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Finding WA’s Next Top (Chardonnay) Model

23 March 2024

About This Event

Event write-up by host Brendan Jansen MW

WA’s reputation for fantastic chardonnay is undisputed. At the National Capital City wine shows, from their inception to the current year (excluding the COVID years when competitions were not run or were scaled down) WA has wone a whopping 49% of all Chardonnay trophies on offer (thank you John Jens).

This event began as a post on the Facebook chat group Perth Winos. I had tried, over recent weeks, some stunning WA chardonnays, of varying styles, that impressed me greatly. These were outside of the “top tier” wines of Leeuwin, Cullen, Vasse Felix, Pierro etc. I was curious as to whether others had had the same experience – that is, whether others had come across producers that were making chardonnay waves in their recent tasting experience.

What happened was a torrent of replies, many wines which were mentioned several times, and several that I had also earmarked as destined for greatness. We undertook to assemble a tasting of as many of the wines we could get our hands on.

As a disclaimer, not every single wine we sought was available. And, when the tasting began, there was robust argument about what did, or did not, constitute the Top Tier. Essentially the wines chosen ranged from mid $30 to $85. Several vintages were represented, from 2019 to 2023.

We are also grateful to several producers and distributors who provided their wines without, or at reduced, cost.

The format I chose was to provide all tasters with the list of wines alphabetically. The wines were to be served, however, in random order. The order was determined by my colleague Pavel Ribaudo, beverage manager at Enoteca Centro, and the order was not known to me.

Wines were presented after decanting into deidentified bottles in brackets of five. The participants were given three coloured stickers to use as ‘tokens’. The red sticker was for their top wine (of the 20, worth three points), amber for their second (worth two points) and green for their third (worth one point).

Brackets were discussed after each was completed without revealing the wines’ identity. At the end of the tasting, before the wines were unmasked, the vote took place on twenty lined up pots.

There was some discussion around the wines in later brackets perhaps scoring better, by virtue of their recency or perhaps rising blood alcohol levels. Nonetheless, as the voting results will attest, each bracket was strongly represented.

The list of wines is presented below, in alphabetical order, followed by the order in which they were tasted, and then the number of votes garnered.

1. Battles Chardonnay 2023 – Margaret River 6 / 0
2. Castle Rock ‘Diletti’ Chardonnay 2020 – Porongurup 14 / 0
3. Domaine Naturaliste ‘Artus’ - Margaret River 5 / 3
4. Duke’s Chardonnay 2022 - Margaret River (3rd) 12 / 8
5. Evoi Reserve 2019 - Margaret River 17 / 0
6. Fermoy Estate ‘Reserve’ 2022 - Margaret River 3 / 5
7. Fervor ‘Juliette’ Chardonnay 2023 – Denmark (2nd) 16 / 9
8. Flametree ‘SRS’ 2022 - Margaret River 18 / 7
9. Forest Hill ‘Block 8’ 2022 – Mount Barker 13 / 6
10. Fraser Gallop ‘Parterre’ 2022 - Margaret River 7 / 7
11. Gant and Co 2022 - Margaret River 20 / 0
12. Juniper Estate ‘Cornerstone’ Karridale MR 2020 11/ 1
13. La Kooki ‘Boya’ 2021 - Margaret River 1 / 1
14. Paul Nelson ‘Karriview’ 2019 – Denmark 4 / 0
15. Picardy 2022 – Pemberton 8 / 0
16. Singlefile ‘Family Reserve’ 2022 – Denmark 10 / 0
17. South by South-West 2023 - Margaret River 9 / 6
18. Streicker ‘Ironstone Block’ 2021 - Margaret River 2 / 4
19. Trait 2021 - Margaret River (1st) 19 / 26
20. Woodlands ‘Brook Vineyard’ 2021 15 / 0

You can purchase a discounted mixed 6 pack curated from the wines tasted by contacting Pavel Ribaudo on or buy online at


WHEN: 23 March 2024 from 3 - 5pm

MASTER OF WINE: Brendan Jansen MW

FORMAT: Participants had the opportunity to taste 20 wines, in brackets of 5. Each bracket discussed and rated.

WHAT'S INCLUDED: Selection of cheese and lavosh.