Sunday, November 11, 2018

Henschke New Releases

The famous Henschke winery is now a pretty substantial winery with 36 (!) different wines. They have four major vineyards: Hill of Grace, Mount Edelstone, and the Eden Valley vineyard, all in the Eden Valley, and the Lenswood vineyard in the Adelaide Hills. A couple of days ago, I tasted a number of the new releases. Following are some general impressions.

The white wines were all from the Eden Valley vineyard. They were from 2017 the Peggy's Hill Riesling, the Julius Riesling and the Percival's Mill Gruner Veltliner. Then there was the museum's release 2005 Julius Riesling. I found these wines quite Germanic in style. They deliver a broader mouthfeel than, say, Rieslings from the Clare Valley. Lime and floral flavours dominate the Rieslings, with the Julius more intense in style. The 2005 had expected toasted characters on the palate. I did not find the Gruner Veltliner true to varietal character, maybe a work in progress.

Of the medium priced reds, I enjoyed the 2016 Stone Jar Tempranillo. It attacks with very fresh red cherry fruit. This is a vibrant wine, very crisp and balanced. The 2015 Johann's Garden GMS is 70% Grenache, and the raspberry fruit shines through. There is spice as well in this easy drinking wine. The workhorse, the 2014 Keyneton Euphonium was a surprise. This is a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The Cabernet Franc is a minor component, but it dominated the palate with its spicy and forest fruit character.

Then came three premium priced Shirazes. They were a real revelation. The first two were from the excellent 2015 vintage. The Wheelwright Shiraz from the cool Eden Valley vineyard is a new wine, but the vines are actually 50 years old. And what a wine this is. Elegant and super delicious with bright and pure fruits of the whole spectrum (red, blue and black). The tannins are silky. This wine moves seamlessly along the palate. The spices are sweet rather than sharp, and the finish is long. The Tappa Pass is from three vineyards across the ridge near Light Pass in the Barossa Valley. The fruit is darker and more concentrated and ripe, but the wine is not heavy. Dried fruit and wood mellow the character of this very drinkable and smooth wine.

The 2013 Mount Edelstone is from a very dry vintage and was released later than usual, in fact after the 2014. This is an intense, quite dense wine, showing off the typical character of this wine: dark plum, blackberry, olive, aniseed, mocca and pepper. It is immediately recognizable, and despite the concentration and strong tannins is well balanced and not overwhelming.

Overall, the red Henschke wines have evolved over the last decade from intense wines to wines with beautiful purity of fruit, elegant and still retaining the expected power.     

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