Red wine

Halliday’s best red wines of the year

August 11, 2020
By Alana House

James Halliday has revealed the best red wines of the year, the result of hundreds of hours of tasting by the Halliday Wine Companion team.

Widely regarded as the bible of Australian wine, the Halliday Wine Companion reviewed more than 9000 Australian wines in its quest to choose its 2021 Halliday Wine Companion Awards winners.


Coming out on top in his selection of the best red wines was the 2018 Brokenwood Graveyard Shiraz, which won both Shiraz of the Year and Wine of the Year.

Halliday said: “The grapes are hand-picked and sorted, destemmed, not crushed, open-fermented with cultured yeast, hand-plunged, then have four days’ cold soak run off to barrel, and are finally matured in used French puncheons. There are 500 dozen made, and only when the season permits. None were made 1992 (two-year drought), 2008, 2012, 2015, 2016 (rain) or 2020 (smoke taint). 2018 followed 2017’s lead, each devoid of rain, allowing winemakers to choose the picking date, not a date imposed by the weather. The result was the best wines since the golden year of 1965.”

2021 Best Cabernet and Family was 2018 Mount Mary Quintet, described as “mesmerisingly silky with a kaleidoscope of fruit and secondary flavours”.

Moss Wood

2021 Best Cabernet Sauvignon was 2016 Moss Wood Cabernet Sauvignon, described as a “luscious, plush cabernet; its voluptuous palate trimmed by dry herbs and forest notes. A great vintage maximised by the thoughtful vinification”.

Brothers at War

2021 Best Grenache went to 2018 Brothers at War Single Vineyard Grenache, described as “beautifully articulated to throw all of the vibrant and pure varietal fruit on full display”.

2021 Best Pinot Noir was 2017 Bannockburn Serre Pinot Noir. Halliday said: “Perfumed bouquet of red berries, rose petals and spice leads into a wondrously fine, elegant and long palate.

2021 Shiraz Viognier was the 2019 Serrat Shiraz Viognier. Halliday said: “The perfumed red fruit bouquet is enticing but it’s the palate that makes the wine, with flavours of black cherry and texture woven together from the start to finish, the aftertaste lingering for minutes.”

2021 Best Other Red went to the 2019 Mayer Nebbiolo.

James Halliday to auction wines from his private cellar

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