A Saintly end to it all…

G’day. Friday

Unhappily for all concerned with wine here, I woke up this morning to the sound of pouring rain, which continued all day and evening. It’s pretty unusual at this time of year here in the Barossa but Australia as a whole has had some freak weather this year – tropical cyclones and floods have hit many regions. Everyone’s fairly pragmatic though – they take it as learning and are still confident that there will be some good wines produced with a little bit of luck and better weather over the next few weeks.

Visited Turkey Flat this morning, who have some of the oldest vines in the region. The bush vine Grenache vines on the way into the estate have huge, gnarly old trunks and must be at least 80 years old.

Free-standing Old Grenache bush vines

The 2010 rosé was excellent as usual and it was interesting to taste several vintages of their Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre wines. Christie Schulz, owner of the property was in Dubai recently and was pleased to see that despite what they report in the press here, we don’t live in a ghost-town where everybody has left their car at the airport!!

St Hallett's new cellar door counter

Our latest addition to the MMI portfolio was next on the agenda, St Hallett. Founded in the 80’s by now senior winemaker Stuart Blackwell, St Hallett are now quite a bit larger but still produce some superb wines. The tasting room has recently been renovated and enlarged. Stuart took me round the back to where the freshly harvested grapes were being loaded onto the crusher. Then we sampled several barrels of the 2010 showing how they separately ferment and age each separate vineyard block before blending to produce the different wines in the range. In the tasting room I was taken through the full range including the iconic Old-Block Shiraz. Also impressive were the Semillon dominant  Poacher’s Blend, The Gamekeeper’s Reds and the Faith Shiraz. All the wines have a softness and drinkability yet are rich in flavour and are all great examples of the Barossa style. Look out for them in the MMI shops and restaurants of Dubai.

Well, that’s nearly it from me for this trip. I’m quickly visiting the Adelaide Hills tomorrow morning before catching a plane to Melbourne and then back to Dubai. I’ve had a great time, met some great people and have packed lots in but I’m looking forward to getting back! I tried a quick tally of the number of wines I’ve tasted on the trip and reckon it must be close to 400. Happily not a bad one in there and a lot of really, really  good ones.

Please keep your comments on wine coming in to Grapevine and hope to see you at an event/tasting soon.

G’day and cheers mates!

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