leaf and floral buttercup, while the savoury, spiced palate is graced with bright citrus and has a beautiful, saline lift.

Tapanappa, Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay, Piccadilly Valley (Adelaide Hills) 2018

Gold, 95 points
Rich and smoky on the nose, with hints of gentle spiced citrus fruit, and the palate is graced with white peach, nectarine and a hint of spice.

Angove, Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills 2019

Silver, 92 points
Beautifully lifted aromas of white nectarine, lime leaf and green melon lead to a creamy palate of vanilla and lemon curd.

Heirloom Vineyards, Assen’s Fortalice Chardonnay, Adelaide Hills 2019

Silver, 91 points
Vibrant with zippy lime and lifted floral notes, then a palate brimming with nectarine, lemon zest and plush peach.

Riesling

Pewsey Vale, Museum Reserve, The Contours Riesling, Eden Valley 2013

Platinum, 97 points
Sleek with bright lemon curd, smoky flint and opulent lime marmalade on the nose, while the elegantly textured palate is graced with pithy lime zest, wet stone and zippy citrus fruit.

Eden Springs, Riesling, High Eden, Eden Valley 2016

Gold, 96 points
Beautifully floral nose of pear, lime blossom, flinty stone and green apple, then the palate is textured with fresh lemon and a bright, focused polished acidity.

Kilikanoon, Mort’s Block Watervale Riesling, Clare Valley 2018

Gold, 95 points
Pristine, elegant poised white spice, key lime pie and lifted floral aromas lead to a citrus palate laced with a white pepper, green olive and herbal lift.

Gatt, Riesling, High Eden (Eden Valley) 2014

Silver, 93 points
Perfumed with quince, preserved lemon and brown sugar, then honey, tangerine and elegant lime marmalade grace the palate.

Kirrihill, E.B.’s The Settler Riesling, Clare Valley 2019

Silver, 93 points
Generous, plush mango, lime blossom and peach floral notes lead you on to a palate graced with kiwi, bay and thyme.

Cat Amongst the Pigeons, Fat Cat Riesling, Eden Valley 2019

Silver, 92 points
Elegant with hints of white blossom, lime cream and flint on the nose, then a delicate palate of citrus and ginger.

Henschke, Julius Riesling, Eden Valley 2019

Silver, 92 points
Bright, elegant perfumed floral and lime aromas lead to a zesty saline palate laced with fresh, pithy grapefruit.

Other

Hahndorf Hill, Gru Grüner Veltliner, Adelaide Hills 2019

Gold, 95 points
Bright with hints of cool lime, spearmint and mango skin aromas, passion fruit, sun drenched apricot and zesty citrus fruit on the delicate floral palate.

Yalumba, The Virgilius Viognier, Eden Valley 2017

Gold, 95 points
Delicate, with hints of white peach and bright citrus, then on to a focused palate of pineapple, vanilla, creme caramel and subtle silky spice.

Jim Barry, Assyrtiko, Clare Valley 2019

Silver, 93 points
Bright and inviting, with bags of zippy lemon blossom on the nose, zesty acidity and stone fruit on the palate.

Peter Lehmann, Margaret Sémillon, Barossa 2012

Silver, 92 points
Intense gun flint, nutmeg and baked lemon aromas, then layered lemongrass, citrus and toast on the palate.

Nepenthe, Winemaker’s Selection Schubert’s Rd Vineyard Gewürztraminer, Adelaide Hills 2018

Silver, 91 points
Perfumed and heady, with rose petal, lychee and violet on the nose, then ginger, citrus peel and spice brace the palate.

Nepenthe, Winemakers Selection Arneis, Adelaide Hills, 2017

Silver, 91 points
Heady and inviting with a wild thyme, smoke and citrus nose, then the creamy textured palate is laced with a fine acidity.

Langmeil, Three Gardens Viognier-Marsanne-Roussanne, Barossa 2019

Silver, 91 points
Beautifully inviting aromas of peach skin, nectarine and honeysuckle, while the palate is laced with toasty almond, cinnamon and melon.


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