Henschke new releases + more assorted goodies
|94 Henschke Hill of Grace.
Check that sediment!
Sadly I missed the big Henschke 50th Hill of Grace vintage masterclass today – so I can’t give you a big rundown and the inside goss about the latest Henschke releases. I did, however, manage to have a quick sniff of the wines, along with a brace of other goodies from the Fine Wine Partners portfolio. It was a rather enjoyable, albeit brief, tasting…
Henschke Hill of Grace 1994 (Eden Valley, SA)
When your time is short, you go straight to the head of the head class. Or at least I did..
What’s interesting about this is how much sediment it dropped and just how brick red it was. Certainly rather advanced in the scheme of things, and only ‘just legal’ (as wine woman Danielle Kennedy succinctly put it). That didn’t stop it looking particularly tasty though.
Ochre/brick red in colour, this has some of that HoG five-spice signature aromatics on it (which I love) set against some very dense dark chocolate, wet bricks and cocoa
butter richness. I’m guessing this would have had quite a deal of toasty oak in it’s youth, though it hasn’t worked against this wine now. Rich, yet still not heavy mature palate carries that delicious dark chocolate richness along with coffee, leather and
richness and a lovely vibrancy of this dark choc fruit. Dense and
concentrated, choc-fudge sort of palate but quite light and fresh to finish. Lovely Shiraz in that generous, yet savoury mould. Win. Drink: Now – 2016+. 18.5/94
Henschke Hill of Grace 2007 (Eden Valley, SA)
A drought year wine and given all French oak because of it (the Henschke’s usually prefer a combination of French and American for HoG).
It certainly looks attractive, with a purple jubey character on
the nose that many of the 07 Eden Valley Shiraz share. Less five-spice though and certainly more vanilla oak (particularly in the context of the sublime 2006). Black jubes coated in vanilla. Some nice violet highlights though. That dark jubey character extends through the palate, all looking very polished and modern. It’s a slightly sweet/sour palate though, with a skinny, skittish sort of character to it that doesn’t convince quite as much. Lovely vibrancy through the finish though which brings it all together. Still a fine Shiraz, though not quite as convincing as the 06 before it. Should improve in the bottle. Drink: 2013-2018+ 17.7/92+
Henschke Croft Chardonnay 2010 (Adelaide Hills, SA)
It’s always been a richer style the Croft, which makes it all the more interesting to see it cut lighter and more acid driven this vintage. I dare say it may garner more love, though I’m not quite in love with it. Indeed it’s a crisp and refreshing, old-oak-and-early-picked-fruit style although with an unusual, lemonade, baby-sick lees and lemon lifesavers sweetness on edges. A lean wine but also a sweet-yet-acidic one with that quite candied edge too. Embryonic, if slightly odd, modern Chardonnay. Polariser. Drink 2013-2015 17/90
Henschke Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 (Eden Valley, SA)
I think this, of all the 2007 releases, shows the drought derived dessication of the vintage the most, with a strained, dried currant and cassis sort of nose to it in particular that I’m no fan of, although it’s not actually a cooked sort of wine (and the sweet oak certainly helps things). Intriguingly, the palate looks fresher than the nose too, with more briary dark chocolate and dark berry fruit to lift it up. It finishes with some dark bitter tannins and a slight hardness, though still with some length. A slightly lesser Cyril for mine, though still clearly a wine of some class. Drink: 2014-2020+ 17.2/90
Henschke Mt Edelstone Shiraz 2008 (Eden Valley, SA)
I don’t expect many to agree with me perhaps, but I find this to be a more enjoyable wine than the 2007 Hill of Grace. What’s more I’ve tried this wine twice now and enjoyed it both times (so it’s consistent too). Again it’s probably a slightly more forward Mt Ed, but I’d still recommend for Henschke lover.
It’s quite classic on the nose actually given the vintage, with that all important spice (which I don’t see in the 07 HoG. It’s still all dark berries again, more pepper and plum juice, again with the choc-red fruit flesh. Really quite vibrant and long, this is perhaps a little bitter on the finish though that’s probably the only detraction. Smart Mt Ed – if not super classic – that I rather like. Drink: Now – 2020+ 18/92
Henschke Johann’s Garden GMS 2009 (Barossa Valley, SA)
Nice to see a little Grenache led love here. Warm, Grenachey and red fruity, this has a nice candied red fruit lift on the
nose coupled with redcurrants rolled in earth. Showcases the joy of 09 Grenache actually, all brightness and light. My main quibble is the warm and broadish mid palate though I still enjoyed this plenty. Drink: Now – 2018 17.5/91
|Henshke Mt Edelstone 2008
Henschke Julius Riesling 1996 (Eden Valley, SA)
In screwcap which was very odd for the period. A museum bottling perhaps? Anyway, this was just a little too heavy on the terpenes for mine, the petrol dominating the citrus fruit a little too much. I coudn’t quite get past it, though the structure looked smart and the wine looked rather fresh. A stylistic no for me on this wine, though with a score that reflects that this is a personal preference. Drink: Now 16/87
Stonier Lyncroft Chardonnay 2009 (Mornington Peninsula, Vic)
From what I can gather this sits at the ‘Reserve’ level of quality in the Stonier portfolio and is drawn from a single vineyard. Circa $45 retail. Like the Reserve it’s a heavily worked style in the ripe and rich, Paringa-esque mode of big and buxom Mornington Chardonnay (which I have an occasional soft spot for).
Lovely, raw cashew and Sao oak/lees nose nose on this set to a background of super generous, almost tropical peach and mango fruit. It’s almost too ripe and large such is its proportions. That peaches ‘n’ cream character continues through to the palate too which is opulent and very fleshy indeed. There’s a slight filip of sweetness on the finish but otherwise it ends quite cleanly, if with a seriously big bum. Very much in its
mode, but lovely juice too. Drink: Now – 2016 17.7/92
Petaluma Riesling 1999 (Clare Valley, SA)
Placed next to the aforementioned Julius and could have almost been from a different (non Riesling) planet, such was the tropical fruit party. That’s announced with pineapple, lime and shortbread biscuits set in a full and openly round frame. Very juicy indeed. Slightly tart palate isn’t super long but still satisfies. Hardly a classical wine – almost like a fruit punch in a way – but kind of appealing too. Drink: Now 17.5/91
Drouhin 1er Clos des Mouches 2009 (Beaune, France)
Do you know what the most interesting thing about this wine is? Just how much it shares – in style, flavour and form, with the 09 Dog Point Pinot I had last night. High praise for the Dog Point perhaps but also indicative of how the warm vintage has styled wines like this.
Delicious, essence of Pinot lovely dark redcurrant/cherry nose in a warm, generous style. Redcurrant juice on the palate too, though savoury not sweet. A rounded wine with a big entry and big juiciness before a twist of twiggy tannins to finish. Not sure how much whole bunch used here but suspect not a hug amount. Lovely generous Pinot hug, if just a little warm. Already open and approachable and calling for duck. Drink: Now- 2020 18.3/93
Taltarni Cabernet Sauvignon 1988 (Pyrenees, Vic)
I banged on at length last year about these old Taltarni Cabernets and this may be an even better wine than the 87 I enjoyed so much. Simply put if you like old Australian Cabernets, nay, just Cabernet in general, you need to get onto this. Available from the winery if you ask very very nicely apparently (a little bit in retail too. Sells for circa $95 per bottle).
|Taltarni Cabernet Sauvignon 1988
Stunning varietal Cabernet. Bordeaux inspired but with the mint and richness of the Pyrenees. Cigar box, tea leaves, black fruit and Cabernet classic aromas on the unmistakeable nose. Very dry, medium weight palate of structure first then leafy – yet not skinny – black Cabernet fruit. A rather drying finish but oh so much pleasure of the Cabernet kind. Delicious. I may even be underrating it. Drink: Now – 2022+ 18.5/94
Innocent Bystander Mea Culpa Syrah 2010 (Yarra Valley, Vic)
A promising new addition to the Innocent Bystander range, though interestingly priced and positioned at Giant Steps level (or more) at $59ish.
100% whole bunch, small batch and gravity filtered. What I’m intrigued about is that it’s so polished and silken. Yes it carries the undergrowthy, heavily (black) peppered sort of ham and vegemite whole bunch influence but it’s also surprisingly slippery and even just a fraction too juicy and bright, finishing super clean and ‘I can’t believe it’s not filtered’ bright. Actually, it’s a very model of a modern Yarra Shiraz (I’m calling it Shiraz as I can’t see this as Syrah).
Whilst I think less polish and more feralness would impress me more, it’s still early days with this wine. An encouraging red to say the least. Drink: 2013-2018 17.5/91+