Frankland Estate 2020 Winner

Another year of high calibre wine, considered tasting, and a brilliant and diverse Top 25 wines of Western Australia. At the apex of the 2020 judging there is one wine, the 2019 Frankland Estate Isolation Ridge Riesling; A cut above all the others in 2020, though only by degrees in a field of outstanding wines. It’s a wine that is not only excellent in every sense of fine wine paradigms, including balance, persistence, detail, but is down right delicious and offers wild drinkability. It’s a piercing, powerful, laser-like expression of white wine with a buffer of fantastic chalky-mineral character. There’s a cavalcade of citrus, just ripe green apple and light floral things in the mix too. Blisteringly fresh across the palate, thirst-slaking and yet complex, the wine is glorious at every sip. Cellar with impunity, too.

“It was a striking wine amongst the landscape of awesome that we had in front of us”, says chief judge Mike Bennie, “precision, poise and refreshment factor writ large, but a sense of high drinkability amongst that. And while a totally, wickedly compelling wine to drink, there’s all that detail and layers of flavour that elevate it”

“Top wines were hard to pin down in order, such was the best wines’ calibre”, says judge Gary Walsh, “brilliant tasting, a slew of fine wines, pedigree rose to the top, though there’s so much high quality variety in that top 25”.

The WA Good Food Guide Wine Of The Year Awards are both potent and essential because they frame a bigger picture. Judging is more intuitive, and rewards wines that are delicious, complex and interesting rather than technically perfect (though some are, of course) and moves past only judging wines that fall into a narrow bandwidth of acceptability and assumed quality. Judges agree on these through conversation, discussion and thorough and repeated re-tasting.

A reflection of diversity, the results speak clearly of WA wine regions’ classic wine styles and halo varieties, through to alternative expressions, lesser-known grapes and unconventional winemaking practices. The Top 25 represents a real and significant breadth of high-quality wine from WA in 2020. It has currency.

The wines that have made the Top 25 come from established, blue-chip wineries, to small producers in Western Australia’s thriving avant garde sect of winemakers and includes exciting, boutique operators. The collection of winemakers speaks of nous and skill, with several wineries resonating with judges across multiple wines, such is their currency in vineyard sources and modern WA winemaking.

Found among scintillating cabernets, pedigree chardonnay, savoury, silky shiraz and steely-yet-complex riesling are orange wines, pet-nats, oxidative whites and light, fresh reds destined for chilling. The full gamut. The best wine of the judging shined just that little bit brighter…

The WA Good Food Guide Wine Of The Year Awards speaks fluently of an improved breed of judging and practice, with results that have enhanced consumer and trade cut-through. It’s an exciting position to proffer in the saturated and traditional landscape of wine-show judging.