This is a summary of the criteria used by Australia's pre-eminent wine critic James Halliday AM to determine the ratings for wines with some musings added by yours truly. I have tried to score wines fairly irrespective of their price with a '+' sign added to give more to the numerical rating as an example, for a wine's potential to age.

Whilst the points given are purely subjective in the overall score, what they do is incorporate both the quality and value for money aspect of the wine irrespective of its source. 


Outstanding. Wines that have won trophies at important wine shows and are of the highest quality, often with a distinguished pedigree. This score will be reserved for those truly magical bottles. Wine nirvana that deserves worship.

Highly Recommended. Wines of exceptional quality, style and character, worthy of a place in any cellar. Makes a statement about variety, winemaking technique or region.  If you can afford it, buy it.

Recommended. Wines of above-average quality, fault-free, and with clear varietal expression that are enjoyable to drink. Will complement food, not dominate it. A great score for a quaffer and a good score for a premium wine.

Acceptable. Wines of fair commercial quality, free of any significant fault and pleasant enough to drink. In the good to average quality quaffing range. No need to cellar.
Over to you. Everyday, run of the mill wines, usually cheap and with little or no future, needing more character and flavour. Best tipped out or left on the shelf if it is not in the ‘bargain’ price range. 

Not recommended. Wines with one or more significant winemaking faults. Memorable for all the wrong reasons. To be avoided or bought only for people you do not like !

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