The wines of Best's Great Western, Victoria, Australia
An impressive line-up from this historical winery in the Grampians


Bestís is family owned, by the fifth generation of the Thompson family, who bought it from the Best family in the 1920s. There are 40 hectares of vines, and all the wines are made from estate fruit. The winery itself dates back to the 1860s, when Henry Best bought the property, then called Concongella, and within three years had turned it into a working winery, despite a lack of previous experience.

This was gold rush time in Victoria, and Best made a living supplying the population drawn to the area in search of gold. It must have been a very different place then, and on the Bestís website thereís a wonderful range of archival photography giving an insight into a very different, more rugged way of living.

Continuing the historical theme, a small vineyard known as the Nursery Block was planted as a trial site in 1866 from a mixed bag of cuttings, and has some 39 different varieties. The vines are still alive today, and make red and white field blends that are a fantastic piece of vinous history. Most of the vines are tagged with the variety, but 8 remain unidentified.

Great Western, the wine region here, is part of the Grampians in central Victoria, some 200 km west of Melbourne. Itís a beautiful spot.

Best's recently cleaned up at the Royal Melbourne Wine Show, at which I was an overseas judge, winning the prized Jimmy Watson trophy for the 2011 Bin 1 Shiraz. They are currently on top of their game.  


Bestís Riesling 2011 Great Western, Australia
11.5% alcohol. Very pure, fresh, delicate limey nose with lovely precision and aromatics. Powerful palate with lovely purity and a bit of sweetness. 91/100

Bestís Concongella Blanc 2011 Great Western, Australia
This is a field blend, and includes grapes from the Nursery Block. Rounded, fruity and fresh with nice purity. Lovely pretty fruit here with some richness and a hint of sweetness. Very lively with good acidity. 91/100

Best's Nursery Block Red 2011 Great Western
The nursery block was planted in 1866 as a trial site with 39 different varieties. The varieties in this wine are: Tinta Amarella, Aubun, Grec Rose, Cangnan, Dolcetto, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Morocan Noir, Mataro, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Sauvigonasse, Olvette Noir and Pinot Meunier. Pale-ish cherry red colour. Taut, slightly reductive nose showing fresh cherry and plum fruit. Lovely elegant, open cherry fruit here with a real freshness to it. Midweight and expressive, with a hint of ginger spice. 92/100

Best's Young Vine Pinot Meunier 2010 Great Western
From vines planted in 1971, which were cuttings from 1868 plantings. Supple, bright and fresh with sappy cherry fruit and leafy green overtones. The palate shows supple, elegant cherry fruit with a hint of sweetness. Really elegant, like a herbal Pinot Noir. 92/100

Best's Pinot Noir 2010 Great Western
12.5% alcohol. Sweet, spicy cherry, raspberry and herb nose. Warm, fresh, cherryish palate with nice spiciness and some herbal notes. A vegetal backbone underlies the fruit. Stylish. 90/100

Best's Dolcetto 2010 Great Western
11% alcohol. Sweet, aromatic ripe cherry fruit nose shows lovely perfume. The palate has fine, herb-tinged bright raspberry and cherry fruit, with lively acidity. Fine, berryish wine with nice grip. 90/100

Best's Bin 0 Shiraz 2009 Great Western, Australia
Sweet, seductive and meaty with fine, expressive plum, raspberry and blackberry fruit. Concentrated palate with real intensity. Fresh and powerful, with good tannins; ripe yet fine. 93/100

Wines tasted 01/12  
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