The definitive guide to Australian Wines
Each week James Halliday selects a standout wine from his recent tastings.
Estate-grown, with 5% viognier co-fermented, matured in French oak (20% new) for 18 months. There's a lot of wine here for the money, the complex bouquet arresting and complex, with red and black fruits and multi-spices leading into a medium to full-bodied palate that is a three-dimensional replay of the bouquet, tannins and oak providing gravitas. Exceptional value.
14.4% alc. / RRP $24 / 2038 / Alkoomi Wines
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Hand-picked and destemmed, but not crushed, 20 days on skins, matured in French oak (15% new) for 10 months. Bright crimson hue; the bouquet sets the antennae waving, the gently savoury black cherry, plum and licorice fruit flavours show no sign of overripeness. In best pinot fashion, makes its presence felt in no uncertain fashion on the finish and aftertaste. Gold medal Tasmanian Wine Show ’15.
14% alc. / RRP $35 / 2021 / Milton Vineyard
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Fermented and matured in French oak for 12 months. Gleaming straw-green, it bursts with life and sparkling energy, the grapefruit/citrus rapier thrust on the palate ultimately parried by the underlying stone fruit and benison of subtle oak; the finish is gloriously fresh and long.
13% alc. / RRP $32 / 2025 / Stella Bella Wines
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Open-fermented, matured for 10 months in French oak. Bright, clear colour; a delicious medium-bodied wine, red fruits dominant, backed by fine tannins on a graceful palate. Has length that might escape the casual observer, and also its likely longevity. Despite this, the wine is already good to go, its modest alcohol a key.
13.5% alc. / RRP $35 / 2025 / Tinklers Vineyard
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85% shiraz, 15% petite syrah from McLaren Vale, open and closed fermenters, matured for 18 months in new and used hogsheads. Deep, gleaming inky purple; all about hedonism: this bypasses the head, travelling through the heart and establishing a lasting friendship with the stomach. It’s the outcome of some very clever winemaking.
15% alc. / RRP $50 / 2033 / Zonte's Footstep
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Hand-picked, whole bunch-pressed to tank for initiation for fermentation with cultured yeast, transferred to French barriques (43% new), a full mlf followed, with adjustment of tartaric acid and SO2, 20 months maturation. While diminishing acidity (by mlf) and then adjusting it is an uncommon approach. It’s hard to find fault in the wine; it has an incisive edge to the mouthfeel, the fruit flavours precisely placed on the tipping point between citrus and stone fruit, benefiting from both, but not at the expense of the other.
14% alc. / RRP $65 / 2025 / Moss Wood Wines
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Good hue and depth; this is a great example of a wine that is medium-bodied, yet has the intensity and length of a wine with much greater extract and body. Its freshness and balance are its ace in the hole, supple dark fruits married seamlessly with quality French oak, the tannins largely hidden.
13.5% alc. / RRP $46 / 2034 / Chandon
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Wines considered to offer special value for money.