James Halliday’s Reviews

James Halliday Review of Nick Haselgrove Wines’ top rated wines

Extract from the highly regarded in James Halliday’s 2018 Wine Companion

Nick Haselgrove Wines ****1/2

281 Tatachilla Road, McLaren Vale, SA 5171 Region Adelaide

T (08) 8383 0886 www.nhwines.com.au Open By appt

Winemaker Nick Haselgrove, Marcus Hofer Est. 1981 Dozens 10000

After various sales, amalgamations and disposals of particular brands, Nick Haselgrove now owns The Old Faithful (the flagship brand, see separate entry), Blackbilly, Clarence Hill, James Haselgrove, Tir na N’Og and Wishing Tree brands. Exports to the US and other major markets.

James Haselgrove Futures McLaren Vale Shiraz 2014
Vines over 100yo gave this crimson-purple wine a handy start, but it has been intelligently made. It has lipsmacking elegance, content with its medium-bodied weight and fine tannins. Diam. 14.5% ale. Rating 95 To 2034 $40

Clarence Hill Reserve McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013
A powerful, full-bodied shiraz with a lot of American oak in its make-up, but also has the black fruits to better able carry that oak. That said, it does need time to settle down: 5 years should do the trick. Diam. 14.5% ale. Rating 94 To 2030 $32

 Blackbilly McLaren Vale Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre 2014.
A 60/32/ 8% blend. An attractive medium-bodied blend which carries the American oak without blinking. juicy red fruits dance on the tongue, and – better still – leave the mouth fresh and looking for the next glass. Great value for a win e with a lot of inputs. Screwcap. 14.5% ale. Rating 94 To 2029 $23 

Blackbilly McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013
Rating 93 To 2038 $23 

                      Blackbilly Langhorne Creek Sangiovese 2015
Rating 92 To 2023 $23 

The Old Faithful Estate *****

281 Tatachilla Road, McLaren Vale. SA 5171 Region McLaren Vale

T 0419 383 907 www.nhwines.com.au Open By appt

Winemaker Nick Haselgrove. Warren Randall Est. 2005 Dozens 2000 Vyds 5ha

This is a joint venture of American John Larchet, Nick Haselgrove (see separate entry) and Warren Randall. John has long had a leading role as a specialist importer of Australian wines into the US, and guarantees the business whatever sales it needs there. Its shiraz, grenache and mourvedre come from old, single site blocks in McLaren Vale. Exports to the US, Canada, Switzerland, Russia, Hong Kong and China.

2018 Wine Companion Reviews

Northern Exposure McLaren Vale Grenache 2013
95% 80+yo grenache, 5% 103yo shiraz, matured in used French oak for 40 months. Retains exceptional hue and depth given it is grenache, not shiraz. Very classy wine reminiscent of the greatest examples of the Rhone Valley. Its red and black cherry and raspberry fruit is perfectly balanced by fine tannins, and won’t reach a plateau of perfection until ’23. Diam. 14.5% ale. Rating 97 To 2033 $60 *

 Cafe Block McLaren Vale Shiraz 2013
Vines planted in ’52, matured for 6 months in new French oak, followed by 34 months in demi-muids. A powerful, uncompromising full-bodied shiraz, but retains freshness and balance, the fruit outpacing the oak and the tannins. A long and healthy future is assured. Diam. 14.5% ale. Rating 95 To 2038 $60


From our Museum Cellar.

2014 Wine Companion Review

Northern Exposure McLaren Vale Grenache 2010.
Very good hue for age; ultra-traditional McLaren Vale style made from a single 70-year-old vineyard plot; there are not only strong red fruits. but also that regional dark chocolate joining with life-sustaining tannins.

Diam. 14.5%, alc. Rating 95 To 2025

2012 Wine Companion Review

 Cafe Block McLaren Vale Shiraz 2008.
Dense, opaque purple-crimson, the colour and bouquet herald a full-bodied shiraz that flood every corner of the mouth with its black fruits, licorice and dark chocolate; the tannins are soft, and mocha oak helps build the overall velvety mouthfeel; 60-year-old vines. 

Diam. 15%, ale. Rating 96 To 2040




James Halliday 2018 Companion Winery Rating
***** Outstanding winery regularly producing wines of  exemplary quality and typicity. Will have at least two wines at 95 points or above, and have achieved a five-star rating for the previous two years. Where the winery name itself is printed in red, that winery is generally acknowledged to have had a long track record of excellence in the context of its region – truly the best of the best.
***** Outstanding winery capable of producing wines of very high quality, and did so this year. Also will usually have at least two wines at 95 points or above.
*****1/2 Excellent winery able to produce wines of high to very high quality knocking on the door of a 5-star rating. Will normally have one wine at 95 points or above, and two (or more) at 90 or above, others 87-89.
**** Very good producer of wines with class and character. Will have two (or more) wines at 90 points and above (or possibly one at 95 or above).
****1/2 A solid, usually reliable, maker of good, sometimes very good, wines. Will have one wine at 90 points or above, others 86-89.
*** A typically good winery, but often has a few lesser wines. Will have wines at 86-89 points.
NR The NR rating mainly appears on www.winecompanion.com.au.
The rating is giving in a range of circumstances where there have been no tastings in the 12 month period; where there have been tastings, but with no wines scoring more than 88 points; or where the tastings have, for one reason or another, proved not to fairly reflect the reputation of a winery with a track record of success.
NR wineries in the book are generally new wineries with no wine entries.


James Halliday Wine Ratings

What do the James Halliday Reviews mean?

Here’s some information to  explain:

 Ratings James Halliday 2018 Companion – Wines
97-99 G





Exceptional. Wines that have won a major trophy/trophies in important wine shows, or are of that standard.


Outstanding. Wines of gold medal standard, usually with a great pedigree.


94 S






Wines on the cusp of gold medal status, virtually indistinguishable from those wines receiving 95 points.
90-93 Highly Recommended. Wines of silver medal standard, wines of great quality, style and character, and worthy of a place in any cellar.


89 B






Recommended. Wines on the cusp of silver medal standard, the difference purely a judgement call.


88 Wines of bronze medal standard; well produced, flavoursome wines, usually not requiring cellaring.


Special Value. Wines considered to offer special value for money within the context of their glass symbol status

84-85 Acceptable. Wines of good commercial quality, free from significant fault.
80-83   Over to You. Everyday wines without much character and/ or somewhat faulty.
75-79 Not Recommended. Wines with one or more significant winemaking faults.