Halliday Wine Companion 2020


Earlier this month it was the annual release of Halliday Wine Companion book. Jane Faulkner was reviewing my wines for the 2020 edition including my first museum release, here are her full reviews.

2016 Ben Haines Firelights Syrah - 96pts

"Made in two parts, both 100% whole bunches with one parcel undergoing partial carbonic fermentation then destemmed and left on skins for 1 month, pressed to used puncheons; the other pressed straight to barrel; they are blended just before bottling. Everything in sync: its purple-red hue; the brightness of fruit; the perfect balance of spice, dried herbs and florals; the ripe and succulent tannins; and its overall savouriness. An awesome wine. Drink to 2033."

2017 Ben Haines Return to the Vale Syrah - 96pts

"Ben Haines has a fondness for the region given he started as viticulturist there. 100% wholes bunches sealed in a fermenter for 10 days for some carbonic maceration zingyness, then destemmed, left on skins for 5 weeks, aged 17 months in barriques - presumably seasoned as there’s no overt oak. It's vibrant, textural, savoury and refined. It’s more medium-bodied and elegant with beautifully pitched tannins. Drink to 2030."

2017 Ben Haines Shiraz - 96pts (sold out)

”A compelling and detailed shiraz, spring-boarding from a core of beautiful fruit. Layers of flavour from pepper, pencil lead, star anise to a touch of the Grampians gum leaf-mint yet ultimately a savoury wine. The tannins are ripe yet absurdly fine; a minerally thread of acidity lingers long. Drink to 2030.”

2009 Ben Haines Syrah, Museum Release - 95pts

“A museum release celebrating the 10th year of Ben Haines’ eponymous label. This ‘09 debuted when released in ‘12. How is it now? Superb. Its dark purple-red hue belies its age. A whorl of dark plums, blackberries with mint chocolate, coffee grounds and cedary oak. It’s still sturdily structured with plenty of time ahead of it. Drink to 2029”

2017 Ben Haines Volta Brackets Marsanne - 95pts

(not released yet, check out the current release)

”At first this seems to be sitting on a knife’s edge of austerity with a very tight acid line. Then sure enough, the aromas and flavours unfurl; honeysuckle, lemon blossom, lemon drops with ginger cream. A really exquisitely chiselled palate - dry, crisp and ultra-fresh.”

2018 Ben Haines Shiraz - 95pts (sold out)

”Pale ruby hue. A delightfully ethereal wine with gentle flavours of cherries and rhubarb, spice and florals with enough earthy-forest floor complexity. Supple fine tannins, sapid with a juicy-tangy finish. Drink to 2028.”

Manon Houg