The first of August has come around once again with nervous anticipation of the Halliday reviews. James doesn’t taste all of the wines himself anymore, he has wine specialists around the country tasting their strengths. I was fortunate to have Jane Faulkner, a highly regarded freelance wine journalist take a critical look at my wines. She got almost everything right ­čśë

Bear in mind that the wines may have changed quite a bit since the review. We are required to send the wines in for review in January so some reviews may be seven months old! At least I still have most wines available for sale!

Visit James Halliday’s Wine Companion site here.

The reviews…

Firstly, I’m super happy with 92 points for the 2013 Vermilion Bird Shiraz. Jane writes “So dense and rich with cedary/coconut oak, vanilla cream and tar enclosing the dark ripe fruit, a slight sweet-sour note and gritty powerful tannins, drying on the finish. Glossy full-bodied palate – stylistically, archetypal McLaren Vale shiraz and a lot to ponder – it gets better in the glass.”┬á

The 2015 Rocky Ox GSM tried hard but only managed 88 on the day. Although it has been doing better and better with reviews and show results throughout the year as it opens up. Jane’s comments – “While there’s a dominant menthol/mint note, there’s also a prettiness to this blend with licorice and spiced plums with grainy tannins and more savoury toned on the palate.” Still sounds great though!

Interestingly, my current favourite is the GSM but the 2014 Original Shiraz┬áreceived 91 points which is great! Jane’s review “Bright crimson-garnet and awash with spice, chocolate and ripe plum fruit with the oak in check. It’s full-bodied but not heavy with the tannins ripe and powerful, and all in balance.”

Finally, the 2016 Catnip Viognier. Personally I think 2016 is my best vintage so far and has opened up alot recently. I don’t think 86 points does this wine justice, however it’s all sold anyway! Jane writes “Reductive and doesn’t give a lot away – a hint of cinnamon and lemon balm. It has a slippery texture with the palate broadening and the finish clipped.”

The wrap…

Love them or hate them, scores, reviews and medals are a way for us to benchmark and improve. Every show judge and critic is an individual with their own subjectiveness that will influenec their results. If it didn’t, they’d be robots and only one ultimate judge would be required anyway! Overall I’m very happy with Jane’s words. I much prefer to have my wines reviewed than judged in a show because it’s great to read more than just ‘bronze’!

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