The base wine for the Black NV is blended from various parcels of Shiraz and a small portion of Mataro of various ages. Through constant monitoring and tasting of the wines during the maturation, individual barrels are chosen specifically for the sparkling base.
Once the base is blended it goes onto tirage, the process whereby a small amount of sugar is added, the wine is inoculated with yeast and then transferred into bottles to complete fermentation and produce CO2 bubbles. The wine is allowed to remain in these bottles for 12 months where the breakdown of the dead yeast cells after fermentation gives the wine complex yeast autolysis characters of bread, brioche and a creamy mouth feel.
After tirage, the bottles are placed onto riddling racks where the yeast sediment is riddled down into the neck of the bottle and eventually disgorged. After the removal of this yeast plug, a liqueur is added to sweeten the wine to the desired level and the bottle is sealed with a cork.
If it follows in the footsteps of the '16, it was crushed and destemmed, 10 days on skins, and 14 months in oak (30% new). It brings the energy, focus and finesse of '17 into high relief, making this a joy to taste.
97 points, Wine Companion (February 2020)
Perth Royal Wine Awards
Colonel William Light, the South Australian colony’s Surveyor-General, named the Barossa in 1837 after the site of an English victory over the French in the Spanish Peninsular War. In the mid-1800’s Silesian and English immigrants settled in the area. The Barossa itself comprises two distinct sub-regions: Eden Valley and the warmer Barossa Valley floor at 270m.The Barossa Valley enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate characterised by hot dry summers and relatively low rainfall. Cool sea breezes from the Gulf of St Vincent modify the temperature, however hot northerly winds can occasionally dominate creating considerable vine stress. Many older established vineyards are dry-grown, but supplementary irrigation is also extensively used. The valley is comprised of rich brown soils and alluvial sands. A long history of uninterrupted viticulture in the area means the Barossa valley is home to Australia’s largest concentration of old-vine Shiraz, Grenache and Mourvedre with many over 100 years old. Although most famous for Shiraz, the Barossa can also produce fragrant and deliciously fruity Grenache blends and beautifully rich, chocolatey Cabernet Sauvignons.
The Lindner Family established St Hallett in the heart of the Barossa Valley near Tanunda in 1944. After a relatively sleepy beginning producing fortified wines, the winery restructured its ownership. The rumbustious pioneering energy of Barossa legend Bob McLean during the 1980s and 1990s saw an extraordinary metamorphosis. Stuart Blackwell, St Hallett’s winemaker since 1972 oversaw the development of Langton's Classified 'Excellent' St Hallet Old Block Shiraz, perhaps one of the most successful ultra-fine Barossa Shirazes and an early cult-type wine. Alongside Old Block, St Hallett makes a range of wines that consistently over-deliver including the classic reserve style Blackwell Shiraz.