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1998 St. Hallett Blackwell Shiraz
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- Closure: Cork
AN OUTSTANDING CHIP OFF THE OLD BLOCK.
The St Hallett 1998 Blackwell Shiraz was named after St Hallett’s very modest winemaker Stuart Blackwell. We must confess we did not know a lot about Stuart, so we requested some background information about this man, who has been winemaking at St Halletts since 1973. An 8 line resume was faxed which basically said very little, hence we gave him a call. Stuart is a very interesting fellow who first started making wine at the age of 12, by ‘borrowing’ some unfermented grape juice which was being used as Communion wine – his first vintage! Subsequently he borrowed grapes from Hamilton’s Old Blocks and started wild fermentation in a baby bath – apparently intoxicated by the aroma of fermenting grapes. Around 1973, a young winemaker by the name of Robert O’Callaghan (that’s Rocky of Rockford Wines) suggested that he join the Lindner family at St Hallett and learn how to make fortified wines, which comprised 70% of the business in those days.
In 1988 a generously proportioned marketing executive, Big Bob McLean, joined St Hallett and turned the company into a major wine producer. The Blackwell Shiraz was Big Bob’s first idea of establishing a second wine under the Old Block shadow for the UK market – but fortunately we locals got to find out about it too.
The Blackwell Shiraz is essentially St Hallett Old Block but with more fruit bomb character, and less tightly structured – maturing in 8 – 10 years rather than 10 – 15. The age of the vines for Blackwell varies from 70 – 110 years, with 28 growers used to source exceptional Shiraz material. Each growers grapes are fermented separately and later master blended into either Old Block or Blackwell. Yields from these old vines vary from 1 to 3 tonnes per acre. Very tight grained American oak casks are used for barrel maturation, from periods between 24 - 32 months. The resultant wines, quite different yet exceptional.
THE 1998 BLACKWELL SHIRAZ REPRESENTS EXCEPTIONAL QUALITY & VALUE AT HALF OF THE PRICE OF OLD BLOCK !
TASTING NOTE: An outstanding Barossa Shiraz. Opaque black crimson colour. Superb nose with aroma of liquorice, dark chocolate, mocca and very ripe plum. The palate displays classic Barossa voluptuousness – wonderful body weight yet with power and great depth of flavour. Very pronounced flavours of blackpepper over layers of dark chocolate, vanilla and spice. Velvet smooth tannins, exceptional length and perfect balance. Exceptionally long aftertaste of dark chocolate, ripe plum, liquorice, spice and mocha.Cellar 4 – 5 years. (2005 – 2006) A magnificent wine. STOCKS ARE LIMITED.
VALUE FOR MONEY: XXXXX/5