The results are in and James Halliday and his respected tasting panel from across the nation agree- both Harewood Estate from Great Southern, WA and Silkwood Estate from Pemberton, WA have produced some of Australia’s top wines this year.
Each year James Halliday along with his tasting panel that includes Erin Larkin, Tyson Stelzer, Jane Faulkner, Jeni Port, Ned Goodwin, Dave Brookes, and Philip Rich taste thousands of wines in search for the best Australian wines, winemakers and wineries.
In the 2023 Halliday Wine Companion Awards both Harewood and Silkwood both saw multiple wines that rose to the occasion and impressed the panel.
In 2003 James and Careena Kellie purchased Harewood Estate with the goal to produce sub-regional wines that showcase the variety of the Great Southern Region. Since then, they have expanded the winery capacity by nearly double, won 31 national and international trophies, have been awarded hundreds of medals and received the coveted 5 Red Star Rating from James Halliday, which is awarded to the top 5% of Australian wineries for “a consistent record of excellence”.
This year, Harewood once again received raving reviews from both James Halliday and Erin Larkin for the 2023 Halliday Wine Companion Awards. These awards are a testament to the quality of wine grapes grown throughout the Great Southern Region and endorse the aim of Harewood: grapes are grown in select, low yielding vineyards to create wines that represent the best the region has to offer.
Harewood Halliday Highlights
94 points – Erin Larkin: “There is a character here that is not present in the Tunney or Porongurup riesling – like toasted saffron or turmeric, cashew. The fruit strays to the sugar snap pea end of the spectrum. It’s a lovely, textural and layered wine with faceted fruit and spice characters.”
93 points – Erin Larkin: “Morello cherries, raspberry bush (the bramble, the sweet fruit, the lot), finely crushed black pepper and bright acidity. This is a lovely, structural wine – another impressive release. The chalky tannins are a highlight.”
93 points – Erin Larkin: “Soft florals rise up through the aromatics; wisteria, jasmine, honeysuckle, citrus blossom, green apples and crushed quartz. Very pretty, very fine and very long.”
92 points – Erin Larkin: “Licorice, aniseed and fennel flower lace the aromatics, in the mouth the redcurrants, cherry cola and cherries come to the fore. Pert and largely uncomplicated, but also engaging in its expression: this is a classy wine, fabulous value.”
92 points – Erin Larkin: “This is showing its age on the nose, but in the mouth it translates as minerality: it is an Alka-Seltzer character which is most appealing. Jasmine tea, snow peas, cloudy apple, cleansing… it is quite a surprise. Wet rocks and shale, graphite and beach sand… These are odd characters to write down, but they come from the wine, not from thin air. There’s a lot going on. I like it.”
91 points – Erin Larkin: “Hand picked, fermented in French oak (40% new), 30% mlf, matured for 10 months. Stewed apples, toasty oak and loads of orchard fruit in there (white peach, nectarine, some salted yellow peach). The mlf component has lent a crushed nuts/creaminess to the palate, providing an undertow of pleasure and smooth texture.”
90 points – James Halliday: “Produced from 5 estate-grown clones. The price and slightly watery though bright hue dampened my expectations, but hey, there’s far more to the wine, with the all-important varietal expression nailed to the mast. Red and black cherry-accented fruit may lack sophistication and complexity, but the odds are stacked in favour of 3–5 years revealing more and more.”
90 points – Erin Larkin: “There is a pungency to the nose here, that’s gone beyond gooseberry and transcended into jalapeño. It’s so past the point of overt that it’s rounded back into spicy and interesting and quite exciting. But if you don’t like fresh green chilli this may not be to your taste. In the mouth the wine is rounder and more plump than you’d expect from the aroms. All in all, a wine likely suited to a mildly spicy Asian meal – dumplings come to mind; loading up on coriander and green chilli will be recommended.”
Silkwood Estate stretches nearly 24 hectares in Pemberton’s premier wine growing region amidst the towering Karri Forest. An area that was chosen after an extensive search throughout Western Australia and decided to be most suitable to develop their wines based on the area’s ideal climate and gravelly, cool soils.
The primary focus of Silkwood Estate is to produce beautiful, quality boutique wines that can be shared with friends and family. Each wine is crafted with individual attention and focus, expressing the distinct varietal characteristics that the Pemberton region is renowned for.
90 points – Erin Larkin: “A blend of Mendoza and Clone 95. Wild fermented in barrel (50% new). There’s a lot going on here. It’s edgy and plump, there is salted peach and apples and plenty of brine. The acid and the oak/tannin have a bit of an awkward intersect at this stage; it’s not quite come together yet, although that’s hardly surprising given it is so young. Give it a year or 2 to sink into itself.”
90 pts – Erin Larkin: “A blend of Mendoza and Clone 95. Wild ferment in barrel (50% new). Savoury, worked and driven by oak and acid at this point. The fruit is reminscent of white peaches and green apples, the oak is pervasive throughout every aspect of the wine, without actually being ‘woody’. The highlight is undoubtedly the finish, lingering and concentrated.”