Call me outdated or boring, but two of my very favourite Barossa shiraz labels remain Peter Lehmann's Stonewell and St Hallett's Old Block. It appears Stuart Blackwell believed the Crows' last premiership season offered some pretty fair fruit quality, as he chose to rest his flagship wine in American oak (new and two year old) for 28 months that year.
Scents of melting chocolate, brown leaf litter and soy reside in the 1998 Old Block's deep, settled fragrance, sparked by blackcurrant and plum fruits with a siding of leather. It's conclusively dark, without being vicious whatsoever. Starting out in a medium weight range, its palate quickly pumps up through the middle section, jumping into a much fuller, juicier framework that moves with good persistence, richness and softness. Its curvaceous shape contains a well directed concoction of earthy dark plum, berry and black olive flavours, which progress with a fine line of sour-edged acids and emerging touches of cedar and spice. It happily personifies the comforting aspects of good Barossa shiraz.
ü A classic regional style that just lacks the forthright complexity to be truly exceptional. Whether it'll develop those characters in coming years is difficult to see, but there's absolutely no denying the immediate drinking pleasure on offer here. Drink to 2018.