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The wines of St Hallett, Barossa, Australia

St Hallett Wines, St Hallett's Road, Tanunda, Barossa Valley, SA 5352, Australia (PO Box 120, Tanunda, SA 5352)
Phone 08 8563 7000  Fax 08 8563 7001
Email: sthallett@sthallett.com.au Website: www.sthallett.com.au
UK agent: Mentzendorff (tel. 020 7840 3600)

Back in 1996, when I first visited the Barossa, St Hallett was one of the must-visits, with its famed Old Block Shiraz that was then limited to three bottles per customer. Since then, it merged with Tatachilla to form Banksia wines and then Banksia was sold to Lion Nathan, and some commentators have been suggesting that the standard has slipped a little. Certainly, St Hallett seems to have taken a more commercial direction, and while this means that the wines are more widely available and are well priced, they may have lost some of their geek interest. On the basis of this tasting, I found the wines to be solidly made in an appealing, accessible style: if quality has slipped here, it’s not by much. While I enjoyed the 1999 Old Block, I wouldn’t want to cellar it for more than a decade, whatever people might say about the ageworthiness of previous vintages. My tip for value purchase goes to the delicious Gamekeepers red, followed by the impressive Riesling.

St Hallett Eden Valley Riesling 2002
Assertive limey nose leads to a fresh, bright, high-acid palate. Appealing, with lots of savoury, limey fruit. Very good+

St Hallett Poachers Blend 2002
Bright fresh style with lots of fruit. A crowd-pleaser with a little bit of sweetness to the fruit on the finish. Needs to be chilled down. Very good

St Hallett Gamekeepers Reserve 2002
Vivid, savoury fruit on the nose with some appealing, satisfying juicy berry fruit, together with a meaty spiciness, on the palate. Rich and appealing. Very good+

St Hallett Faith Cabernet Sauvignon 2002
Rich, minty blackcurrant fruit on the nose with some spicy oak too. The palate shows more of the spicy oak character with juicy, rather lemony acidity sticking out a bit. Still, a forward wine and another crowd pleaser. Very good+

St Hallett Faith Shiraz 2001
Spicy berry fruit on the nose, which is liquoricey and rich. Rich, savoury, tarry palate is very appealing – an archetypal Aussie. Very good+

St Hallett Blackwell Shiraz 1999
Quite serious nose: spicy oak complexity with some tarry berry fruit. Rich concentrated palate shows bold fruit and a savoury, spicy finish. Well put together but fails to get me really excited. Very good+

St Hallett Old Block Shiraz 1999
Very rich, ripe blackcurrant and berry fruit with some spicy, tarry complexity on the nose. Concentrated, structured palate with sweet, spicy American oak evident. Good acidity. Very good/excellent

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