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James Halliday

james halliday-01Respected wine critic and vigneron James Halliday has a career that spans over 40 years, but he is most widely known for his witty and informative writing about wine.

As one of the founders of Brokenwood in the Lower Hunter Valley region of New South Wales, and thereafter founder of Coldstream Hills in the Yarra Valley, Victoria, James is an unmatched authority on every aspect of the wine industry, from the planting and pruning of vines through to the creation and marketing of the finished product. His winemaking has led him to sojourns in Bordeaux and Burgundy, and he is constantly in demand as a wine judge in Australia and overseas.

James has contributed to more than 56 books on wine since he began writing in 1979. His books have been translated into Japanese, French, German, Danish and Icelandic, and have been published in the UK, the US and Australia. He is also the author of James Halliday's Wine Atlas of Australia and The Australian Wine Encyclopedia.

Rating Guide

94-100 Outstanding. Wines of the highest quality, usually with a distinguished pedigree.

90-93 Highly recommended. Wines of great quality, style and character, worthy of a place in any cellar. wines.

87-89 Recommended. Wines of above-average quality, fault-free and with clear varietal expression.

84-86 Fair to good. Wines with plenty of flavour (usually varietal) and good balance; free of technical faults.

80-83 Everyday wines. Price is particularly relevant; represent good value.

75-79 Also tasted: usually wines with some deficiency, technical or otherwise.

James Halliday Review

The Day, Epper and Butler families respectively bring Australian, French and NZ background and heritage to Echo Hill. They retained local vigneron Andrew Margan, with 40 years hands on experience in growing and making wine, as a consultant in the early stages of the venture, including the selection of varieties and design of the vineyard blocks. They have also very sensibly started small, with only 2ha each of chardonnay and shiraz planted on the property, and virtually unlimited room for expansion. Next, they retained one of the best contract winemakers in the region, Nick Paterson, who guides the making of the wine from the grapes on the vine, to wine in the bottle. Moreover, they have chosen screwcaps rather than corks, joining the vast majority (over 90%) of all current Australian wine. Particularly for the Chinese market, the screwcaps provide far better protection during transport, warehousing, retail sale, and maturation in bottle. Exports to China.

Author: James Halliday





2005 Shiraz

The colour is more developed than the '06, as it should be; a medium-bodied regional wine with the classic earth and leather overtones to remarkably fresh cherry and berry fruits on the back of good acidity.
Best Drinking: to 2017
Rating: 92
Australian Wine Companion 2013

2009 Chardonnay

Pale straw-green; has abundant stone fruit aromas and flavours, oak used judiciously; the palate has rich fruit flavours, and there is no need to cellar the wine.
Best Drinking: to 2014
Rating: 90
Australian Wine Companion 2013

2006 Shiraz

Developed colour largely consistent with age; has the features that make Hunter Valley shiraz so enjoyable: moderate alcohol, distinctive regional notes, fine tannins and controlled oak spice, black cherry and a dab of oak.
Best Drinking: to 2016
Rating: 91
Australian Wine Companion 2013

2010 Chardonnay

A well-made Hunter Valley chardonnay in the contemporary style, early-picked to heighten the stone fruit, melon and citrus characters that result, oak used with appropriate discretion.
Best Drinking: to 2016
Rating: 90
Australian Wine Companion 2013

2010 Shiraz

Purple-crimson; a well-made wine that gives equal weight to its place/terroir and to its variety; blackberry and black cherry are the main drivers, but the tannins provide the necessary structure.
Best Drinking: to 2020
Rating: 90
Australian Wine Companion 2013

2011 Chardonnay

 echohill-logo-chardonnayJames Halliday says:

 Best Drinking: to 2016
Rating: 89
Australian Wine Companion 2013