Thursday, February 22, 2018

Some young wines and James Halliday ratings

Over the last few days, I had dinner at a restaurant which listed next to the wines the scores of James ' The Pointsmaster' Halliday. All wines had a minimum of 95 points. The wines I tasted were

-2016 Greywacke Sauvignon Blanc  ( citrus focus, a nice example of Marlborough SB)
-2017 Shaw & Smith Sauvignon Blanc (also a citrus and lemongrass focus)
-2015 Seppelt Drumborg Chardonnay (good initially, loses structure as it warms up)
-2013 Majella Cabernet Sauvignon (very ripe and alcoholic, not a great vintage for them)
-2015 Hardys HRB Cabernet Sauvignon (overripe, no specific varietal character)
-2016 Coldstream Hills Pinot Noir (nice fruit; lacks definition)
-2015 Paxton Shiraz (vibrant fruit, quite ripe)

All these wines were good, but not exceptional, and had some shortcomings. I would rate them 89 to 90 points, with the Paxton at 92 points, and the Drumborg Chardonnay similar as long as it is drunk quite cold. The average Halliday points were 96. He defends his scoring by saying that all Australian wines have improved a lot.

Well, I rate some other wines at 95 points or higher, therefore 5 points or so higher than these wines. This means Halliday would have to rate them at 101 points, which is obviously not the case. This just demonstrates how squashed the ratings in his Compendium have become. As I have said before, the value is in the description, not the point ratings, but in our fast paced world, a simple score dominates, unfortunately. 

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