Rick's Newsletter


Australia's first 100 point white wine from The Wine Advocate

By Erin Larkin
The Wine Advocate

The 2021 Giaconda Estate Vineyard Chardonnay hails from Beechworth, about a three-hour drive north (and slightly east) of Melbourne. This wine expresses equally of Chardonnay and of Beechworth; its reduction and oak are delectable hallmarks (and, as I discovered recently, are intense even by Burgundian standards), and the intertwined drive of fruit and acid in this cool vintage are hitherto unmatched by previous vintages. This is a Great Wine by any standard globally. I am proud to give it a perfectly rounded score of 100 points.


I am not sure what is more important to convey now: is it that this is my personal first 100 -point score to a wine in print? Or is it more about the transformative ability of great wine to impact our perception of perfection?
They are one and the same thing, in this case.
This wine, the 2021 Giaconda Estate Vineyard Chardonnay, certainly made me feel like I had not another choice but to give it a perfectly rounded score. It came down to understanding that I no longer required anything further from this wine. I could not conceive of a single thing that I would change about it if I could (except of course, at this stage, its lack of presence in my cellar). I have seen other vintages countless times blind (in both a national and an international context, pictured below), revealed in the same conditions, in verticals, solo and for leisure. It has never failed to impress upon me the grandeur, scale and consistency of Giaconda as a producer; the only variation has been vintage expression and bottle format (and occasionally, with older bottles, cork condition).


Left: Tasting the 2021 Giaconda Estate Vineyard Chardonnay in a large, blind Chardonnay tasting; Right: The glasses at that tasting

I have been in a strange place about the “100-point” score. From one perspective—perhaps, the main perspective—it points toward perfection. Well, I have had plenty of wines that I could describe as “perfect.” So, why the hesitation? And what is “perfection” anyway?
The Hesitation:
When it comes to scoring wine, I do not really think it matters what the score is exactly. It matters more where the wine is ranked in the context of its peers, indicating very strongly that it is very important to get to know the proclivities and previous rankings of your chosen wine writer.
So, this 2021 wine is on par I believe with the great 2018 Giaconda Estate Vineyard Chardonnay. A contender for 100 points as well yet arriving at my desk at a time when I was still questioning what 100 points meant to me in the context of “Great Australian Wine.” Do you know what I understand now? I understand that I had it all wrong. It does not matter about “Great Australian Wine” or “Great French Wine” or “Great Any Other Wine” as concepts. What matters is “Great Wine.” And this, my friends, is that. 
Does it exist? I do not know. I think it does. I have had many wines that have made me exhale and think “if only….” Very, very few wines make me think “I want nothing more from this wine. Everything I could want is here in this glass.” I experienced the latter when I tasted the Giaconda 2021 Chardonnay.

The Context: 
To put this score into perspective: Australia has been awarded a 100-point score only 34 times in the history of The Wine Advocate. Ten of those scores were awarded to fortified wines. Twenty-two of them were awarded to Shiraz wines (of those, thrice to a famous Shiraz Cabernet blend) and twice to a Cabernet Sauvignon (incidentally, the same Cabernet Sauvignon both times, different vintages). So, this is Australia’s first 100-point score awarded to a white table wine, and the first to a Chardonnay.
Read the full tasting note >

Tasting Notes by Andrew Caillard MW

An excert from Andrew’s wines reviews as published on The Vintage Journal:

 The story of Giaconda is a remarkable journey of faith in nature, self-belief and ambition. Rick Kinzbrunner is making some of Australia’s most exquisite wines. This year’s releases are a wonderful testament to a great Australian winemaker and an exceptional vineyard site. The multi-layered and complex Giaconda Estate Vineyard Chardonnay is a gloriously evocative wine and one of the finest releases of all time. It highlights incredible attention to detail, the natural distinguishing marks of a great vineyard and a super vintage. This is backed up by the 2021 Giaconda Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir, from the same vineyard,  which is about as good as you can get. Having tasted a fair swag of 2021 Pinot Noirs around the country, regarded as a top notch vintage, this wine is particularly expressive and resonating. The 2019 Giaconda Nebbiolo also highlights Rick Kinzbrunner’s virtuosity and creativity as a winemaker. These releases are a tour-de-force and further display the extraordinary singularity and brilliance of Giaconda. This estate is destined for international stardom.


2021 Giaconda Estate Vineyard Chardonnay, Beechworth - Victoria

 Medium pale colour. Intense flinty, lemon glace, grapefruit, nectarine, beeswax, wetstone hint matchstick aromas. Beautifully seductive wine with gorgeous ripe nectarine, lemon glace, grapefruit flavours, expressive flinty, waxy notes, fine loose knit al dente textures, superb creamy viscosity, underlying marzipan, vanilla notes and wonderfully integrated acidity. Extraordinary wine. This is a brilliant Giaconda Chardonnay with superb density, fruit complexity, flow and mineral length. Australian Grand Cru. Absolute genius. Drink now – 2032 13.5% alc **100 points**


2021 Giaconda Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir, Beechworth - Victoria

 Medium deep crimson. Fresh wild strawberry, raspberry pastille, aromas with a hint marzipan/ roasted almond notes. Beautifully balanced Pinot Noir with strawberry, raspberry, red cherry, hint chinotto fruits, fine chalky/ al dente textures. Superb mid palate viscosity and underlying vanilla marzipan oak notes. Finishes slinky and long. Wonderful voluminous Pinot Noir with superb concentration and mineral torque. One of the finest of the 2021 Australian vintage. Drink now – 2030 13.8% alc **98 points**


2019 Giaconda Nebbiolo, Beechworth - Victoria

Medium crimson. Beautiful fragrant red cherry strawberry, hint marzipan, roasted walnut aromas with hints of dark chocolate. Wonderfully complex and supple with red cherry pastille, strawberry, chinotto flavours, a hint of flint/graphite notes, fine loose knit chalky/ velvety tannins, superb mid palate viscosity and underlying marzipan, vanilla roasted walnut notes. Slinky and minerally at the finish. Very impressive with lovely density, silkyiness and torque if that’s not a contradiction! Drink now – 2028 14% alc **96 points**



  • Beechworth Provender
    18 Camp Street
    Beechworth VIC 3747
    (03) 5728 2650
  • Cellar Door Wine Store
    62 Ford Street
    Beechworth VIC 3747
    (03) 5728 2882
  • Provenance Restaurant
    86 Ford Street
    Beechworth VIC 3747
    (03) 5728 1786
  • Armadale Cellars
    813-817 High Street
    Armadale VIC 3143
    03 9509 3055
  • Boccaccio Cellars
    1030 Burke Road
    Balwyn VIC 3103
    03 9817 2257
  • Bottega Tasca
    321 Lygon Street
    Carlton VIC 3053
    03 9347 7379
  • Como Wine and Spirits
    Cnr Toorak Rd And River Street
    South Yarra VIC 3141
    03 9827 0934
  • MW Wines Pty Ltd
    1 Marine Parade
    Abbotsford VIC 3067
    03 9419 6990
  • Nicks Wine Merchants
    10-12 Jackson Court
    East Doncaster VIC 3109
    03 9822 9100
  • Prince Wine Store
    177 Bank Street
    South Melbourne VIC 3205
    03 9686 3033
  • Rathdowne Cellars
    348 Rathdowne Street
    Carlton North VIC 3054
    03 9349 3366
  • City Wine Store
    161 Spring Street
    Melbourne VIC 3000
    03 9654 0811
  • The Winestar Centre
    13 Mcgregors Drive
    Keilor Park VIC 3042
    03 9261 4444
  • Wine House
    133 Queensbridge Street
    Southbank VIC 3006
    03 9698 8000
  • Five Way Cellars
    4 Heeley Street
    Paddington NSW 2021
    02 9360 4242
  • Langton's Brokerage
    Level 1, 26 Waterloo Street
    Surry Hills NSW 2010
    02 8507 2662
  • Summer Hill Wine Store
    7 Lackey Street
    Summer Hill NSW 2130
    02 9798 7282
  • United Cellars
    179-181 Palmer Street
    Darlinghurst NSW 2010
    02 8915 5300
  • Currently unavailable
    in your region
  • The Wine Emporium
    Tenancy E2, Gasworks 76B, Skyring Terrace
    Newstead QLD 4006
    07 3252 1117
  • Wineaway Pty Ltd
    Unit 3 - 276 Abbotsford Road
    Bowen Hills QLD 4006
    07 3852 1891
  • Australian Wine Centre
    4 Truro Avenue
    Kingswood SA 5062
    08 8272 7248
  • East End Cellars
    25 Vardon Avenue
    Adelaide SA 5000
    08 8232 5300
  • Edinburgh Cellars
    1-7 High Street
    Mitcham SA 5062
    08 8373 2753
  • Steves Fine Wine and Food
    30 The Avenue
    Nedlands WA 6009
    08 9386 3336