Wine Companion 2021

Author: James Halliday
Source: Halliday Wine Companion 2021
Review Date: Aug 2020

Eden Valley Riesling 2018
Founded on the philosophy of fealty to distinguished single sites, this juicy riesling hails from the meagre granitic souls of the 50yo Bartholomeus Vineyard. Pink grapefruit pulp, bath salts and lemon rind notes cascade along a gentle phenolic waft and juicy acid rails. This is ripe and luscious, eschewing contemporary trends toward earlier harvest windows and brittle acidity. At once pointed and richly flavoured. Finessed, too, while boasting a real propulsion of flavours and textures. Mouthfilling, gratifying and very long.
95 points (Gold)

Piccadilly Valley Chardonnay 2018
The warm season is certainly reflected in this wine, with honey, fig and even brulee, all finely balanced by citrussy acidity. Enjoyable drink now style.
94 points (Silver)

Tiers Vineyard 1.5M Chardonnay 2018
Brian Croser’s ode to his halcyon youth when California first convinced him that high quality chardonnay was indeed possible outside of Burgundy. This rich, fully flared chardonnay hails from a younger plot of the famed Tiers vineyard, tended lower to the ground and planted to earlier ripening French clones at tighter densities. This encourages competition among vines and with that, higher quality fruit. Mid-weighted, with seams of toasty oak corralling ample stone fruit allusions, scents of toasted hazelnut and praline. This needs patience for the shins and elbows to settle. When they do, it will stun.
94 points (Silver)

Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay 2018
This is a spectacular chardonnay, eschewing malolactic in the name of precision and freshness, while sacrificing nothing in the way of flavour and textural detail in doing so. A reductive riff of gunflint segues to notes of white fig, honeydew melon, nectarine and creamed cashew. A chassis of mineral and bright acidity carry the flavours long and broad, chaperoned by high class oak that is nestled into the fray. This will age beautifully over the coming decade, but oozes class and such poise already that it is difficult to refrain from opening a bottle or, at least in my case, finishing the glass.
97 points (Gold)

Foggy Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017
A broad patina of sous-bois, pickled cherry and fecund strawberry, aged judiciously in French oak (30%). Silky, with a gentle rasp of herb-inflected tannins and saline maritime acidity.
94 points (Silver)

Foggy Hill Definitus Pinot Noir 2018
An elite microcosm of the Foggy Hill site. The best strip, so to speak. I prefer this to the ’17. More integrated, compact, layered and detailed. The tension, curtailing the ripe and inherently sweet fruit. The oak, tannic extract and judicious whole bunch amalgamating as a finely tuned structural skein, corralling the billowing sweet berry fruit, root spice and undergrowth scents. The finish long and generous, yet nothing overt. This is mid-weighted and far from shy, but there is plenty in store embedded in the structural timbre.
96 points (Gold)

Whalebone Vineyard Cabernet Shiraz 2016
A very good example of the union between place and variety, the richness of the fruit flavours bringing blackcurrant and blackberry together. Then cigar box and polished tannins come into play on the perfectly balanced palate.
96 points (Gold)

Whalebone Vineyard Cabernet Franc Merlot 2016
A full-bodied red based on the quintessential Bordeaux Right Bank prototype, this is rich yet fresh; forceful yet somehow savoury and while reflective of a warm, dry year manifest as salubrious dark fruit tones, bitter chocolate, mocha oak (20 months; 50% French) and thicker-framed tannins than the norm, perhaps, they drag the flavours long. Textural. Delicious. Some may have an effete issue with the alcohol here, but while admittedly decadent and rich, the wine is poised and highly drinkable. The tone is set for profundity across the next decade-plus.
95 points (Gold)

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