Raise a glass to quality of local wine

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Castle Rock Estate winemaker Rob Diletti is a finalist in the Winemaker of the Year Gourmet Traveller awards.
Camera IconCastle Rock Estate winemaker Rob Diletti is a finalist in the Winemaker of the Year Gourmet Traveller awards. Credit: Laurie Benson/Picture: Laurie Benson, Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

The Great Southern wine region is producing top-notch drops and continues to be underrated, according to WA wine expert Ray Jordan, who this month published his prestigious Top 100 Reds list.

Jordan said the Great Southern wine region was one of the biggest in the world, as it stretched from Frankland River to Albany.

Although it has long lived in the shadow of Margaret River, he said it had produced another exceptional list of wines.

FRE Ray Jordan for top 100 red wines magazine.
Camera IconFRE Ray Jordan for top 100 red wines magazine. Credit: Iain Gillespie/Picture: Iain Gillespie, Iain Gillespie The West Australian

“There is an incredible diversity of wine styles in the Great Southern and to some extent, it’s been underrated,” Jordan said.

“There’s been a really steady improvement in wine quality coming out the region in the past two years.

“In fact, last year, the best wine in my list was the Forest Hill shiraz in 2017 from Denmark.”

This year, there were 10 Great Southern wines selected in Ray Jordan’s Top 100 Reds list.

Among them was Houghton Crofters’ Frankland River 2017 cabernet sauvignon which scored 92/100 points.

“A wine that simply oozes class.. exquisitely crafted,” Jordan said.

Another Frankland River wine, Ferngrove’s 2018 Black Label malbec, also scored 92 points.

Jordan described the Malbec as a “gorgeous little wine”.

Further south, Albany’s Wignalls scored 90 points for its 2017 cabernet merlot — “a medium bodied wine that offers plenty”.

Denmark’s Forest Hill performed brilliantly, with two wines at the pointy end of the list.

The winery’s 2018 Highbury Fields shiraz was named runner-up in the $20 to $25 category, earning 93 points.

“One of the best I have seen under this label,” Jordan said.

And in the $25 to $40 class,

Forest Hill’s 2018 shiraz was rated even higher at 94/100.

West Cape Howe’s 2015 Two Steps shiraz came in at 93/100 as an “excellent example of Great Southern shiraz”.

But it was Castle Rock Estate which received the highest score from the region, with 95 points for its 2017 pinot noir, pictured below in the $25 to $40 class.

Ray Jordan Top 10 Reds 2019 - $25-$40 - pinot noir
Camera IconRay Jordan Top 10 Reds 2019 - $25-$40 - pinot noir Credit: Supplied

Award-winning winemaker Rob Diletti received praise from Jordan for his ability to produce world-class wines year in, year out.

“Rob Diletti is a first-class winemaker. He is consistently one of Australia’s best,” Jordan said.

“He really does know how to capture the best in the fruit and you can always guarantee that whenever he got his hands on the wine, it’s going to be good.”

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