Henschke Mount Edelstone Eden Valley Shiraz 2015  £125.00

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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. Through a combination of great viticulture from Prue, who is at the forefront of re-introducing native plants into their vineyards to improve biodiversity, and winemaking from Stephen, they have built upon their inheritance and turned this traditional producer into one that is recognised by savvy wine drinkers throughout the world.

The 16 hectare Mount Edelstone vineyard, situated at 400 metres above sea level in the Eden Valley, was planted in 1912 by Ronald Angas, a descendant of George Fife Angas, who founded South Australia. Unusual for its time, it was planted solely to shiraz. The ancient 500 million-year-old soils on the vineyard are deep red-brown clay-loam to clay, resulting in low yields from over 100 year-old dry-grown, ungrafted centenarian vines. Organic and biodynamic practices in the vineyard are supported with undervine mulching and permanent cover crops. Three quarters of the vines are trained on a Scott Henry trellis to increase sun exposure and promote earlier ripening; the remainder are on original two-wire trellises to allow a drooping canopy and reduce shoot vigour.

A traditionally wet winter, mild spring and excellent fruit set provided a great start to the 2015 growing season after four vintages with below average yields. Spring was dry, followed by a very mild, dry summer with no disease pressure. Fruit developed higher natural acidity and incredible flavour and colour concentration. The coolest January in 11 years started with a dry, warm and windy first week, until a welcome rainfall of 60-75 millimetres. With the onset of veraison at the end of January, the rain was perfectly timed for the old dry-grown vineyards. The mild weather from February provided for perfect ripening and harvest conditions. Mount Edelstone was harvested between 10th and 19th March. The 2015 vintage produced stunning and elegant Shiraz, with extraordinary flavour, purity of fruit and acid balance.

Fermentation took place in traditional, concrete open-top fermenters. The wine was aged in a combination of 78% French and 22% American oak hogsheads, of which 22% were new, for 18 months before blending and bottling.

Very deep crimson in colour. Definitive Mount Edelstone shiraz aromas of sage and crushed black pepper lead to brightly spiced plum, blue and black cherry characters, enveloped by crushed flowering herbs with cedar nuances. Vibrant, wild forest berries are layered beautifully into a rich and elegantly textured palate with fine velvety tannins and lingering notes of black pepper and sage for an extremely long finish.

97 Poiints - Gold - James Halliday's Wine Companion

'This was the first wine sold in bottle ('52) by Henschke, although it has had to play second fiddle to Grange since '58 when the latter came on stream. New oak is only 22%, and the majority of the oak is French. The vintage was excellent, the flavours deep, with soft blackberry and plum fruits wending their way across the palate, cushioned by cedary oak and carefully polished tannins. It's utterly classic drinking, with unalloyed pleasure now but no less in another 20 years.'

James Halliday

98 Points - Gold - The Real Review

'Deepish red colour with just a trace of purple in its rim, the bouquet is pungent raspberry, squashed overripe raspberry, classic Mt Edelstone. The wine is succulently fruit-sweet: gorgeously extravagant fruit floods the palate. It's almost jammy, the fine but persistent tannins just pulling it together on the finish so the aftertaste and follow-through are clean and balanced and refreshing. Lush fruit flavour, astonishing texture, very old-viney, a very impressive Edelstone. A stand-out vintage for this wine. (50/50 screw-cap, for domestic market, and Vino-Lok, for export) '

Huon Hooke

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