Sunday, June 9, 2013

Henschke New Ultra Premium Releases

It is not often that you see a better trio of new releases than this. And I am making sure in this assessment that I am not influenced by the fact that they were presented at a dinner at Quay Restaurant or that I won a rare magnum of Tappa Pass Shiraz (pictured).

But before I get to this, I would like to report on the 2012 Henschke Croft Chardonnay. The grapes for this wine come from the Henschke's Lenswood Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills. Not many people know that these grapes are the oldest Chardonnay grapes in the Adelaide Hills, planted in the early 80s. The wine is wild yeast fermented and quite full flavoured. It is a clean and elegant wine with a lot of complexity, showing pear and white nectarine, as well as some nutty flavours. There is good acidity on the silky finish. This is a classy wine - a real surprise.

Score: 93/++

Then on to the main game. The 2009 Henschke Mount Edelstone jumps out of the glass with a rich bouquet of sage and black pepper spice. There are many descriptions of this wine, so what is special? The palate is fine, with layers of plum, blackberry and peppers, yet strong at the same time. I like a wine with paradox. The finish is long, on the base of silky tannins. The best ever?

Score: 96/+++

The 2009 Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon is 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc and 6% Merlot.  The Cabernet Sauvignon clearly dominates. The complex palate oozes blackberries, violets and cigar box flavours. The outstanding feature? The extremely dry and dusty tannins underlying a ripe fruit intensity. This wine cries out for meat protein.

Score: 96/+++

Hill of Grace reminds me of Morocco, every time - the Grand Place in Marrakesh. It is the exotic spices in this wine.The 2008 Henschke Hill of Grace is a terrific example of this. No other wine in Australia has this scent and flavour - a real treasure. If we would loose these 150 year old vines, we would have to wait 150 years before we get them back. Think about that. Different soil structures in this vineyard contribute to the complexity of this wine. The paradox of this wine: This wine feels lighter on the palate than the Mount Edelstone, yet it is more intense. The tannins are ripe, yet soft and fine. Everything comes together in a balanced, elegant finish.  One of the most exciting Australian wines I have ever tasted.

Score: 98/+++

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