x
  • Country ranking ?

    209
  • Producer ranking ?

    1
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2035
  • Food Pairing

    Slow-braised beef

The Story

The first Old Block was created in 1980 by Barossa icon Robert O’Callaghan from a single vineyard planted in 1912. It soon outgrew the original block to become a representation of Old Vine Shiraz from the entire Barossa region, including the elevated Eden Valley.

With an average vine age of 88 years across its 30 vintage history, Old Block has always paid homage to the intensity, complexity and majesty of Old Vine fruit, well before it became a common marketing theme.

When Stuart took over as the Old Block custodian in the eighties, he firstly set about understanding Barossa’s most precious assets, before he looked to evolve the style of St Hallett’s flagship wine. While vintage variation is evident when comparing vintages, finesse is a hallmark of Old Block, even in the most extroverted of vintages. Stuart puts this down to a clear vision for the wine and an understanding of Barossa’s diverse vineyard offering.

“We never set out to make the biggest and boldest wine in the Barossa, or even within the St Hallett portfolio for that matter,” Stuart said. “We always thought of Old Block in the context of world wine, it needed to be balanced in every sense of the word.”

“We may not have achieved it every single time, but after tasting all 30 vintages recently, I think we got it right more often than not. A big part of that was the judicious use of oak and the right balance of Eden Valley fruit.

“The percentage of Eden Valley fruit in the blend varied from below 10% to above 30% depending on the conditions of that season. It’s not made to a formula, but rather an ideal that we are striving for.”

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Written Notes

This is the St H's big gun, but sometimes a curious wine. Always good, sometimes it is overshadowed by the 'flagships' from other Barossa producers and sometimes even by wines like St H's own Blackwell – one suspects that a little part of this has been getting the oak right and that perhaps alcohol levels have been a smidge higher than best suits the wine. Other times, it is terrific (and recent vintages suggest it is firmly bang on track). So always exciting to see a new release to see where it fits in, though in all honesty, these days, it is close to a given that the Old Block will be a seriously good wine. Worth noting that since the 2002 vintage, all of the wines have seen 100% French oak. All vineyards are at least 60 years old, some going back as far as the 1850's (what was the world doing back then?). A not insignificant contribution is made from a vineyard at Moculta, planted in 1906. Production is usually 700 to 1,800 cases, depending on vintage conditions. In 2008, it sat somewhere around the 1,300 to 1,400 cases. This release has depth, concentration, power. There is oak, but it is not excessive, and will no doubt continue to integrate over time. Alcohol is under 14%, which surely sets it apart from some of those past vintages. This is nicely balanced. There are flavours of black fruits, chocolate, mushrooms and some spice. Very soft tannins. Good length. Impressive. There is a touch of nutmeg, no doubt from the oak. This vintage has excellent potential to improve. One suspects that, as good as this wine is, the 2009 vintage night just be a vintage that better suits Old Block. 94
  • 94p

Information

Origin

Tanunda, Barossa Valley

Vintage Quality

Excellent

Value For Money

Good

Investment potential

No Potential

Fake factory

None

Highlights

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94p
 Ken Gargett, Wine Writer (Australia)  tasted  Old Block Shiraz 2008  ( St Hallett )

"This is the St H's big gun, but sometimes a curious wine. Always good, sometimes it is overshadowed by the 'flagships' from other Barossa producers and sometimes even by wines like St H's own Blackwell – one suspects that a little part of this has been getting the oak right and that perhaps alcohol levels have been a smidge higher than best suits the wine. Other times, it is terrific (and recent vintages suggest it is firmly bang on track). So always exciting to see a new release to see where it fits in, though in all honesty, these days, it is close to a given that the Old Block will be a seriously good wine.
Worth noting that since the 2002 vintage, all of the wines have seen 100% French oak.
All vineyards are at least 60 years old, some going back as far as the 1850's (what was the world doing back then?). A not insignificant contribution is made from a vineyard at Moculta, planted in 1906. Production is usually 700 to 1,800 cases, depending on vintage conditions. In 2008, it sat somewhere around the 1,300 to 1,400 cases.
This release has depth, concentration, power. There is oak, but it is not excessive, and will no doubt continue to integrate over time. Alcohol is under 14%, which surely sets it apart from some of those past vintages.
This is nicely balanced. There are flavours of black fruits, chocolate, mushrooms and some spice. Very soft tannins. Good length. Impressive. There is a touch of nutmeg, no doubt from the oak.
This vintage has excellent potential to improve.
One suspects that, as good as this wine is, the 2009 vintage night just be a vintage that better suits Old Block.
94
"

1y 10m ago

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