James Hallidays Wine Companion 2019

James Hallidays Wine Companion 2019

2016 Blackberry Patch – 95 Points Cabernet Sauvignon (95%), Tempranillo (5%). All French oak, 10% new. Squeaky clean, brightly fruited, moreish. All manner of positives, not to mention value. It tastes of boysenberries, violets, fragrant/blossomy herbs and kirsch, and if you can stop at one glass then you’re better than I am. It’s absolutely ready to rip right now.

2015 Z Force – 94 Points Shiraz (90%), Petite Syrah (10%). Matured in both French and American oak, 30% new, for 18 months. It’s a ZForce of nature. This is a brute of a red; its dark leather, tar, blackberry and boysenberry flavours roaring through the palate in confident, if not authoritative, style. A swagger of tannin tops it all off.

2016 Violet Beauregard – 93 Points Violets, boysenberries, redcurrant and leather. Bright and characterful at once. Sweet and vibrant through the mouth, dry and firm through the finish. Mid-weight. In lovely form.

2016 Baron Von Nemesis – 93 Points It hits all the right notes. It’s an even-tempered shiraz offering a decent body of blackberry-and-coal flavour, a handy clip of toasty oak, a glimpse of raspberried brightness and just a good sense of balance all around. Nice one.

2016 Dawn Patrol – 92 Points Stewed cherries, black pepper, beetroot, orange blossoms, sweet raspberry, flings of autumn leaves and spice – it’s all going on here. Complexity is rarely so delicious.

2016 Chocolate Factory – 92 Points Fruit is the hero here. Pure, dark, berried fruit, laced with licorice and splashed with salt bush. It’s mid weight but it feels generous. It feels tidy and well-managed. It tastes good.

2016 Love Symbol – 91 Points Vines planted in the ’50s. No new oak (all French, all used/old). It’s a light to medium-weight offering with dusty, sandy raspberry flavours, fennel notes and a layer of spice. Bright aromatics, juicy flavour, a sheet of tannin; it all works well.

2016 Lake Doctor – 91 Points COMING SOON The mid-palate scrapes through by the skin of its teeth, but the finish is convincing and there’s a real sense of structural integrity to this. It feels sturdy. It tastes of blackcurrant, cloves, toast and gum leaves and while it takes time to built momentum and volume it gets there in the end.

2016 Canto Di Lago – 91 Points COMING SOON Sangiovese (75%) dominates the blend, lagrein only contributing 5%. It’s matured in all (used) French oak. It’s more powerful than the blend varieties might imply, its sweet berried fruit flavours tending to the dark side, its spice notes beating the woodsy drums. Assertive tannin continues the robust theme.

2017 Scarlet Ladybird – 91 Points SOLD OUT Bright crimson-pink. Strawberry and cream flavours with flashes of spice and deeper redcurrant. Plenty of spunk, plenty of energy. Drinkability and balance; spot on.

2017 Doctoressa Di Lago – 91 Points It’s at the generous end of the grigio spectrum, in volume of flavour terms, and arguably that’s no bad thing. Pear, musk, pink grapefruit and spice notes get an entertaining conversation of flavour going. Drink it while it’s young and fresh.