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The Islander Estate Vineyards

Cath Williams
4 August 2022 | Media Coverage and Reviews | Cath Williams

Halliday's Favourites: 2023 Halliday Wine Companion round up

Discover Halliday Wine Companions new favourites

Your guide to the 2023 Halliday Wine Companion team's
favourite The Islander Estate Vineyards Wines

James Halliday is an unmatched authority in Australia on every aspect of the wine industry, a respected wine critic and vigneron with a career that spans almost 50 years.  The annual Halliday Wine Companion features tasting notes on over 5,000 wines & guides where to visit, what to taste, buy and cellar for Australian wine lovers.
We're proud to submit our wines each year for tasting and rating, it gives us a great feel for how our wines sit amongst the best in the country. 
In the 2023 Haliday Wine Companion we were excited to maintain our red 5-star winery rating (the highest possible rating) and add to our portfolio of wines rated Gold and Silver.  It is great to see wines from all three ranges receiving excellent scores, demonstrating value for money across all our wines.
See the Halliday Wine Companion team's tasting notes and ratings for all our current & upcoming vintages below.
Varietal Range:

2021 Pinot Gris
“While the back label shows South Australia as the GI (and the front label is silent), the information supplied by the winery says Adelaide Hills is the region, and the wine in the mouth is emphatically cool grown. Its exceptional power and texture is derived from wild ferment of the pressings in used French oak, the balance cool fermented in stainless steel. This throws down another challenge explaining to young wine students that the grape skins are purple.
Reviewed by:  James Halliday, December 2021
Rating:  SILVER, 94/100

2021 Sauvignon Blanc
“From an estate vineyard, managed organically though not certified. Machine harvested at night. Pale quartz green. Classic sauvignon blanc flavours, ranging from snow pea to wild herbs to gooseberry. No compromises needed – nor used. Revels in the exceptional vintage, flawless mouthfeel and balance.”
Reviewed by:  James Halliday, December 2021
Rating:  SILVER, 94/100

2021 The Red Shiraz
“30% extended maceration post mechanical harvest late April. Matured 5 months in French puncheons (30% new). The crimson magenta hue is striking. Positively juicy, with black cherry and plum fruit; tannin extract minimal. Altogether unusual wine, and it would be interesting to buy 6 or so bottles and track its development over the next 5 years or more.”
Reviewed by:  James Halliday, December 2021
Rating:  SILVER, 94/100

Estate Range:

Petiyante Sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noir
A playful sparkling in name and deed - Petiyante is a nod to the French word for bubbly. Lemon tart, baked apples, white florals and citrus zest is a good representation of the island's cooler climate. Bright on entry, the grapefruit and sherbety lift melds well with a sense of fresh-baked bread. Fine and steely.
Reviewed by:  Jenni Port, February 2020
Rating:  SILVER, 92/100

2019 Wally White Semillon
Going the extra step in the semillon department, fermented in barrel and bringing something extra to its already on-point ripe fruit. Creamy and complex, rather than austere and bracing like many semillons. With a couple of years of initial development, the structural foundations of acidity and a light pithiness carry this wine with the future in mind.
Reviewed by:  Tony Love, August 2021
Rated:  SILVER, 94/100

2019 Bark Hut Road Shiraz Cabernet Franc
Kangaroo Island's maritime climate is a dominating presence in the wines produced at The Islander. That, and the role of the native bush lands of old-growth eucalyptus and mallee. Both are evident here. Sea spray, red currant, raspberry and spice with an earthy savouriness, reveal a sense of place. A tad reductive on the palate, but it blows away with some swishing to reveal a savoury-infused palate, charcuterie and game with a rising pepper imprint. A complex lovely just starting out.
Reviewed by:  Jenni Port, February 2020
Rating:  SILVER, 93/100

2019 Old Rowley Shiraz Grenache
A brilliant purple sheen is an enticing introduction to this smart, young shiraz grenache. Softness is the key here together with a discreet, still emerging personality. It has a way to go. Pepper, spice, blackberries and red earth aromas. Deliciously ripe palate with dark cherry, black fruits and grenache violets and confection. Tannins are firm. Bottle age is a must.
Reviewed by:  Jenni Port, February 2020
Rating:  GOLD, 95/100

2018 Boxing Bay Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon
This blend can come in so many stylistic variations, but rarely is it as bright-eyed, lifted and crunchy as this. Fragrant with bush florals, dusted with sumac-like spice, tinted with background eucalypt, while the varieties find a delicious harmony of flavours and mouth-teasing structures.
Reviewed by:  Tony Love, February 2021
Rated:  SILVER, 94/100

Flagship Range:

2015 The Investigator Cabernet Franc
Hand-picked, destemmed into demi-muids for wild fermentation, 20% skins return, maceration continued until mlf complete, the wine drained and the skins and stems passed through the hand basket press, matured for 2 years on lees in demi-muids. Jacques Lurton has always loved cabernet franc, and this spicy red-fruited wine, plus its diamond dust tannins, shows why.
Reviewed by:  James Halliday, February 2019
Rating:  GOLD, 95/100

2017 The Cygnet Shiraz (not yet released)
Organically managed estate bush vines, hand picked, destemmed and and whole-berry table-sorted. Wild-yeast fermentation in used 600L demis, mlf completed before the must is basket pressed and gravity racked to new 600L French demis for 24 months' maturation. The quality of the oak is clearly good and is still to pull its head in, but will certainly do so as part of a long future. It's an elegant wine and already attractive, with more in store as the oak diminishes.”
Reviewed by:  James Halliday, December 2021
Rating:  GOLD 95/100

2015 The Cygnet Shiraz
Hand-picked bushvine vineyard, destemmed into demi-muids for wild fermentation and extended maceration on skins until mlf completed, the juice run off and the skins pressed in a hand-operated basket press, blended after 2 years in demi-muids. An extremely complex and powerful wine with black fruits, spices, oak, tannins, earth and sea spray moulded into a single flame of flavour.
Reviewed by:  James Halliday, February 2019
Rating:  GOLD 97/100

2016 The Independence Malbec (not yet released)
Hand-picked fruit, destemmed, table-sorted then barrel fermented in seasoned 600L demi-muids; left 5 weeks on skins, matured 24 months in new 600L demis. Deep crimson-purple hue, showing no sign of age. An alluring, expressive bouquet with licorice, polished leather, eastern spices, dried plum and earth all calling out. The palate tucks in behind that array, giving substance and cedary oak tannins on the long, perfectly balanced finish.”
Reviewed by: James Halliday, December 2021
Rating:  GOLD 96/100

2015 The Independence Malbec
Barrel-fermented in specially adapted demi-muids, followed by 5-6 week post-fermentation maceration, then pressed to 50/50% new and used demis. It makes no apologies for its full-bodied palate, but the primary flavours are profoundly varietal, the tannins firm but ripe.
Reviewed by: James Halliday, July 2018
Rating:  GOLD 96/100

Limited Release Wines:

2018 Boundary Track Shiraz: 
"Estate-grown bush vines, hand picked and sorted, berry by berry. Wild fermented in 1000L ceramic eggs; left on skins for 8 weeks for conclusion of mlf, thence matured in French demis (25% new) for 24 months. Still holding a crimson edge to the hue, it is a beautifully made wine with silky tannins and fruit freshness, the oak playing a nigh-on unseen hand. One glass insists on another."
Reviewed:  James Halliday, December 2021
Rating:  GOLD 96/100

Shop all of the Halliday team's favourites



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