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Henschke


 

The Henschke family have been making wine at their estate in the Eden Valley since 1868. Fifth-generation winemaker Stephen Henschke took over running the winery in 1979. Together with his viticulturist wife Prue, they have taken their two single vineyards, Hill of Grace and Mount Edelstone, and transformed them into two of Australia’s most sought-after wines, ranking alongside the likes of Penfold's Grange.

We have just been allocated a few cases of the much anticipated 2016s. It would seem that you can pretty much pick your favourite critic and they all love the wines. I'll be tasting them myself in 3 weeks time but by then they'll all be gone. Production is down this year and allocations are in greater demand than ever. Please let me know if you would like something.

2016 Keyneton Euphonium Barossa Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon  

£195 per 6 bot, in bond (£250.07 inc. duty & VAT)
18.5 points, Matthew Jukes
93 points, Sarah Ahmed, Decanter
93 points Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate


2016 Mount Edelstone Eden Valley Shiraz  

£635 per 6 bot, in bond (£778.07 inc. duty & VAT)
18.5+ points Matthew Jukes
96 points Sarah Ahmed, Decanter
97 points Jane Faulkner, James Halliday's Wine Companion
95 points Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate


2016 Cyril Henschke Eden Valley Cabernet Sauvignon  
£520 per 6 bot, in bond (£640.07 inc. duty & VAT)

18.5+ points Matthew Jukes
96 points Sarah Ahmed, Decanter
97 points Jane Faulkner, James Halliday's Wine Companion
95 points Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate


2016 Hill of Grace Eden Valley Shiraz

£1395 per 3 bot, in bond (£1682.04 inc. duty & VAT)
18.5+ points Jancis Robinson MW
99 points Tyson Stelzer, James Halliday's Wine Companion
98 points Joe Czerwinski, The Wine Advocate
19.5+ points Matthew Jukes
99 points Sarah Ahmed, Decanter

 

2016 Keyneton Euphonium Barossa Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon  


£195 per 6 bot, in bond (£250.07 inc. duty & VAT)

57% Shiraz, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc

A beautiful composition of Shiraz from up to 50-year-old vines growing in the Eden and Barossa valleys, blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc from selected vineyards in both regions, some of which were planted by Cyril Henschke at his Eden Valley property in the 1960s. 

The Barossa hills village of Keyneton was a musical and cultural focus for early settlers, and home of the Henschke Family Brass Band, founded in 1888.

Matured in 13% new and 87% seasoned French (71%) and American (29%) oak hogsheads for 18 months prior to blending and bottling with a further two years in bottle before release.


This is a spectacular Euphonium with the most detail and exuberance I have seen from this label. I am a committed fan of The Great Australian Red blend and while this wine hides some Merlot and Cab Franc in the mix, to great effect, this is a mighty release and a wine that offers a true sense of Australian vinous history at the same time as rewarding you with incredible value for money. If you want to experience the Henschke magic, with TGAR heritage, while embracing a fabulous vintage and a fairly forward disposition, this is IT!
18.5 points, Matthew Jukes

A sumptuous, savoury twist on classic Shiraz-Cabernet blends, full of rich, velvety cassis fruit, dark chocolate, cured black olive and dried herbs. Splashes of Merlot and Cabernet Franc bring accents of blueberry, spicy fruitcake, tea, tomato plant and ketchup. A fretwork of tannins and juicy acidity makes for a dynamic interplay of flavours and textures, concluding with Cabernet Sauvignon's gravel, grip and focus. A full-bodied, flavoursome feast.
93 points, Sarah Ahmed, Decanter

A blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, the 2016 Keyneton Euphonium beautifully marries the mint and herb of the Bordeaux varieties with the plumminess and spice of the Shiraz. Hints of mint, tea and violets accent dark, plummy fruit, then finish with savoury overtones of black olive. It's full-bodied and supple, ready to drink now or age 15 or more years.
93 points Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate
 

2016 Cyril Henschke Eden Valley Cabernet Sauvignon  


£520 per 6 bot, in bond (£640.07 inc. duty & VAT)

Named in memory of Stephen’s father, Cyril Henschke (1924-1979), who planted the Eden Valley vineyard and bottled his first Cabernet Sauvignon from this site in 1976.

This north-facing vineyard, comprising sandy loam soils over gravel and bedrock with patches of clay, is in the cooler part of the Mount Lofty Ranges, in the Barossa Range just east of the Barossa Valley. Sitting at an altitude of 500 metres, the Cabernet grapes planted here bring great texture, depth and fine-grained tannins to the wine.

Fermentation is finished in French oak hogshead barrels, with a slightly higher percentage of new oak (35%) than is used for Henschke’s Shiraz. The wine is matured for 18 months in oak before assemblage and bottling, with a further two years in bottle before release.


There is no doubt that the Eden Valley is home to truly great red wines and Cyril is my favourite Cabernet by a mile. Once again, in this vintage, the perfume is tremendous and intoxicating and it signals that a remarkable wine is to follow. With a slightly firmer feel than the Shirazes and a narrower set of hips, too, there is a faint leafy character here which adds drama to the blackcurrant core. The tannins are sooty and fine and, again, there is leafy freshness that signs its name and the end of the finish. While the mid-palate fruit is superb this is a youthful wine and it requires patience. Like Hill of Grace, Cyril was another wine that continued to evolve over the course of my repeated visits to the bottle and this is a stunning sign for the future.
18.5+ points Matthew Jukes

A classy nose, where notes of earth, gravel, cedar and lilac join plush, ripe, blackcurrant and cassis fruit. Juicy blackcurrants to the fore on the deep palate, mingling with fleshier mulberry, dried mint, earth and compost nuances along with an amplified floral accent — heady lilacs versus the violets of 2015. Powdery, mouthcoating tannins and ripe, redcurrant acidity underpin the long, mineral wet-stone finish. This marathon runner wears its plush fruit and firm structure lightly.
96 points Sarah Ahmed, Decanter

Some of the vines were planted by Cyril Henschke in the ‘60s. Matured in French hogsheads (35% new) for 18 months. Deep but brightly coloured, this is a no holds barred, full-bodied Eden Valley cabernet sauvignon that will live for decades, blessed by a screwcap. Blackcurrant fruit, touches of cedary oak, black olive, bay leaf and earthy tannins are all on parade.
97 points Jane Faulkner, James Halliday's Wine Companion

The family's flagship Cabernet is the 2016 Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon. As usual, the oak regime incorporates a reasonable 20% new French hogsheads, lending a discreet edge of pencil shavings to the scents of pipe tobacco, menthol and cassis. It's medium to full-bodied but exquisitely balanced so as to appear nearly weightless on the palate, buoyed by ripe, plush tannins that turn softly dusty on the lingering finish. It's another excellent vintage for what is arguably Eden Valley's top Cabernet Sauvignon.
95 points Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate
 

2016 Mount Edelstone Eden Valley Shiraz  


£635 per 6 bot, in bond (£778.07 inc. duty & VAT)

A complex, textured wine from an historic, low-yielding 16-hectare site. The Mount Edelstone vineyard is home to dry-grown, ungrafted centenarian vines which sit on ancient soils at 400 metres above sea level.
 
Each parcel of vines is picked and vinified separately. The wine is matured in 80% French and 20% American hogsheads (19% new, 81% seasoned) for 18 months prior to blending and bottling, after which the wine ages for a further three years before release.
 
Mount Edelstone’s historic vines were planted in 1912 by Ronald Angas, a descendant of George Fife Angas who founded South Australia. 

Remarkably bright purplish crimson, the sort of colour I'd expect from a Cabernet more than from a Shiraz. Hugely medicinal on the nose of this — positively a poultice! Such intensity and so much history in this beautifully balanced wine. You just know you're tasting vine-growing rather than winemaking here (sorry, Stephen). Everything seems so healthy and in balance. No sweetness but rather herby savour and appetising layers of fully ripe fruit. Not at all like Barossa Valley floor Shiraz — much more lifted and cooler. There's a certain tarriness here too. Definitely to be drunk with food and its considerable tannins have just crept up on my while I marvelled at the fruit. Ideally to be kept. Tasted 24 hours later, a certain (black) pepperiness was evident on the nose and there was more obvious ripeness beating the tannins into submission. Very clean, appetising finish.
18 points Jancis Robinson MW

It is extraordinary just how stunning Mount Edelstone is in 2016...it appears that this east-facing plot has performed at the highest possible level and this means that each chapter of this wines sensory journey is complete. Firstly, it explodes out of the glass with one of the most complete aromatic displays of the year. There is enviable freshness and spice here alongside complex florals and musks. The first sip is tremendous and there is no need to agitate the glass or to decant this wine in order for it to sing. It literally bursts out of the blocks and continues its assault at one speed and that is full speed. Having said this, and taking into account the volume of flavour, there is tenderness and elegance here, too. There is red, black and blue fruit making up the mid-palate and they eddy and flow in perfect synchronicity. In addition to this, the overall balance is pinpoint perfect with refreshing, vital tannins and crunchy acidity. I cannot recommend this vintage enough.
19.5+ points Matthew Jukes

Powerful but unobtrusive tannins — like an engine purring — support dark, perfectly ripe blackberry, mulberry and plum fruit, with hints of strawberry, red fruit leather and smoked charcuterie notes from the oak. Spice and dried herb nuances unfurl over three days, beautifully articulating the terroir and its 104-year-old vines through notes of black pepper, sage, tea tree, star anise, mint and cardamom. Ripe and refreshing redcurrant sustains the sweet, spiced fruit through the long, sinuous finish. Terrific purity, poise and panache.
97 points Sarah Ahmed, Decanter

The vineyard was planted in 1912, hand-picked, matured in 80% French and 20% American hogsheads (19% new). The vintage was challenging, but this shiraz shows no sign of that. It is full-bodied, very complex and very long, the tannins expertly massaged and drawn under the fruit. Blackberry, tar and bitter dark chocolate all contribute to what will be a very long-lived wine.
97 points James Halliday

The 2016 Mount Edelstone Vineyard Shiraz is steeped in complexity, with aromas ranging from camphor, bay leaf and sage to smoke and grilled beef and from blueberries and blackberries to plums laced with spice. Full-bodied, rich and intense, it's ripe and velvety textured, with a long, liquorice-tinged finish and dusty tannins that bode well for the cellar. From vines planted in 1912, I suspect this will come close to the quality of the Hill of Grace at a fraction of the price. Tasted again the following day from the open bottle, this was even better, seamless, flowing and harmonious in the mouth.
96 points Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate
 

2016 Hill of Grace Eden Valley Shiraz


£1395 per 3 bot, in bond (£1682.04 inc. duty & VAT)

This legendary site by the Gnadenberg Lutheran Church, with its ‘congregation’ of ancient vines, lies in the village of Parrot Hill, just a few kilometres northwest of Henschke Cellars. The soil — red-brown earth over a deep silty loam — offers excellent moisture retention for the old dry-grown vines.

After handpicking, each block was vinified separately in open-top fermenters, with twice-daily pump overs. Maturation took place in 85% French and 15% American oak hogshead barrels (29% new, 71% seasoned) for 18 months before assemblage and bottling, with a further three years in bottle before release.  

Pretty deep purplish crimson. Not much evolution at the rim (unlike the Hill of Roses). Initially pretty reticent on the nose. Then fumes started to swirl up from the glass as from a cauldron! I'm thinking witches here. Luscious ripe fruit within a stern framework — it really is impossible to spit out. Strong saline quality on the (very long) finish. Just unfurling in the glass but the intensity of the fruit almost masks the tannic charge. I know Stephen Henschke talks about the red and black fruit here but I get lots of mineral stuff. It is a really very unusual combination of lift/freshness with intensity of historic Shiraz. Such throat-soothing persistence! But what a price!! (Though more or less the same as Penfolds Grange 2016.) 24 hours later the colour seems to have mellowed. But the wine is still amazingly luscious and broad with strong mineral and saline notes. Decant this and you could enjoy it immediately. 
18.5+ points Jancis Robinson MW

From a core of vines planted around 1860 (plus some 100+ and 35+ yo vines) at 400m elevation. Matured 18 months in 85/15% French/ American oak, 29% new. Such effortless grace and caressing elegance, in the presence of commanding endurance that will sustain it for half a century. This is the paradox that defines the legendary fable that is Hill of Grace. 2016 embodies this: the profound depth of black fruits, bathed in the inimitable fragrance and exotic Chinese five-spice that characterises these old vines, set to tannins more finely textured yet more commanding than ever. Resist the seductive temptations of its youth and drink the 2015 first, because the true spectacle of 2016 is decades away.
99 points Tyson Stelzer, James Halliday's Wine Companion

Henschke's 2016 Hill of Grace Shiraz is locked up tight behind a stubborn wall of firm tannins. Scents of pencil shavings, mocha, bay leaf, mixed berries and plums appear on the nose, while the full-bodied palate starts off broad, expansive, and creamy, then draws to a chewy, drying finish. There's ample concentration, length, complexity, and a definitive track record of ageing, so put this version away for several years while waiting for it to emerge and show its true glory. If you absolutely must drink it now, decanting for a couple of hours helps soften the tannins and brings the fruit forward.
98 points Joe Czerwinski, The Wine Advocate

While the 2015 is juicy, buoyant, pliant and welcoming this new 2016 release is upright, introverted and composed. The overture is one of restraint and elegance with discreet spice over a deep, dark, multi-layered core. There is immense polish, as always, and the savoury finish is not more or less tannic than the 2015, but it is certainly tense and bristling with energy. I remember noting that the 2015 was a wine that everyone, expert and novice alike, will love, but I am certain that 2016 Hill of Grace is, exclusively, an aficionado’s wine. You can taste the site so clearly here and it seems that every vine is singing its 160-year-old song in perfect harmony and this is incredibly mesmerising. There is no doubt that this will be a long-lived vintage for Hill of Grace and it continues a magnificent run of releases from this blessed corner of the wine world.
19.5+ points Matthew Jukes

Gorgeous floral lift and vibrant plum and fresh, pureed blackberry and mulberry aromas. The palate is full of rich, ripe, sculpted and slippery-smooth fruit, so young and lithe it runs away from you, trailing deep notes of spice, black olive, dried herbs and ironstone minerals in its wake. On day two, it is buoyant and muscular: the fruit starts to build, bearing waves of ground black pepper, anise, liquorice, baking spices, tamarind, cardamom and cigar smoke. Fine but distinct layers of lacy tannins and gently creamy oak support an ultra-long and harmonious finish. Powerful but perfectly proportioned; the consummate Shiraz.
99 points Sarah Ahmed, Decanter
 

2016 is the 55th release of ‘Hill of Grace’, first produced in 1958 from vines already almost 100 years old.

The revered Shiraz vines sit beside the beautiful Gnadenberg Lutheran Church (‘Gnadenberg’ means ‘Hill of Grace’ in German). The site’s original Ancestors (vines over 125 years old) are now approximately 160 years old and remain the heart of ‘Hill of Grace’, credited by Stephen for giving the wine its exotic spice component. A small section of ungrafted Centenarians (vines over 100 years old) and Old Vines (over 35 years old) complete one of Australia’s most-celebrated wines.

With just four hectares of Shiraz planted on this ancient, low-yielding vineyard, every vintage is a limited release. There was no ‘Hill of Grace’ made in 1960, 1974 and 2000. Just one barrel was produced in 2003; no vintage in 2011 and extremely tiny vintages for 2013, 2014, 2019 and 2020.

In this one-minute video, Stephen and Prue Henschke, winemaker and viticulturist, introduce the 2016 vintage of their ‘Hill of Grace’ single-vineyard Eden Valley Shiraz.
 

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