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Margaret River Chardonnay: panel tasting results

From newer-school, citrus-led, mineral styles to richer, tropical wines, it was the freshness, focus and balance of these whites that impressed.

Roger Jones, Justin Knock MW and Julia Sewell tasted 61 wines, with five Outstanding and 32 Highly recommended.

Margaret River Chardonnay panel tasting scores

61 wines tasted

Exceptional 0

Outstanding 5

Highly recommended 32

Recommended 22

Commended 2

Fair 0

Poor 0

Entry criteria: producers and UK agents were invited to submit their still, dry 100% Chardonnay wines from any part of the Margaret River region in Western Australia

For such a young wine region, Margaret River – Western Australia’s most important wine GI (Geographical Indication) – has made a big impact.

The first winery, Vasse Felix, was established only in 1967, quickly followed by others, but the focus was then on Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay was not widely planted for another decade, with the first commercial bottling released at the end of the 1970s.

Scroll down to see tasting notes and scores for the top-scoring Margaret River Chardonnays

As with much of Australian wine then, early releases were big and oaky. However, for the past 20 years, Margaret River Chardonnays have shown increasing levels of refinement.

The best may not come cheap, but they do represent exceptional value for money when compared (as they often are) to top Burgundy.

The top-scoring Margaret River Chardonnays

The judges

Roger Jones is the retired former owner of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn restaurant in Wiltshire. He is now a wine writer, judge and consultant with a particular interest in the hospitality trade, as well as helping charities. He is a DWWA judge, with a focus on New World regions.

Justin Knock MW is director of wine for luxury wine merchant Oeno Group, overseeing its buying, marketing, trade and retail activities, and he is one of two DWWA joint Regional Chairs for Australia.

Julia Sewell is a wine consultant and educator offering services via juliasewellwine.com. A DWWA judge, she began her career in restaurants in Melbourne, Australia before moving to the UK and working at The Fat Duck in Bray, Hide Restaurant Mayfair and Davy’s Wine Merchants.

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