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Oz wine critics


I have been browsing quality Australian Shiraz and there is a wine I have come across that has only two write ups: 96 from James Halliday and 94 from Wine Front.

I know nothing about these writers/websites. Does anyone know - do they tend to score high and do they tend to favour ‘blockbuster’ styles exclusively?


JH is probably the most prominent wine critic in Australia, our Robert Parker. However his scoring has got to the point where everything is 96 points and sold for less than $20 so it loses its value.

Wine front on the other hand is a site run by 3 critics, Mike Bennie, Campbell mattinson and Gary Walsh. I like each of them for different reasons with MB being the most colourful, CM being an amazing long piece writer and GW quite harsh in his reviews but very dry.

What was the wine and do you know which one gave it 94?


MB. Utopies 15, Circe, Grampians


I don’t know a great deal about Oz wine critics, but one thing I’ve heard over and over again is how much James Halliday overscores wine, so I’d take his score with a large pinch of salt.


Their own website description is enough to make me want to buy it. http://circewines.com.au/utopies-2015-grampians-shiraz/

Perfect critique of the natural wine movement in Australia.

Also grampians Shiraz is a style I really enjoy so I think I might be getting some myself. Thanks for the heads up.

  • just seen the UK price. Might hold off until next time I’m home. There is huge variation between some Australian prices and UK prices for different wines. For instance TWS sells Tyrrells vat 1 and d’Arenberg Dead Arm significantly cheaper than what you can get it for in Oz and the same applies to many wines at many retailers. This one from BBR however is not one of those.


There was a much cheaper case on BBR at £130 yesterday but it disappeared overnight!


I am assuming it was a BBX listing rather than Berry’s own stock, right?


Yep. Two cases yesterday at £130 and £200, the £130 is a pretty close match to the domestic on the table price.


I subscribe to the wine front. Just looked it up. Campbell gave it 94 (he also writes for JH) then Mike read the review and said "Geez, like sound of this. Has DNA of interesting/great wine. Keen"
So he added a little review of his own in the comments. Here is the last sentence…
MB "Seriously good. 94 right – maybe slightly higher. It’s a belter."
All 3 reviewers are definitely not in the blockbuster camp but neither are they alcohol haters. If it’s well made at 12% or 16% they will score it appropriately. Great website to get involved in if you’re into Aussie wine.


That’s very interesting. I too love Grampians shiraz and it will be interesting to hear what this is like.

(Coincidentally I just acquired a bottle of Circe’s new pinot noir from Gippsland, as the source intrigued me. Not tried it yet)