Brokenwood in the Hunter Valley is the toast of the Australian wine industry after 2018 Graveyard Shiraz was named Wine of the Year in the Halliday Wine Companion Awards announced online last night.
James says in the Wine Companion, “The 2018 vintage followed 2017’s lead, each devoid of rain, allowing winemakers to choose the picking date, not a date imposed by the weather.
“The result was the best wines since the golden year of 1965.
“After I had decided that this Graveyard was the Wine of the Year, Iain (Riggs) announced he was retiring on 30 June 2020, but he will remain on the board of directors.”
James was one of three Sydney lawyers who established Brokenwood in the late 1960s.
In 1983, Iain Riggs AM was headhunted to become Brokenwood’s first qualified winemaker.
“Iain’s wisdom has been the rock on which one of Australia’s best small to medium-sized wineries has been built, Graveyard Shiraz its flag-bearer,” James says.
James says he “wrestled with the conflict of interest issue”.
“But I left Brokenwood in 1983,” he says.
“It was my first child, viticulturally speaking, and I’ve got so many memories of the place – some humours, some moving, some wonderful.”
“2018 in the Hunter Valley was a fabulous vintage.
“Graveyard in particular has this silky power that immediately captures your attention. The tannin, acid, fruit triangle all come together tremendously well.”
Iain says, “The 2018 Graveyard follows a line of successful vintages but 2018 is actually the thirtieth release and it is a very, very special plot of dirt.”
The team behind the top wine also includes Stuart Hordern and Kate Sturgess. Keith Barry (and now daughter Katrina) is responsible for managing the old-vine site.
Henschke added to its many accolades, winning Winery of the Year. It comes just a few months after Hill of Grace was awarded 100 points by Nick Stock on JamesSuckling.com.
The awards were announced ahead of the release of the 2021 Wine Companion today.
Winery of the Year
Wine of the Year
Brokenwood 2018 Brokenwood Graveyard Shiraz
Winemaker of the Year
Brett Grocke, Eperosa, Barossa
Best Value Winery of the Year
Best’s Wines, Grampians
Best New Winery
Varney Wines, McLaren Vale
Dark Horse of the Year
House of Arras 2005 EJ Carr Late Disgorged
Seppelt Drumborg Vineyard Riesling 2019
Brokenwood ILR Reserve Semillon 2014
Leeuwin Estate Margaret River Art Series Chardonnay 2017
Flowstone Queen of The Earth 2018 Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc
Other Whites & Blends
Stargazer 2019 Tupelo Tasmania
Lethbridge 2018 Botrytis Riesling TBA
Nocturne Carbunup 2019 SR Sangiovese Nebbiolo
Bannockburn 2017 Serre Geelong
Moss Wood 2016 Wilyabrup Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet & Family
Mount Mary 2018 Quintet Yarra Valley
Brokenwood 2018 Graveyard Shiraz
Shiraz And/Or Grenache
Brothers At War 2018 Barossa Single Vineyard Grenache
Serrat 2019 Yarra Valley Shiraz Viognier
Mayer 2019 Yarra Valley Nebbiolo
Photo: Chris Elfes.