13 Henschke Wines Tasted at Spring 2016 Release Banquet

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Invitation of the year? I’d say so. 

Henschke launched their 2016 Aromatic Whites, and the Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 with a trade and media roadshow around the country. 5 cities in 5 nights. All the feast-ivities culminated in Adelaide at Concubine, a Chinese restaurant on Gouger “Eat” St.

 

Where it's at. Photo: Willunga Wino

Where it’s at. Photo: Willunga Wino


 

Not ones to shy away from innovation, the Henshcke’s have been at the forefront of bio-dynamic & organic systems of managing their vineyards, and even experiment with different closures for their bottles.

First of the 13 wines tried on the night was the Johanne Ida Selma Blanc de Noir MD Lenswood.

MD? 

That’s mature disgorged.

Yes, this is not your standard NV bubbly. Carefully blended from 16 different previous vintages of pinot noir, this is one unique drop. 

 

NV Henschke Johanne Ida Selma Blanc de Noir. Photo : Willunga Wino

NV Henschke Johanne Ida Selma Blanc de Noir. Photo : Willunga Wino

 

Johanne Ida Selma Blanc de Noir MD Lenswood ($66)

Well Looky Here

Persistent fine bead. Palest straw.

Topped with a crown seal.

Sniff Sniff

Crunchy unripe pear.

Sip Sip

Soft and generous with Granny Smith apple, citrus and brioche complexity.

Nom Nom

Gorgeous on it’s own due to it’s complexity, you could match with the crunch and matching toastiness of any Tuckers Natural crackers – even the dessert crackers.

RRP $66

 

In the Glass NV Henschke Johanne Ida Selma Blanc de Noir. Photo : Willunga Wino

In the Glass NV Henschke Johanne Ida Selma Blanc de Noir. Photo : Willunga Wino

 

Canapes were offered like steamed dim sims.

 

Concubine Restaurant's Dim Sum. Photo: Willunga Wino

Concubine Restaurant’s Dim Sum. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Little five spice sliders too. 

 

Concubine Restaurant Five Spice Sliders. Photo: Willunga Wino

Concubine Restaurant Five Spice Sliders. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Formal proceedings commenced with a bracket of the three new aromatic 2016 whites. 

Henschke Julius Riesling 2016 ($46)

Well Looky Here

Pale golden.

Sniff Sniff

Spice, kaffir lime, lemongrass, sherbet.

Sip Sip

Bright, crunchy, fresh with juicy acidity and surprising spice.

Nom Nom

Crisp, fresh Riesling is fantastic with “green” flavors. What’s a green flavour? Anything from a green coloured fruit or veg! Try a dish with a green chilli, fish tacos for example. Here the Riesling had the affect of highlighting the onion flavours in a shallot pancake. Crunchy acidity also pairs well with like flavours – perhaps a creamy laksa with a big squeeze of fresh lime.  

RRP $46

 

Henschke Green’s Hill Riesling 2016 ($36)

Well Looky Here

Palest straw.

Sniff Sniff

More floral, open and giving than the Julius.

Musk, epsom bath salts with rose petals.

Sip Sip

More generous mouth-feel followed by tongue tingling acidity.

Lasting floral flavours.

Nom Nom

Floral aromas and flavours create a beautiful contrast with savoury, smoky, salty Chinese black bean dishes. If you eat meat, ham, poultry, and pork with their salty umami flavours also work well. You could also try with a Japanese tonkatsu ramen! Here the sherbetty acid of the Riesling was accentuated by the shallot pancake.

RRP ($36)

 

 

Henschke Joseph Hill Gewurtztraminer 2016 ($38)

Well Looky Here

Pale with barest hints of green.

Sniff Sniff

Surprise! Not the overt Turkish Delight you may expect. 

Tropical ginger, spice, and far more subtle hints of rose petals.

Sip Sip

More a dry Riesling style than a blousy typical gewurtz. There is a fair whack of spice, while it is nicely mouth coating.

Nom Nom

Just made for spicy food, without being overtly off dry. A sophisticated match for anything with chilli heat. Even provides a brilliant match for salty soy based dishes, with enough spice to tickle the tongue from the Gewurtz itself.

RRP ($38)

 

The first bracket was served with entrees. My vegetarian option was fluffy, rich and crisp shallot pancake. It’s dominant flavour was of sweet onion and it was served with a salty soy dipping sauce.

 

Shallot Pancake with Soy. Photo: Willunga Wino

Shallot Pancake with Soy. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Wine bracket 2: the first of the reds were served with the first round of main dishes.

 

Henschke Henry’s Seven Shiraz Grenache Mataro 2015 ($41)

Well Looky Here

Clear, bright ruby red with darker purple heart.

Sniff Sniff

Rich, spicy blackcurrant.

Sip Sip

Balanced red and black fruit, with a lovely acid balance.

A touch of tobacco savouriness.

Nom Nom

This SGM brings out the savouriness of a black bean noodle dish – a great food match.

RRP $41

 

Henschke Johann’s Garden GMS 2015 ($62)

Well Looky Here

Bright ruby.

Sealed with a glass stopper in a unique twist.

Sniff Sniff

Elegant bright red fruits – not at all jammy.

Sip Sip

Mataro fills out the bright, fresh, spicy Grenache with meaty tanins.

Nom Nom

Paired with a salty savoury dish like black bean noodles, the bright spiciness of the Grenache is beautifully accentuated.

RRP $62

 

Henschke Tappa Pass Shiraz 2014 ($115)

Well Looky Here

Dark red with ruby rim.

Sniff Sniff

Prepare to be blown away. 

There is no hint of a typical shiraz here.

These 70 year old vines produce Eden Valley style wines in the Barossa.

Forget the jammy red and black fruit.

This is blue fruit and pepper territory. 

Sip Sip

Spice, black and blue fruit flavours.

A dark gamey undercurrent makes it very complex and completely moreish. 

Nom Nom

This is a thinking person’s wine, and perfect to sip and savour on it’s own. 

Beautiful blue fruit and black pepper are accentuated though with a salty black bean noodle dish, and complement the gamey undercurrent of flavour in the wine, as well as accentuating the red and black fruit.

RRP $115

 

Henschke Kenyeton Euphonium 2013 ($66)

The Euphonium creates a symphony from 

  • Shiraz
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Merlot, and,
  • Cabernet Franc.

Well Looky Here

Deep purple.

Sniff Sniff

Sage and minty-wintergreen characterise the shiraz.

Violets and cassis the hallmarks of the cabernet.

Sip Sip

Cab Shiraz is the quintessential Australian blend. Here it is big, but it is also soft, with the finest of gentle tannin as the backbone.

Nom Nom

Such a versatile blend, it’s softness in tannin and acid mean big flavours and spice are the Euphonium’s friends. A cloth bound cheddar is also a brilliant match, with the fruit and pepper in the wine accentuated.

RRP $66

 

With the second main course, for me a classic bean curd and veg in Chinese sauce, came the wine bracket number 3. 

 

Eco-friendly bamboo chopsticks gift. Photo: Willunga Wino

Eco-friendly bamboo chopsticks gift. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Henschke Cyril Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 ($145)

Well Looky Here

Deep crimson purple.

Sniff Sniff

Cassis, black olive, leather, tobacco: quintessential “claret”.

Sip Sip

Ripe red, black and blue fruit flavours.

A long elegant finish with gentle tannins.

Nom Nom

With the savoury sauce, the rich fruits and spice are accentuated beautifully. 

RRP $145

 

 

Henschke Cyril Cabernet Sauvignon 1991 ($355)

Well Looky Here

Rusty crimson.

Sniff Sniff

Still a lot of fruit! Violets, port, raisins.

Touch of straw and dried mint.

Sip Sip

Vibrant fruit has largely given way to darker spicy raisin and dried herb flavours. There is still some blackcurrant fruit holding on to freshen things up. Acidity is slightly pronounced.

Nom Nom

Aging beauties like this old Cabernet would pair well with . unadorned quality steak, nothing too rich or bold. Aged cheese or a washed rind would work well also. Steer clear of delicate dishes, fish, fruit, oysters, spicy dishes, seafood and shellfish.

RRP $355

 

It takes a lot of glassware for a wine dinner. Photo: Willunga Wino

It takes a lot of glassware for a wine dinner. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Henschke Cyril Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 ($300)

Well Looky Here

Deep crimson, rusty rim.

Sniff Sniff

Sweeter raisins, more herbs, and a touch of forest floor.

Sip Sip

Lively black plums and blackcurrant fruit with nuttiness and dark tinderbox flavours that go on forever.

Nom Nom

Try this mature cab with grilled or roasted veggies, barbecue or chimichurri sauce. Mushrooms with umami rich flavourings of soy sauce, nutritional yeast, dried seaweed, miso, smoked paprika, or ume plum vinegar would also work well.

RRP $300

 

 

Henschke Cyril Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 ($270)

My favourite of the Cyril’s.

Well Looky Here

Dark inky purple.

Sniff Sniff

Complex and elegant. 

Blackcurrants and violets with an underlined with spicy capsicum and tomato leaf, with dark chocolate as well.

Sip Sip

Rich with surprisingly soft tannin. 

Classic rich Cab Sauv flavours of cassis, capsicum and dried herbs.

Nom Nom

Vegetarian meals with plenty of umami flavours. A rich, savoury stew.

RRP $270

 

This brought the evening to it’s fitting conclusion. Something sweet.

 

Black Sticky Rice with Fruit & Coconut Ice Cream. Photo: Willunga Wino

Black Sticky Rice with Fruit & Coconut Ice Cream. Photo: Willunga Wino

 

Henschke Noble Semillon 2013 ($42)

Well Looky Here

Deep golden yellow.

Sniff Sniff

Honeysuckle, dried apricots, banana flower and a hint of crisp pear.

Sip Sip

Aromas follow through nicely into the palate.

Nice acidity cuts through the sweetness. 

Nom Nom

A creme brulee with lovely burnt toffee on the top. Perhaps with lovely apricot nectar flavours.

RRP $42

 


Thank you kindly to the Henschke Family for the invitation to the event. 

It was wonderful to meet you all!


 

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