Announcing the White Wine of the Year Finalists for 2016

The wide field of potential White Wines of the Year Winners have been whittled down to just six Finalists.

What a journey we’ve had. The wide field of potential White Wines of the Year Winners have been whittled down to just six Finalists. We are so impressed with the quality of the field, the diversity of the regions, and the styles on offer – you can see how hard the task was!


South Australia is represented with a crisp Riesling and powerful Chardonnay from the Eden Valley, while a King Valley Pinot Grigio proudly flies the flag for Victoria. A stunning Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc shows why whites from the west are so highly prized. And it wouldn’t be a list of finalists without a wine or two from Marlborough. This time it’s a classic Sav Blanc and elegant Chardonnay.

What we looked for

First and foremost we looked for quality – It’s at the heart of what Cellarmasters is all about.


We also looked for value. At Cellarmasters, we believe great wines don’t have to break the bank. We’re fortunate to have such an abundance of great wine made in this part of the world.  

What we found

We’ll start with the Sauvignon Blanc. This style is so enduringly popular, and prized for its approachability and flavour. We have two Savs in our Finalists: one from Marlborough and one from Margaret River.

Ribbon Hills Straight Line Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2016

A Sauvignon Blanc? From Marlborough? Yes, it’s that regional Kiwi style with worldwide appeal but with more to it than just the punchy passionfruit. Grassy notes precede the crisp, clean finish on this delicious Sav Blanc.


Food match: Do yourself and your guests an enormous favour and pair this with a goat’s cheese salad during a long summer lunch.


Franklin Tate Alexanders Reserve Margaret River Sauvignon Blanc 2016

A Sauvignon Blanc? Not from Marlborough? Yes! Australian fans of Rugby Union and Sav Blanc can empathise with one another as the dominance from across the ditch can be a bit of a sore subject. Here, however, is a shining light from Margaret River. Elegant, yet vibrant and fresh, this regional Sav shows poise with a sublime varietal flavour profile.


Food match: Pair this with tiger prawns or a fillet of salmon.


On to the Chardonnay and we have two that show the variety in this grape – a contender from Marlborough and something special from the Eden Valley.

Hawkesbridge Reserve Black Label Marlborough Chardonnay 2015

Last year, Hawkesbridge took out the whole competition with a Sav Blanc. This year, they are back with a regional Chardonnay and what a wine it is. Tasting Panel member and wine educator Christine Ricketts said, “I’ve been won over!” Calling this Chardonnay “Definitely a new favourite.” 


Food Match: Christine also recommended that we pair the Hawkesbridge Chardonnay with crab cakes, lime and chilli.

Krondorf Growers Eden Valley Chardonnay 2015

There was a time when nothing was more unfashionable than Chardonnay. What were we thinking? This wonderful Chardonnay shows the classic varietal characters of stonefruit and citrus. These flavours are cut through by a line of moreish grapefruit and a mouth-watering zestiness.


Food Match: Think cream, mushroom and rich warm flavours. Try gratin potatoes or risotto. Pair with a moist roast chicken (or turkey) for a shortcut to gastronomic heaven.

Avon Brae Eden Valley Craneford & High Eden Riesling 2016

Eden Valley Riesling taken to the next level, literally. High Eden is an altitudinous area of this superstar South Australian wine region. Showing all the classic Eden Valley Riesling characters of lemon and lime, minerality and slight notes of that enigmatic yet surprisingly delightful kerosene.


Food match: Chill this wine before serving with Thai beef curry and lime. All the more tantalising, if you can mange this outside on a warm evening.

Wordsmith Bed of Roses King Valley Pinot Grigio 2016

We left this one ’til last, as this region is one of the most beautiful in the country, a foodie’s paradise and a tourist’s dream. It seems somewhat unfair that they also produce such stunning wine. This Bed of Roses is aptly named and honours the King Valley as much in varietal characteristics as it does the region’s Italian heritage. A brilliant food wine with ‘come hither’ aromas and ‘come back again and again’ flavours.


Food Match: It might be shorter to list the foods it doesn’t go with. It’s so versatile: serve before during or after a meal or even in a spritz. Think al fresco: salads, seafood, pasta, mezze or on any table with lots of variety and plenty of people. 



File under:

  • Wine of the Year
  • White Wine of the Year
  • White Wine