In August of 2020, Best’s Wines was named the 2021 Halliday Wine Companion’s Best Value Winery of the Year. This prestigious accolade is bestowed upon one Australian winery each year in recognition of their dedication to consistently producing high-quality wines. The award represents not only the monetary value of the wines, but also the principles of the winery itself and their winemaking practices. It’s recognition that we are incredibly proud of. This is because making wines that are accessible and widely enjoyed by our customers is very much core to our winemaking philosophy. Having such a focus has certainly allowed many wine-loving consumers to discover our wines and get to know some of our best-kept secrets.
Best’s winemaker Justin Purser says that all wine should be good value, regardless of price point: “Whenever you buy a bottle of wine, no matter the price, you’re ultimately looking for value.” Justin believes everyone wants to feel that what they have purchased is worth the money they have spent – from high-end back vintage releases to entry-level quaffing wines.
This is particularly true for wines such as our Bin No. 1 Shiraz or our Great Western Riesling, as the market is highly competitive at this price point and consumers have plenty of choice in this range. It’s pertinent that the wines almost over deliver and that the experience is a positive one. When Justin speaks about the importance of all wine being good value, he means that the wine should meet your expectations to avoid disappointment.
With winemaking experience across the globe Justin certainly continues to refine Best’s house style and tweak the little components in the wine that make a difference. When it comes to choosing a wine, Justin’s advice is not to worry too much about the region, vintage, varietal or year, but rather, to consider the overall consistency of the producer. While some producers may receive an excellent parcel of fruit, it can be mishandled at various points throughout the winemaking process. Justin says: “Our philosophy is to treat all of our grapes as if they come from the Thomson Family Vineyard. That means all of our grapes receive the best possible treatment in the vineyard and winery. Quality is our primary objective.”
While a simple algorithm in the Halliday Companion categorises individual wines in terms of value (based on price and points awarded) Halliday says there are many other factors taken into account when nominating the Best Value Winery of the Year. Last year though he made particular reference to a broader context noting:
“Many years ago, a basic algorithm was created that took into account the price of each wine being reviewed for the Wine Companion and the points it received to automatically add a ‘special value’ rosette at the end of its tasting note. It took out of play an emotional reaction that caused me to write ‘good value’ or ‘great value’ as part of a tasting note. Viewed in isolation, these words were reasonable; the problem was that they were influenced by a whole host of things that could impinge on the fairness or otherwise of the remarks. Shortly put, it wasn’t consistent.
You may say that the Best Value Winery should be that which collects the highest number of rosettes, or the highest strike rate. Both are important, but in this case there are yet other important factors that should be taken into account, and this year’s winner has loads of them.”
Halliday has long been aware of the philosophy of Best’s and how we have approached making our wines over the past 150 years. When speaking about Best’s Wines, Halliday notes: “There’s an almost luminescence to the aroma, the flavour, the unquestioned ability [of the wines] to live as long as you wish.” He rightly refers to our Old Vine Pinot Meunier as a prime example of the value for the wines. At the $100 price point and sourced from 1.2ha of vines planted in 1867, it certainly is “unbeatable value.”
While the icons of our range such as the Pinot Meunier that are rare and limited in production often make the spotlight, it’s the Great Western range that we’re equally proud of. As Halliday noted “Ben Thomson and his father Viv would also likely point to the $25 price tag for the core range of 2019 Riesling, 2019 Pinot Noir, 2018 Shiraz, 2018 Shiraz, 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2019 Dolcetto, all given 95 points by either Jane Faulkner or me. I haven’t attempted a forensic search but can’t remember a five-core-varietal brand coming up so consistently.”
We’re proud to join the ranks of fellow Halliday Wine Companion Best Value Winery recipients such as Hoddles Creek Estate (2015), West Cape Howe Wines (2016), Larry Cherubino Wines (2017), Grosset (2018), Provenance Wines (2019) and Domaine Naturaliste (2020), and look forward to congratulating the newest recipient in August.