Vintage Cellars

Best of Wine Awards 2023: Whites & Rosé

From bold blends to delicate drops including Clare Valley riesling and Yarra Valley rosé, here are the white and pink wines to put on your table this year.


2023 has seen some outstanding entries for Australia’s best white and rosé wines. Thanks to the diversity of wine varieties and winemaking styles, there is something for everyone’s palate when it comes to white wine and rosé. Textural, flinty, floral, fruity, savoury, skinsy, sweet, reductive, bold, linear, full-bodied, light-bodied, juicy, jumpy, bone-dry, oaky…the list of options is endless.


However, there are a few non-negotiables when selecting a great wine, irrelevant to personal preference. It needs to be balanced, complete and well-made. Luckily, there was no shortage of wines that fit this description in the 2023 Vintage Cellars Best of Wine Awards.


The competition was fierce, as judge Peter Marr attests: “It was a very strong showing in all categories, highlighting just how good the quality of particularly Australian wine is at this point in time.” Riesling shone in the lighter-bodied class; chardonnay dominated when it came to fuller-bodied wines. With rosé, “the trend is very much towards the pale, dry and savoury style”, shares Peter. Read on for the winning whites and rosé, plus the noteworthy finalists.

Winner White $25 and Under (Lighter Varietals) – Jim Barry Watervale Riesling

The Watervale Riesling is a brilliant value Clare Valley riesling, resplendent with lemon sherbet, lime and white floral notes, a racy acid drive, saline minerality and density on the palate. Judge Oliver Francis shares that, “Rieslings really stood out from the crowd in this category. The balance, and acidity inherent in the variety provided interest and complexity. It helped carry the flavours through the whole length of the palate. The citrus and floral notes were fresh and pure.”

Winner White $25 and Under (Bolder Varietals) – Chaffey Bros Dufte Punkt

A mouth-filling blend of three German varietals – gewürztraminer, riesling and kerner – this Eden Valley wine provides a union of tropical fruits balanced with a zippy minerality. Judge Oliver Francis adds, “The winner had texture, balance and clarity of flavour, with the floral and stone fruit flavours providing interest and complexity.”

Winner Premium White (Lighter Varietals) – Jim Barry Assyrtiko

If you love alternative whites, assyrtiko should be on your radar. Native to Greece, this food-friendly varietal has a vibrant acidity that works well with grilled or fried seafood. Judge Peter Marr sums up this one from Jim Barry Wines nicely: “Great to see a wine that comes from off the beaten track take out the award, and it is deserved. The wine stood out because of its different flavour and structure profile – there is a floral and herbal lift on the nose and some great energy, drive and ‘crunch’ on the palate, with a nice grip as well. Great summer drinking.”

Winner Premium White (Bolder Varietals) – St Hugo Chardonnay

This Eden Valley chardonnay shone in the category of premium fuller-bodied whites. Judge Oliver Francis says that St Hugo Chardonnay “was a clear stand-out with its flavours of stone fruit, brioche and a nutty finish. The integrated and developed body gave weight and texture to the palate.”

Winner International White – Hugel Gentil

Alsace is a wine region with so much to offer consumers, and Hugel Gentil is no exception. A delicious drop served on its own or with food, the aromatic bouquet offers up white peach, florals and fresh almond, followed by a dry palate and bright acidity.

Winner Rosé – Yering Station Into The Valley Rosé

In judge Peter Marr’s words, Into The Valley Rosé is a “lovely wine, a little fuller in colour and flavour than others in the line-up, bursting with just-ripe cherries and strawberries and held together with a tingling fresh acidity. It shows how diverse and versatile rosé is when the winemakers push the boundaries”.

The Finalists

These wines also impressed the judges in their categories – give them a try.

Finalists: International White

Wente Morning Fog Chardonnay A well balanced Central Coast Chardonnay from California. Crisp and rounded with vanillin oak, drink this with creamy seafood such as oysters or mussels.

Pajot Cotes du Gascogne A great value, easy drinking white blend from the Languedoc region in France. Bright, clean and crisp with crunchy orchard fruits.

Maretti Pinot Grigio Everything a pinot grigio should be. A fresh nose of pear and citrus, followed by a mouth-filling texture and bright acidity.

St. Clement Grüner Veltliner This grüner is a delight. Texture, freshness, acidity, citrus and spice; it’s perfect alone or with a salad or stir-fry.


Finalists: Premium White (Bolder Varietals)

Deep Woods Single Vineyard Chardonnay A fantastic value chardonnay from one of the region’s premium producers. Complex, layered and detailed. Drink now or cellar for a reward in years to come.

Forester Estate Premium Chardonnay Classic Margaret River chardonnay on the fuller end of the spectrum. Fleshy peach, crushed cashew, mealy oak and a lifted zesty acidity.

Petaluma Second Blooming Chardonnay Second Blooming is Petaluma’s new range of low preservative and minimal intervention wines. Vibrant, fresh and textural with wild ferment and subtle oak.

Singlefile Semillon Sauvignon Blanc A classic blend from Western Australia’s Great Southern. Tropical notes interweave with typical semillon grassy notes. Flinty, textural and thirst quenching.


Finalists: Premium White (Lighter Varietals)

Clos Clare Riesling A beautiful Clare Valley riesling full of ripe citrus, pretty florals, minerality and a generosity on the palate.

Petaluma YL Riesling This riesling delvers on freshness and vitality in its youth, and an elegance and dexterity with age.

Penfolds Bin 51 Riesling Produced from Eden Valley fruit, this is fresh and highly aromatic. A riesling of finesse and elegance, abundant with lime, feijoa, bath salts and florals.


Finalists: White $25 and Under (Bolder Varietals)

Nepenthe Elevation Sauvignon Blanc This Adelaide Hills sauvignon blanc walks a zippy line between herbaceous and vibrant tropical fruit typical of the variety.

Tyrell’s Hunter Valley Semillon Hunter Valley semillon is one of the country’s iconic wines. A great value option that in its youth provides freshness and bracing acidity, giving way to developed characteristics with age.

Forester Estate Premium Sauvignon Blanc A serious sauvignon blanc from Margaret River, this offers citrus notes followed by dried herbs and a savoury edge.

Yering Station Into the Valley Chardonnay Yarra Valley chardonnay complete with fresh citrus notes, almond meal and underlying spice. A zippy finish.


Finalists: White $25 and Under (Lighter Varietals)

Chaffey Bros Not Your Grandma’s Riesling A hint of residual sweetness provides a sumptuous mouthfeel and the perfect foil to the acidity here. Ideal for spicy food and warming curries.

Beyond the Wilderness Riesling This Tasmanian riesling is resplendent with a purity of fruit. Pear, white petals and green almond gives way to a bright acidity and lingering salinity.


Finalists: Rosé

Leeuwin Estate Rosé A bright shade of pink, this offers up a dry finish after plenty of ripe strawberries, raspberries and rose petals.

Chaffey Bros Not Your Grandma’s Rosé A perfumed nose is completed with hints of raspberry, musk and strawberry. At 11.5%, it’s ideal lunchtime drinking with a dry finish.

Deep Woods Estate Rosé A savoury, textural rosé that sits just as well with or without food. Sour cherry, red currant and a vibrant fresh acidity.

Triennes Rosé A great value Provencal rosé with a bouquet of fresh strawberries and cream and hints of vanilla. An easy drinking, summer afternoon rosé.

Products featured are available from 12/04/23 to 16/05/23, while stocks last. Some products or varieties featured may not be available in all stores.