2014 Thomson Family Shiraz Wins James Halliday Wine Companion Wine of the Year
By Justin Purser
Winning the Halliday Wine Companion Qantas Epicure Wine of the Year with our 2014 Thomson Family Shiraz and attaining a score of 99/100 was a fulfilling moment for the entire team at Best’s. The rarity of this wine means that it is never entered into wine shows and is rarely reviewed by wine critics, so to have a critic of James’s calibre reward it with such high praise gives credence as to why this wine is so special.
Made from the 15 rows of old Shiraz vines planted in the 1860s, the Thomson family has nurtured and protected these dry-grown gnarly old ladies for four generations and the Best family for two generations before that. This award is a fine acknowledgement of the tireless efforts of the Thomsons, the Bests and the generations of workers in the vineyards and the winery – their acute focus has compelled the Halliday team to hail this Great Western expression as the greatest Australian wine out of the 9000-odd that are reviewed for the Halliday Wine Companion.
Not only is it a fitting tribute to the resilience of these vines and of a small family business, it is also a testament to the history and success of Shiraz in Victoria. If it was possible to capture the Victorian wine history in a glass, the Thomson Family Shiraz would be it. This wine, we believe, has a special character that goes beyond turning grapes into wine, an ‘x factor’, if you like. The team at Best’s works very hard to ensure all our wines, but this one especially, are given every chance to fully achieve the quality levels attainable in Great Western, to capture the essence of the vineyards and to develop that x factor. We applaud them for their efforts and congratulate them on achieving such levels of quality.
With the length of the 2014 harvest (it progressed right until the end of April) we already had an inkling of the quality of the 2014 Shiraz wines. This protracted season enabled the grapes to achieve lots of layers of flavour. We knew we were onto something post-blending in mid-2015 when the wines began to unveil their charms presenting succulent, rolling flavours in the mouth combined with great balance and persistence. We believe that all the 2014 red wines will continue to get better with cellaring and hopefully will be looking good in 30 years’ time – if you can wait that long.
Listen to Justin Purser, Viv Thomson and James Halliday speak about this wine in this short video.