It sometimes astounds me how a winery which produces exceptional wines can also turn out very ordinary stuff. Sure, there are younger vines, higher yields, less expensive oak etc., but the difference seems to be larger than that - and why do it? An expansive tasting of the Hentley Farm wines illustrates this point. Following are brief notes of the wines tasted.
2013 Cabernet - Nice fruit, dusty tannins. A bit simple, fairly flat mouthfeel - 87 points
2012 Grenache - Fruity, Bubblegum - 85 points
2012 The Quintessential (Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz) - More depth in this wine, but still dominated by upfront fruit - 91 points
2011 The Beast Shiraz - A lighter style than normal, blackberry flavours, very good tannin integration - 92 points
2011 Clos Otto Shiraz - A remarkable wine from this difficult vintage, very elegant, with silky tannins. This wine, from now over 30 year vines is quickly becoming a benchmark Barossa Shiraz - 95 points
2009 The Beauty Shiraz/Viognier - Quite aromatic, good depth of fruit, firm tannins - 93 points
2009 The Beast Shiraz - Concentrated fruit, tannins well integrated, long finish - 95 points
2008 Clos Otto Shiraz - A big core of fruit, slightly too ripe, chocolate, soft tannins - 94 points
A final comment: The top wines are impressive, but the prices for all wines are on the high side.