AS GOOD AS A HALLIDAY
WINE COMPANION RATINGS HAVE HUGE INFLUENCE ON INDUSTRY
These days, everyone with a social media account and a mobile phone is a food or wine critic and the power of these so-called “influencers” increases exponentially with the increase in reach of every flippant, if not ill-considered, post. And it’s a sad reality that in the wine industry the fortunes of wineries and wine makers can wax and wane on the impact of a few strokes on a keyboard or fingerprints on a smart phone. The bigger the persona of the author of any opinion piece, the greater the potential for an effect on consumers. And there’s arguably no bigger influencer in the Australian wine industry than James Halliday. Each year the Halliday Wine Companion is released in August and in the lead up you can almost feel the tension rising within industry rank and file. A rating score in the high 90s almost guarantees that a wine will sell out quickly and create demand for future years. But a disappointing score in the mid-80s can be a stigma that will transcend future vintages. In August this year, the Halliday Awards announced Seville Estate as the Winery of the Year, and Julian Langworthy of the (Margaret River) Fogarty Wine Group as winemaker of the year. Among the high-scoring wines were some of the usual suspects, but there were also some big scores for up-and-comers as well as some of the well established and reliable household names. Among the big winners was Angoves – a Mclaren Vale-based, family-owned winery that had 17 wines that scored 90 plus points, including 97 points for the 2016 Warboys Vineyard Shiraz Grenanche. You can be sure that it will sell out pretty quickly, so if you happen to see it, buy as much as you can (and if there is any left, give me a call). Another Warboys success story was the 2016 Warboys vineyard Shiraz. It scored 96 points from Halliday, and having tried it recently, the superior scoring is unsurprising. There are hints of red liquorice on the nose and spicy stewed plums and cassis across the palate. The rivers of dark fruit run deep through the mid-palate before cedar, fine tannins and savoury characters become tangled in an enduring encore. Hard to believe that you can buy it for about $40 a bottle! I don’t always agree with the opinions of the experts, but when it comes to Mr Halliday, we can at least agree on the quality of the Warboys’ offering.