Wine of the Week

Each week James Halliday selects a standout wine from his recent tastings.

2016 Box Grove Vineyard Late Harvest Viognier

Rating: 95

Harvested at 18˚ baume with a light botrytis infection, the cool fermentation stopped at 10.2% alcohol. A beautifully made and poised wine, the touch of botrytis the final touch, as it were, introducing a note of fresh ginger on the finish and aftertaste. The brilliant straw-green colour is a great start, as is the fresh and lively mid-palate, with cumquat and apricot balanced by acidity. This is always nail-biting stuff to make, here with a near-perfect result. 500ml.

10.2% alc. / RRP $24 / 2031 / Nagambie Lakes

Visit the Box Grove Vineyard winery page

Posted on 18/05/2018

2013 Olivers Taranga Vineyards HJ Reserve McLaren Vale Shiraz

Rating: 96

Hand-picked from the 48yo Old Block, named in honour of Herbert John Oliver, Corrina Wright’s grandfather. Crushed and destemmed, wild yeast open-fermented, matured in French hogsheads (30% new) for 28 months, 365 dozen made. You can’t blame the winemaking for the sheer depth and concentration of this full-bodied wine – far from it, because there is no cause for blame, especially when the primary ferment was finished in barrel. To deny this resplendently rich wine its due place is to turn your back on dry-grown 70yo vines which replaced the then-100yo shiraz vines – 170 years of history.

14.5% alc. / RRP $ / 2048 / McLaren Vale

Visit the Olivers Taranga Vineyards page

Posted on 11/05/2018

2015 Hesketh Wine Company Lehmann Hesketh Mk. 02 Coonawarra Barossa Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz

Rating: 96

60% Reynell Selection cabernet sauvignon from the Parker Estate Abbey Vineyard in Coonawarra, 40% shiraz from the Eden Valley, fermented separately, matured for 18 months in French oak before blending. Given the grape resources and the vinification, it would be surprising if this wasn’t a top flight wine – and there’s no surprise. It marries intensity with elegance, red and blackcurrant with red and black cherry fruit held in a filmy veil of high quality oak and ripe tannins. Great stuff.

14.5% alc. / RRP $50 / 2040 / Various

Visit the Hesketh Wine Company page

Posted on 04/05/2018

2009 Pokolbin Estate Phil Swannell Semillon

Rating: 96

First tasted Dec ’09, then Sept ’14, and now for the third time. Its colour is still light (and bright, but not yet gleaming); the richness and depth of the palate has increased significantly, with an overt juicy quality akin to riesling. Glorious stuff, unique in the world of wine.

11% alc. / RRP $40 / 2024 / Hunter Valley

Visit the Pokolbin Estate winery page

Posted on 27/04/2018

2015 Penley Estate Helios Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon

Rating: 98

The packing (high-shouldered brown glass bottle) with the far extreme of minimalist labelling (the statutory requirements of vintage and alcohol on a detachable neck label) is doubtless calculated to attract discussion. So should the ravishing cabernet made by Yarra Valley winemaker Kate Goodman. It's only medium-bodied, but its intensity is of a scale seldom encountered. The cassis fruit is the ruby set in a necklace of bay leaf and superbly honed tannins. A vineyard bursting into song after 30 years of silence.

14.5% alc. / RRP $100 / 2045 / Coonawarra

Visit the Penley Estate winery page

Posted on 20/04/2018

2015 Two Hands Coach House Block Single Vineyard Greenock Barossa Valley Shiraz

Rating: 96

Several small parcels crushed and destemmed, open-fermented, 12 days on skins, matured in French hogsheads (35% new) for 18 months. The deep, dense colour tells you a full body awaits, and doesn't deceive. Its power is implacable, yet the nigh-on perfect balance of its blackberry, plum fruit, cedary oak and ripe tannins make it eminently possible to drink it tonight, even though it will richly repay 20+ years in bottle.

14.5% alc. / RRP $100 / 2030 / Barossa Valley

Visit the Two Hands Wines winery page

Posted on 13/04/2018

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Special Value

Wines considered to offer special value for money.