This is the final installment of our three-post series about the exceptional Henschke, a 157-year-old family-owned winery in Australia’s Barossa. We visited last month, and had an experience that will always be remembered.
Indeed, while we enjoy many wines from Australia, Henschke is now our favorite winery in the country.
Our first post, Part 1, features Henschke’s storied history. Part 2 focuses on the best of the outstanding wines we tasted. This post highlights more of their wines that we enjoyed at their Cellar Door, and on an Australian cruise.
Henschke 2015 Tappa Pass
Firstly, we tasted 2015 Tappa Pass at a Maitre D’Hotel wine event on our Australian cruise right before we visited Henschke’s Cellar Door. Tappa Pass is a serious wine that is both lush and powerful. The nose opens with beautiful fruits and spices, leading into flavors of sweet spiced plum and blackberry. We loved this wine so much, we brought a bottle of the 2016 vintage home with us.
Henschke 2015 The Wheelwright
This inaugural release of The Wheelwright is 100% Shiraz from the Henschke Eden Valley vineyard. Of note, the wine commemorates 150 years of Henschke family winemaking. In addition, it “pays tribute to the founding father, Johann Christian Henschke, first-generation winemaker and a skilled stonemason and wheelwright.” Crafted from 50-year-old vines, The Wheelwright offers aromas and flavors of peppers and spices along with blueberries and plums.
Henschke 2013 Cyril Henschke
2013 Cyril Henschke is named after Stephens’ father, Cyril (1924-1979). As a result, this is a tribute to one of Australia’s outstanding winemaking pioneers. Sourced from the Henschke Eden Valley vineyard, Cyril blends Cabernet Sauvignon (88%), Cabernet Franc (7%) and Merlot (5%). Certainly, Cyril is robust but not jammy, featuring black currant, spice, vanilla and cassis flavors with herbaceous and savory notes.
Henschke 2014 Keyneton Euphonium
In 1888, the Henschke family band launched at the winery in Keyneton, and featured the B-flat euphonium, a large brass wind instrument. In its honor, this unique Australian blend combines Shiraz (57%), Cabernet Sauvignon (36%), Merlot (12%) and Cabernet Franc (5%) grown in the Barossa. As a result, the Barossa Valley grapes (47%) provide darker fruit and richness, while the Eden Valley grapes (53%) bring savory notes and aromatics.
Henschke 2016 Giles
2016 Giles is 100% Pinot Noir grown in the Adelaide Hills, on the cool, steep slopes of the Henshcke Lenswood vineyard. The wine pays tribute to Charles Giles, an early pioneer whose descendants had managed the Lenswood property as an apple orchard since 1864. We loved the nose on this Pinot – one of the best we have ever experienced – with black cherry and raspberry, followed by more dark cherry and spicy flavors.
Henschke 2015 Louis Semillon
Semillon is a traditional white wine of Barossa, and the 2015 Louis Semillon does it proud. This refreshing white acknowledges Louis Edmund Henschke (1919-1990), who added a small parcel of Semillon vines to the mainly old-vine Shiraz vineyard in 1952. We appreciated the lemon grass aromatics and flavors, along with green apple, white nectarine and minerality. Our wonderful host and brand ambassador, Emalee Guerra, described it as “honey on buttered toast.”
Henschke 2018 Joseph Hill and 2017 Julius
2018 Joseph Hill is 100% Gewurztraminer, and named after Joseph Hill Thyer, who planted the first vines in the Henschke Eden Valley vineyard in the early 1900s. We immediately noticed its “clean” nose, rich flavors, and just a wee bit of sweetness on the acidic finish. Pair it with spicy foods.
2017 Julius is 100% Riesling, and an accolade to Stephen’s great-uncle Julius Henschke, an acclaimed sculptor and artist. We love white wines with aromas and flavors of citrus, so this beauty wowed us with lemons, limes and grapefruit zest, and an underlying minerality. Winemaker Stephen Henschke describes it as “lime marmalade on buttered toast.”
Obviously, we recommend Henschke wines for any and every special occasion. And the whites, with a lower price point, are excellent to enjoy any time. If you are ever anywhere near Australia’s Barossa, we encourage you to set up an advance appointment to visit. You can stop by the historic stone Cellar Door or you can sign up for a VIP Tour and Tasting experience.
Our special thanks to Emalee, Justine Henschke and the entire family at Henschke Cellars. Our visit there will always be a cherished, special memory. And Henschke’s stunning wines will always grace our cellar.
Margot and Dave