The wines of Giaconda, Beechworth, Victoria

Rick Kinzbrunner’s amazing wines are some of Australia’s most sought-after bottles


Giaconda is one of Australia’s star boutique wineries.

It’s in the region of Beechworth, located northeast of Melbourne, in the foothills of the Victorian Alps. Giaconda is the key winery responsible for putting Beechworth on the wine map. Mechanical engineer Rick Kinzbrunner first planted vines here in 1982, and these vines were added to gradually over the following years. Recent plantings have taken the total up to 6 hectares, but demand still far outstrips supply for these sought-after wines. Debut vintage was 1985, released in 1987.

Kinbzbrunner first became interested in wine in the early 1970s, and he studied wine in California before working at wineries such as Stag’s Leap and Matanzas Creek. He returned to Australia in 1980 as assistant winemaker at Brown Brothers, and planted his first vines two years later.

The star wine here is the stunning Chardonnay: with its rich texture, lively aromatics and concentration it’s one of Australia’s best. The Aeolia Roussanne and Nebbiolo are in the more quirky end of the spectrum, but both are compelling. Brilliant Warner Shiraz is worth looking out for, and does especially well in cooler years.

Production is around 3500 cases, of which the Chardonnay is around 1000. Interestingly, I got to compare the 2010 Chardonnay under both cork and screwcap. Rick says there is no demand for the cork-sealed version in Australia and has discontinued it.

I asked Rick about the matchstick reduction some of his Chardonnay’s show. I really love that matchstick character,’ says Rick Kinzbrunner. ‘More solids and the right type of barrel can increase the chance of getting it. I only get it with new oak. The right type of barrels and toast can increase the chances. You can’t get it in an old barrel. You get one barrel like that only in every 40 barrels, and you only need half a dozen for it to carry through the whole wine. You don’t want to overdo it.’ Rick had a special barrel designed with the most possibility of developing this matchstick character. It had a special char, and it was Vosges/Allier with special toast, three years air dried.


Giaconda Chardonnay 2013 Beechworth, Victoria, Australia
Ripe but fresh with nice bold pear, peach and spice notes. Nice texture. Lovely depth and focus. 94/100 (06/15)

Giaconda Chardonnay 2012 Beechworth, Victoria, Australia
Lovely complex matchstick/mineral nose with some sweet pear fruit. The palate is dense, focused and spicy with nice richness and mineral precision. Brilliant wine. 95/100 (06/15)

Giaconda Chardonnay 2011 Beechworth, Victoria, Australia
Intensely mineral with a slightly reductive nose. Very fine and expressive with nice purity. Ripe, sweet pear and peach fruit here: so nicely balanced. Amazing wine. 96/100 (06/15)

Giaconda Shiraz 2012 Beechworth, Victoria, Australia
Warm and sweet, and a bit spicy and peppery on the nose. The palate shows seductive, fresh, supple berry fruits. Really nice. 94/100 (06/15)

Giaconda Shiraz Beechworth, Victoria, Australia
Pure expressive and peppery with nice focus and weight to the sweet black cherry fruits. Lovely vivid spiciness. Rounded and bright with nice peppery details. Vivid. 92/100 (06/15)

Giaconda Nebbiolo 2012 Beechworth, Victoria, Australia
Fine, fresh and juicy, showing rounded raspberries and cherries. Bright and focused with keen acidity. Shows balance and interest. 93/100 (06/15)

Giaconda Chardonnay 2010 Beechworth, Victoria, Australia
Cork sealed. Just amazing depth and detail here. Lovely matchstick reduction on the nose. Complex, full and mineral with some spice. Textured, rich, lively palate showing warm, ripe pear and peach fruit but also with a lovely mineral focus. Profound. 96/100 (06/13)

Giaconda Chardonnay 2010 Beechworth, Victoria, Australia
Screwcapped. Fresh and mineral with a subtle matchstick edge to the nose. The palate is fresh, pure and fine with sweet pear and peach fruit and some detail, showing lovely purity. Quite fresh. 94/100 (06/13)

Giaconda Chardonnay 2011 Beechworth, Victoria, Australia
Screwcapped. Lively pear, peach and mineral nose. Fine and expressive with some matchstick notes. The palate is dense with pear and a hint of pineapple, as well as lovely texture and some spiciness. Fresh, mineral and yet rich at the same time. 95/100 (06/13)

Giaconda Warner Vineyard Shiraz 2011 Beechworth, Victoria, Australia
From a cool year comes this amazing wine. Amazing, peppery and vivid with ripe black fruits, and lovely chalky minerality. The palate is beautifully fresh and focused with lovely pure black cherry and raspberry fruit, as well as some fine, spicy, mineral grip. Amazing precision here. 97/100  (06/13)

Giaconda Nebbiolo 2008 Beechworth, Victoria, Australia
Just 2000 bottles made. Not exported. Fresh, pure and elegant with fine black cherries and nice spiciness. Amazing texture. This is such a lovely, balanced, expressive example of Nebbiolo. 94/100 (06/13)

Giaconda Aeolia Roussanne 2008 Beechworth, Australia
Very rich, grapey, herby nose with some tropical fruit notes and herbs/straw. The palate is rich and bold with a grapey, peachy, pear fruit character. Textured, intense and complex. A rich style with lovely intensity. 92/100 (06/09)

Giaconda Warner Vineyard Shiraz 2008 Beechworth, Australia
Ripe, sweet and rich with notes of black cherries, plums, olives and meat. Rich, smooth, bold and intense with lovely fruit. A rich wine with some real interest. 94/100 (06/14)

Giaconda Chardonnay 2006 Beechworth, Australia
Amazingly rich, toasty, aromatic and broad with ripe, lush, tropical fruit notes and some savoury oak. The palate is rich-textured and broad with almost fat, smooth peach and pear notes as well as well integrated oak. Finishes warm and spicy. A rich, concentrated, sophisticated wine. 95/100 (06/09)