The recent James Halliday Wine Awards as always provided another example of the world class wines produced right throughout Australia. A celebration not only of the amazing wine varieties and multi-talented winemakers, but also of the diverse wine producing areas across the country. Some old and with vast histories, to others new and with outstanding quality young winemaking talents, who continue to explore and innovate, bringing exciting new wines to Australians.
One of Lunch Magazine’s wine aficionados, Anthony Spargo, spent some time analysing his favourites for the year and we list them below.
On some, he agrees with Halliday, others less so. But whatever the selections, he agrees wholeheartedly with Halliday, that wine has as much as ever, had a wonderful year - despite the challenging situation many producers have confronted with the COVID-19 situation.
Lunch Magazine and Halliday Awards 2020
Halliday 2005 House of Arras EJ Carr Late Disgorged
Spargo 2006 Chandon Late Disgorged 2006. This wine is a cracker at the peak of its powers now. Clean and deep in pears and dried fruits, it’s creamy and vibrant, elegant and sophisticated. Price: $115
Halliday 2019 Seppelt Drumborg Vineyard Riesling
Spargo 2019 Dandelion Vineyards Wonderland of the Eden Valley Riesling. Rated a Halliday Top 100 wine in 2019 and little wonder. A pure pleasure to drink, with the acidity of a great Eden Valley Riesling combined with a well-structured and complex finish. Try it with cheese, or equally seafood, this wine does all things, to all people. Price $60
Halliday 2014 Brokenwood ILR Reserve Semillon
Spargo 2014 Brokenwood ILR Reserve Semillon – 100 per cent agree with Halliday here. At nearly $100 a bottle it would need to be that good. But it is that good. In fact, it’s better. Definitive lime flavours and full of zest and zing, this is a classic. Made by outstanding winemakers. $95
Halliday 2018 Flowstone Queen of the Earth Sauvignon Blanc
Spargo 2017 Bannockburn Sauvignon Blanc. A beautiful wine with great flavour, a clean finish and delightful freshness. Easy to drink, easy to enjoy. $35
Halliday 2017 Leeuwin Estate Art Series Chardonnay
Spargo 2015 Tyrells Vat 47 Chardonnay- one of the great Aussie Chardonnays and very difficult to beat for flavour, complexity and pure drinking joy. Creamy and succulent, big and bold - perfectly balanced and perfectly presented. The best of the best. $70
Halliday 2017 Bannockburn Serre Pinot Noir
Spargo 2017 Tarrawarra Reserve Pinot Noir. In a region with so many quality pinots, and with absolute due respect to the amazing selection of Halliday’s Bannockburn Serre Pinot Noir, this Tarrawarra Reserve Pinot rightfully deserves its place right alongside the best of the country’s best pinots. Deep, silky and full of class and complexity, this wine continues to get better - and that’s saying something because it’s always been good. At less than $50, it’s also a ridiculous bargain. Buy now, buy later. Just buy! $46
Halliday 2018 Brokenwood Graveyard Shiraz
Spargo 2017 Wirra Wirra RSW Shiraz. What a wine! Chocolate and even hints of caramel, this has currants and spices that deepen and change every time you taste it. A superb Shiraz that is the flagship of an outstanding winery - and little wonder. $67
Halliday 2016 Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon
Spargo - Vasse Felix 2017. One of Margaret Rivers very best cab savs, deep and long perfumes and tannins - wine that can be drank with any food, at any time. A succulent start, a big finish, what more can you ask for in a wine! $52
Halliday Seppeltsfield 100 year old Para Liqueur 1920
Spargo Morris Old Premium Rare Liqueur Muscat. A classic 20-year old Muscat at a reasonable price. The perfect end to a nice meal, it’s got spices and currants, bursting with flavour and complexities. $80
Hallidays also awarded The Winery of the Year gong to Jim Barry Wines, in South Australia’s Clare Valley; Winemaker of the Year was won by Vanya Cullen, of Cullen Wines, Margaret River, Western Australia; and Wine of the Year went to the 2016 Yangarra Estate Vineyard High Sands McLaren Vale Grenache.
The Best New Winery award was won by Tasmania’s Shy Susan Wines, while Dal Zotto Wines, in Victoria’s King Valley received the Dark Horse of the Year award.
Best Value Winery of the Year was judged to be Domaine Naturaliste River, in Margaret River, WA.