Henschke is a small family run, independent winery that produces approximately 35k cases a year in total. Located in South Australia, on the edge of Barrosa Valley in a tiny town called Keyneton, which they've named one of their red blends after. Henschke is run by Stephen Henschke who is the fourth generation Henschke to continue to the family tradition. Stephen, along with his late father Cyril, have established the wines international reputation by producing high quality, well structured reds which include the Australian icon Hill of Grace, Mount Edelstone, Cyril Henschke and many more.
So needless to say this was at the top of our list to visit, and we were not disappointed. The winery is a bit remote but the location, building and ambiance made it one of our most memorable tasting experiences. We didn’t meet the winemaker but we met his dog, Cassie, who was distraught because her ‘Mum’ was away for the day. The tasting room is barely large enough for more than 6 or 7 people at a time, but its size is more than made up for in quaintness & character - making it a great companion to the Henschke wines.
We tasted the following wines:
- 2005 Littlehampton Innes Vineyard Pinot Gris – heavy fruit, lite tannins make this is a nice Pinot Gris
- 2004 Lenswood Giles Pinot Noir – Light apple color, strawberry soda cream flavor, nice texture
- 2004 Henry’s Seven (Shiraz-Grenache-Mourvedre-Viognier)
- 2003 Keyneton Estate Euphonium (Shiraz-Cabernet-Merlot) – is a blend of the heavy red varietals, a delicate mix that works well for Henschke, I was fortunate enough to taste this twice on my trip, the first one in a tasting in Sydney and the last in Henschke’s tasting room. It’s an outstanding wine.
- 2001 Lenswood Abbotts Prayer (Merlot) – Beautiful nose gives way to wonderful fruit, uncharacteristic of most merlot’s, a wonderful wine.
- 2003 MountEdelstone(Shiraz) – Beautiful nose that runs thru a well structured, soft tannins Shiraz. This is an outstanding wine that benefited from a warm year. Probably won’t cellar as long as some other vintages but a great wine nonetheless.
- 2002 Cyril Henschke (Cab-Cab Franc-Merlot) – This blend is a tribute to the winemaker’s father, Cyril. It’s a 75% Cab, 12.5% Cab Franc & Merlot blend that is outstanding. Think of it as a well balanced, silky smooth meritage in the traditional Californiastyle.
- 2001 Hill of Grace (Shiraz) – this is Henschke’s flagship wine, and at nearly $400 a bottle ($385) it was a tremendous treat to even be afforded an opportunity to taste for TheWino.net. Unfortunately the bottle had been opened the previous day and the wine showed a little wear & tear, tasting a bit tart but it still displayed a wonderful texture and tremendous balance. I can’t ever advocate paying $385 for a bottle of wine but even my immature palette can sense a very high quality, well tended to wine.
Stephen Henschke is making some outstanding wines, particularly strong, big but balanced reds. If you have the fortune to spend some time in South Australia, take the time to visit this quaint, beautiful location in the Barossa Valley. And surely if you have the chance to drink any Henschke wine, do so because you can’t help but be impressed and will undoubtedly enjoy the experience.