Higher alcohol Barossa reds aren't exactly my cup of tea, so I must credit Rick Burge, because his Olive Hill blends almost always open my wallet after tastings. Perhaps it's the 100% French oak Rick uses (10 months here), or his valued years of experience within Lyndoch, but more likely, it has something to do with Rick's humble, traditional approach and (very!) generous pricing. Rick was so pleased with the quality of his 2008 mourvedre crop that he released a special, one-off blend from the Olive Hill vineyard, using mourvedre as the dominant component (70%).
The 2008 Olive Hill MSG presents an aroma with two distinct layers. Rising up early, it's heady, lightly spiced and floral, rather intense and a shade savoury, but underneath that layer, it's fruity and buoyantly ripened, with rich, chocolately scents of blackberry, currants and cranberries residing patiently below. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the patience subsides on the palate, as its deliciously supple and silky, big red and black fruits flow with the richness and definition expected of the maker. Its whole, long, 'open' finish is deeply imprinted by the saturated, juicy, bright fruits let loose by the fore palate, as well as a beautifully integrated, mild yet truly refreshing structure beset with vibrant acids and fair tannin. The balance works flawlessly and seamlessly (without over-ripeness or hardness), in an absolutely delicious, earlier drinking Barossa style, which has been composed perfectly within the constraints of its price and its season.
ü+ The only thing I don't get about this wine (other than why the front label says MSG but the back suggests MGS), is why, as a 'special release', is it cheaper than the 'standard' 2008 Olive Hill SGM? ($28-90pts) Hold on, that's right, Rick Burge doesn't follow the crowds, he just concentrates on making great wine. And that this is. Drink to 2014.