Wine Lists

10 great reds

By James Halliday and Campbell Mattinson

13 Jul, 2020

Each year, James Halliday and Campbell Mattinson compile 50 exceptional red wines that have caught their attention. Here, we share 10, with the full list out now in Halliday magazine. 

    5 great red wines under $30
    by Campbell Mattinson

    After many years of choosing an annual collection of great reds, Campbell Mattinson thinks this year’s could be his best yet. It also has more wines under $20 than usual. From $16 to $30, the wines span pinot noirshirazgrenache and blends, sangiovese, and cabernet sauvignon and blends, from right across the country. 

    Five great bottles of red wine, chosen by Campbell Mattinson
  • 2018 Majella The Musician Cabernet Shiraz

  • Don’t tell them, but the folks at Majella have forgotten to adjust the price-tag on this for many years now. Meanwhile, the quality remains high. Red wine doesn’t have to be big or powerful to taste just right, and this is proof. It pours curranty flavour effortlessly through the palate: it’s steady and reliable, and yet fresh-faced, too. 

    $18 / Majella Wines

  • 2018 Wirra Wirra Church Block

  • Some wines are ever-popular for a reason. This is the ultimate please-the-crowd wine. It tastes of ripe plum, vanilla cream and chocolate, and it’s boisterous with juicy flavour. One sip and you’re on your way – you know you’re onto a good one. Just enough weight, just enough texture, just enough of everything.   

    $22 / Wirra Wirra 

  • 2019 Rochford Latitude Pinot Noir  

  • It has you at hello. It’s hard to believe that we get a pinot noir of this quality at this price. It has structure, it has perfume, it has varietal fruit flavour, and it squeezes out impressively on the finish.   

    $20 / Rochford Wines 

  • 2019 Longview Fresco Red 

  • So many things to like about this wine. It’s made with nebbiolo, pinot nero, sangiovese and barbera, and it’s as fresh as it is raring to go. The thing is that it’s lively with fruit, beautifully perfumed, includes clear nebbiolo character and yet is just so downright moreish. This is a blend that’s been done with purpose rather than for convenience. It’s a top-notch modern magic red.  

    $26 / Longview Vineyard 

  • 2019 Coulter C2 Sangiovese 

  • It’s fast becoming apparent that Coulter is a special producer. Every wine seems as suave in the tasting as it is in the packaging. This is sangiovese from a sole vineyard in the Adelaide Hills. It boasts everything this grape variety is famous for. It has red-berried flavour, tannin and texture, but it’s also crunchy and bright. You might even call it mouthwatering. Polished is what it mostly seems, inside and out. 

    $28 / Coulter Wines 

    5 great red wines over $30
    by James Halliday

    The sky may have been the limit for James Halliday when it came to the prices of his standout red selections, but in his typical methodical way, he explains that the average price is, in fact, $49.90. This year’s selections not only offer exceptional value, but also seriously good drinking, as revealed by these five choices below. 

    Five great bottles of red wine, chosen by James Halliday
  • 2018 Bay of Fires Pinot Noir

  • From the East Coast and Derwent Valley. Hand-picked, temperature-controlled wild ferment, wild and cultured yeast, matured in 29% new French oak from the best Burgundian coopers. This is a pinot I would happily fill my cellar with. It is only medium-bodied, but it’s gloriously long and elegant, the tannins super-fine yet building the aftertaste.  

    $61 / Bay of Fires 

  • 2019 Serrat Yarra Valley Grenache Noir

  • Hand-picked, bunch-sorted, open-fermented with 80% whole berry/20% whole bunch, 12 days on skins, matured in used French puncheons for 11 months. Clear and bright crimson; gloriously pure varietal red fruits float across the mouth on a silken waft of red cherries and elfin spices. Meltingly beautiful wine.  

    $44 / Serrat  

  • 2018 Mount Langi Ghiran Vineyards Langi Grampians Shiraz

  • Hand-picked, wild-fermented with 80% whole bunches and 20% whole berries, 2-3 weeks on skins, matured for 18 mounts in French barriques (18% new), 280 dozen made. Wonderfully, tumultuously intense yet superbly balanced, black liquorice and herbal/foresty nuances all in play.  

    $200 / Mount Langi Ghiran 

  • 2017 Hay Shed Hill Block 2 Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon

  • Block 2 has the oldest vines on the vineyard, reflected in the depth of varietal fruit aroma and the palate. It has been singularly well made, drawing out the full array of blackcurrant, bay leaf and black olive fruits. The texture, structure and balance rest on ripe tannins, making a complete wine. 

    $60 / Hay Shed Hill  

  • 2017 Max & Me Boongarrie Vineyard Whole Bunch Eden Valley Syrah

  • Hand-picked in the first flush of berry ripeness, allowing 30% whole bunch inclusion in small open fermenters and pigeage for maceration, 10 days on skins, pressed to old French puncheons for 12 months, 140 dozen made. The Max & Me wines all have a touch of magic, this is a bit extra as the fruit flavours float above the tannin and oak components. 

    $50 / Max & Me  

    50 Great Reds is an annual feature of Halliday magazineBecome a member to get every issue first, and pick up your copy today to see the full list.