Michael Hall
Tasting the wines of this impressive micronegociant, based in Australia's Barossa Valley

Website: www.michaelhallwines.com  

Michael Hall is an English expat, who’s now making artisan wines in Australia’s Barossa Valley.

His previous life was as a jewellery valuer to the auction houses. He began his career in London's Bond Street, and found his way to Sotheby's in Switzerland. His work took him across the world, but his heart was in wine, not expensive jewellery.

So he headed to Australia in 2002 on a student visa to study Wine Science fanatically at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. He did well, and graduated as top student in 2005. Over this period he worked with some interesting wineries both in Australia and France, including Cullens, Giaconda, Henschke, Shaw and Smith, Coldstream Hills, Veritas, Domaine Leflaive, Meo-Camuzet, Vieux Telegraphe and Trevallon. That’s quite a list!

He then headed off to the Barossa Valley and worked as winemaker for Rocland Estates, who let him do a bit of homebrew on the side. He’s no longer winemaker there, but the wines are still made by him at Rocland. He has six different wines, all of which are sourced from terroirs that he thinks are exceptional. As you’d expect, he takes a non-interventionist approach looking to make wines that best express these privileged sites.  

In the UK these wines are stocked by Berry Bros & Rudd, whose prices per bottle are given in brackets.


Michael Hall Chardonnay 2013 Picadilly Valley, Adelaide Hills, Australia
From a vineyard 500 m below Mt Lofty. Barrel fermented (some wild ferment), 70% malolactic, 11 months in French oak barriques (17% new). Very fresh, bright, lean and lemony with some nice texture and great balance, as well as a mineral core. Fresh and pure. 93/100 (£28.95)

Michael Hall Roussanne 2012 Barossa Valley, Australia
Mainly from Paul and Angie Schutz's Marananga vineyard on Stonewell Road, plus some fruit from David Materne in Greenock. 11 months on primary lees in French oak barriques, 12% new. Lively lemony, slightly nutty nose. Fresh, pure and lean, this is a bright, understated wine that’s very fresh and direct. 91/100 (£24.95)

Michael Hall Pinot Noir 2012 Adelaide Hills, Australia
From the Bonython vineyard in Piccadilly and the Manyara vineyard in Balhannah. Wild ferment, 20% whole bunch, pressed to French oak (20% new), 10 months on lees. Lively, bright and vivid with fresh, direct cherry and berry fruit. Good acidity and nice purity. 92/100 (£28.95)

Michael Hall Sang de Pigeon Shiraz 2011 Barossa Valley, Australia
From the biodynamically managed Triangle Block on the eastern edge of Seppeltsfield. Uninoculated ferment, pressed to French oak (20% new), 16 months in barrel. Fresh, vivid and focused black cherry and berry fruits with nice grippy structure. Fresh and balanced with a savoury twist. 93/100 (£21.50)

Michael Hall Syrah Flaxman’s Valley 2011 Eden Valley, Australia
From the Naimanya vineyard. Wild ferment, 22 months on lees in French oak (17% new). Very fresh, peppery nose: really expressive and direct with lovely cherries and plums. Savoury and a bit meaty with lovely focus. 94/100

See also:

The wines of Ochota Barrels
The wines of Lethbridge

Wines tasted 01/11  
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