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Monday 2 November 2020

St Hallett to focus on shiraz

Experienced winemaker Helen McCarthy has been given the task of changing the focus of Barossa stalwart St Hallett.

McCarthy has worked at Taylor's, Thorn Clarke and Mountadam and is now senior winemaker and general manager at St Hallett as it aims to lift its profile as one of Australia's standout shiraz producers.

It is goodbye to the distraction of minor varieties and hello to concentrating the bulk of energy to Australia's favourite red grape.

McCarthy and St Hallett will unveil three new premium wines as part of the brand’s inaugural annual vintage release on November 12.

Alongside St Hallett’s two new vintage wines – the grunty, cellar-worthy 2016 Old Block Shiraz ($150) and 2018 Blackwell Shiraz ($55) – the winery will debut three new releases: the 2018 Higher Earth Syrah, 2018 Mighty Ox Shiraz (in 1.5L magnums for duty free sales, $210) and St Hallett’s most expensive shiraz to date: the 2015 Planted 1919.

McCarthy says the 2020 releases stay true to St Hallett's ethos with fruit sourced from the Barossa and Eden valleys.

“The St Hallett winemaking philosophy is relatively simple; minimal intervention and maximum attention,” McCarthy says. “We tailor fermentation and maturation to each parcel of the highest quality fruit to reveal the rich textures, depth and diversity of Barossa fruit.

“With every vintage our winemaking team learn more about the influence of the site on the flavour and quality of the wines. We are thrilled to be sharing some of our best wines yet in the 2020 annual vintage release.”

Blackwell Shiraz is the most obviously Barrossan wine in the St Hallett portfolio and demonstrates depth and weight. 

My verdict: If you are looking for a classic big, rich Barossa shiraz that is full-blooded without any excesses of alcohol or oak, then this long-time favourite is well worth a look. Featuring depth, dark blackberry and cherry fruit flavours and lashings of dark chocolate/mocha and vanilla characters it comes with both power and opulence – a wine of structure and texture that is also a proven bet for the cellar. $55.

McCarthy says the 2018 Higher Earth ($60) was named syrah on the label because of the wine’s style – a light-to-medium body – compared to a traditional heavy body of a South Australian shiraz. 

The Planted 1919 ($450) will be limited to just 360 bottles Australia wide and 1,200 globally. 

The St Hallett annual vintage release wines will be available for hotels and resorts from November 12 from Accolade Wines.

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