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Reviews: Old Faithful, Blackbilly Wines, Fireblock, Heathcote

2008 The Old Faithful Top Of The Hill Shiraz McLaren Vale

Region: 
McLaren Vale, South Australia
Australia
91(+?)pts

Inky purple. Blackcurrant, blackberry, licorice and spices on the nose, plus notes of roast coffee and black pepper. Chewy and shapely, with a restrained sweetness to its flavors of dark berries and smoky spices. Distinctly less accessible than the Cafe Block, showing serious depth of dark fruit, solid finishing grip and lingering spiciness.

 

2010 The Old Faithful Top Of The Hill Shiraz McLaren Vale

Region: 
McLaren Vale, South Australia
Australia
92pts

Glass-staining ruby.  Potent black and blue fruit aromas are complicated by vanilla, cola and licorice, with a smoky quality building in the glass.  Lush and open-knit, offering sweet blackcurrant and mulberry flavors and a touch of bitter chocolate.  Plush, round tannins shape the finish, which lingers with outstanding tenacity and resonating spiciness.

 

2009 The Old Faithful Grenache Sandhill McLaren Vale

Region: 
McLaren Vale, South Australia
Australia
91pts

Bright red. Pungent, high-pitched aromas of red berries, white pepper and Asian spices; this smells like a rich New World pinot noir. Then high-pitched and intensely sweet in the mouth, with a penetrating quality to the sappy raspberry, cherry and floral pastille flavors. This powerful yet vibrant wine finishes long, with lingering spiciness and perfume and excellent clarity. Pretty tasty right now but has the depth to age.

 

2010 The Old Faithful Grenache Northern Exposure McLaren Vale

Region: 
McLaren Vale, South Australia
Australia
92pts

Bright ruby-red.  Expansive red fruit and floral aromas are complicated by spicecake, white pepper and anise, with a hint of smokiness in the background.  Offers fleshy, animated black raspberry and bitter cherry flavors that slowly gain sweetness with aeration and pick up a subtle orange zest nuance.  Finishes sweet, silky and very long, with echoing spiciness and smooth tannins.  (The 2009 Sandhill bottling of grenache from The Old Faithful is drinking very nicely right now, by the way, showing suave floral and red fruit character and hints of peppery spices and woodsmoke.)

 

2011 Blackbilly Wines Grenache/Shiraz/Mourvedre

Region: 
McLaren Vale, South Australia
Australia
89 pts

Bright purple.  Smoke-accented cherry and blackberry aromas pick up a spicy nuance and a touch of licorice with air.  Chewy bitter cherry, licorice and fruitcake flavors show good energy thanks to a spine of juicy acidity.  Finishes on a gently tannic note, with good punch and length.

 

2010 Blackbilly GSM

Region: 
McLaren Vale, South Australia
Australia
89pts

Ripe and expressive, with a leafy edge to the generous plum and blackberry fruit, finishing with persistence and grace. Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèdre. Drink now through 2017.

 

2009 Fireblock Old Vine Grenache

Region: 
Clare Valley, South Australia
Australia
88pts

Fresh and vibrant, juicy with dark berry and rhubarb pie flavors, lingering nicely on the dark-tinged finish. Drink now through 2014.

 

2008 Heathcote II Myola

Region: 
Heathcote, VIC
Australia
90pts

Fresh and vibrant, this is tightly wound with fine tannins, offering tobacco-scented coffee and cherry flavors that push onto a lively finish. Needs time to soften. Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Best from 2014 through 2018.

 

2008 Heathcote II HD Shiraz

Region: 
Heathcote, VIC
Australia
92pts

A broad and spicy red, spreading its peppery blackberry and licorice flavors over a wide-screen frame, but without excess weight. This offers depth and intensity, with plenty of room to grow with cellaring. Best from 2015 through 2020.

 

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