St Hallett – Rowland Flat
It is hard to pass up St Hallett when setting out to enjoy some wine tasting. Established in 1944, St Hallett is a long time member of the Barossa’s “family” of vineyards. St Hallett Winery has become well known for its Old Block Shiraz. St Hallett is another of those great iconic wineries to visit wine tasting while on a Shiraz & Co Tours day trip to the Barossa Valley.
The winery provides tastings of some of the region’s typically bold and flavourful Shiraz. St Hallett is nestled at the foot of the Barossa Valley Ranges in the Rowland Flat sub-region. The winery sits at an elevation of approximately 290m, between Lyndoch and Tanunda.
Winemakers Stuart Blackwell and Toby Barlow have built the brands reputation around integrity by staying true to the Barossa’s heritage. The winemaking focus is on individual treatment to maintain the rich, intense yet diverse character of the fruit. St Hallet wines were showcased to an audience of wine enthusiasts at a recent wine tasting event at the Henley Wine Club.
Henley Wine Club
This week I attended the November 2016 meeting of the Henley Wine Club. As a matter of course, the Henley Wine Club is a good show. This month’s meeting was special with a relaxed, informative and rewarding wine tasting of St Hallett wines.
The Henley Wine Club is hosted by Cliff and Linda Rothenburg ([email protected]). Club meetings are held on a monthly basis in the clubrooms of the Henley Beach Bowling Club. The format is a tasting of wines from a different winery or wineries each month, a chat with the hosts and winery representatives and some gourmet nibbles.
All Hail St Hallett Wines
St Hallett was represented by Stuart Blackwell, the personable and prestigious St Hallett senior winemaker of long-standing. Stuart presented a great range of wines with an interesting and diverse array of varieties, from easy-to-drink whites to the inkiest of reds.
Stuart presented the wines from the valuable perspective of the winemaker. We heard not just about their technical development but also the history of the company, the St Hallett’s ‘story’. St Hallett scrubs up well as a wine company with great history, company philosophy, innovative wine-making and probably related to these characteristics, great wines. Every one of the presented wines were winners.
History of Endurance
Two years ago St Hallett turned 70 years old. Read more about St Hallett’s history here. there are many wineries and growers struggling from the effects When the Australian wine industry is in an extended downturn . St Hallett winery also has had its own struggles; described as at times ‘being on its knees’. But the company is doing well at this time. I suspect the latter has something to do with finding, attracting and retaining significant talent in its workforce.
Reflecting on the wine selection at the wine tasting, it is amazing what St Hallett have done with varieties outside the classics. Together with the Barossa/Eden Valleys’ standard bearers of Shiraz and Riesling, Touriga Nacionale, Mataro and Grenache (in Pinot-style) was on offer.
At the easy-to-drink end of the spectrum was Poacher’s Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc (with a touch of Riesling). This was humorously described as 60% Semillon, 40% Sauvignon Blanc and 12-14% Riesling. I don’t know about your maths, but that’s definitely over-delivering! At the inky end of the spectrum was Stuart’s signature creation Blackwell Shiraz, perhaps better called “Black-ink-well”.
St Hallett procure fruit from interesting and/or talented providers. John Dawkins, reformed federal politician of the 70’s to 90’s supplies fruit for the Dawkins Single Block Shiraz. Anthony Scholz, a grower from the famous Ebenezer district supplies the Sholz Single Block Shiraz. Anthony is to be admired for his dedication to growing good fruit and for his outstanding approach to the way he sells his product. His marketing focus is on forging strong relationships with winemakers. He is ahead of his time in the way he markets his fruit and accolades should go to St Hallet for being among the first to respond positively by respecting the provider and his approach.
Great Wine Stories
There’s some interesting stories behind some of the wines also. The ‘poacher’ behind Poacher’s Sem/Sauv Blanc is in fact Stuart Blackwell, who out of retribution, poached some fruit one season (way back in the wilder, old days) from a non-paying client for contract-crushing. I hasten to add that Stuart came clean with the victim and then developed a great long-standing relationship with the offending, and then offended vineyard. The story behind the Gamekeepers labels (tasted were Shiraz/Grenache/Touriga and Cabernet Sauvignon) was also related on the night. Unfortunately I missed this because I was expecting to hear that the Gamekeeper was named after the guy who dealt with the Poacher.
There are a thousand more stories at St Hallet to be heard over a great glass of their wine at a wine tasting. A visit to the winery at St Hallett Road, Tanunda in the Barossa Valley is well recommended, especially on one of Sharon and Armin’s great Shiraz & Co gourmet food and fine wine tours.
To learn more from St Hallet wines visit their website here.
For more information or to experience St Hallett Wines on a fun day tour itinerary call Armin on 0411752062 or email him at [email protected]
By Lawrie Stanford,
25 November 2016