Tasting Australia


Tyrrell`s 2009 VAT 1
Fresh, racy lemon and citrus aromatics. Decent herbal spiciness and freshly cut grass join in. Thanks to the vintage, the wine is softer than usual, but still vibrant, fresh and structured for long term cellaring. A great Hunter Valley classic! Keep.

Clarendon Hills 1997 Norton Summit
Far developed, past its prime with oxidative aromatics, orange zest, dried herbs and oaky sweetness. Rather thin, yet alive and harmonious on the palate. Drink up.

Kalleske 2013 Fordson
Yes, this is a Zinfandel from Barossa Valley and it´s a beautiful one! Quite a powerhouse with great concentration of fruit and freshness. Dark aromatics of berry fruit, spices, fruit jam, minerals and earth. Inky and rich on the palate, but of cool depth and freshness. Distinct Kalleske. From a vineyard planted in 2007 this is a promising early-drinking wine.

Torbreck 1998 The Steading
Intriguing aromatics of black cherry, plums, cigar box, road tar, oriental spices and violets. Beautifully integrated tannins and delicate acidity in a smooth, but fresh and super-elegant wine. Great stuff, which is probably still at its peak. Drink soon.


Balnaves 2008 The Tally
From an excellent Coonawarra vintage comes this dense and rather robust Cabernet Sauvignon with a splash of Petit Verdot (4%). Cassis, plum, green pepper, tobacco, earth and oak describe the nose, while the palate is youthful and dark with black fruits and spices. Still looking for balance while compact tannins keep the wine tight. This is nice, but not there yet. Keep 5+ years.

Leeuwin Estate 2007 Art Series
This was the only wine from the gravelly loam soils of Western Australia´s Margaret River region. Compared to Balnaves` Tally, this wine showed rather elegant and light-weight with beautiful aromatics of cassis, stewed fruit, peppery spiciness and present oak. Rather bumpy on the palate with present acidity, while lacking density and length. Still 13% Malbec provide a dark core. Maybe caught in a bad time…

Henschke 1995 Cyril Henschke
One of two wines of the night that could have been taken for Old World if tasted blind. Even though the wine is little past its prime now, the 1995 Cyril shows very elegant, harmonious and complex. Fascinating aromas of cassis, earth, leather, little barnyard, forest floor, smoke and pepper- anise spiciness arrive vital and perfectly integrated on the palate. The tannins have softened and only little acidity shows and provides drive. Good length with dark layers and peppery spiciness. Excellent! Drink soon.

Wynns 1994 John Riddoch
Dark aromatics of blackberries and some fruit in rum, leather, tobacco, earth and violets. Sweet vanilla and present oak. Dense and dark on the palate with flavors of blackberries, cedar, dried herbs, anise and black olive. Youthful with firm tannins, while not lacking juicyness. Very good length with more black fruits and peppery spiciness. It seems that the wine is just opening up. Keep 5+ years.

Briar Ridge 2010 Dairy Hill
From Terra Rossa clays and sandy clay soils comes this Hunter Valley Shiraz. Aromas of blackberry, plums, spices, olives, road tar and fresh herbs. Arrives with cool elegance and smoothness on the palate. Finishes medium-long. Well made, but lacking fascination, yet delicious and very drinkable.

Rockford 2009 Basket Press
Ripe and sweet aromas of red and black berries, plums, cooked fruit, little herbal spiciness and present oak. Ripe, juicy and of present alcohol on the palate. Fairly broad, while lacking structure and focus. A rather disappointing classic.

Henschke 2008 Mount Edelstone
Rich, fruit-driven and spicy wine from a legendary vineyard planted in 1912 by Ronald Angas. 16ha of deep sandy loam over gravelly medium-red clay, overlying laminated siltstone create a special wine, which is always more expressive than its famous big brother Hill of Grace. The 2008 is still in its early fruity stage, but still delicious and fascinating to drink with aromatics of blackberries, plums, oriental spices, dried and fresh herbs, sage and some road tar. It´s perfectly structured dense, deep and concentrated, while fresh and long. Velvety tannins and fine acidity guarantee a long future. Fantastic!


Penfolds 2004 Grange
From a great vintage comes this elegant, fresh and complex Grange full of finesse with fascinating aromas of red and black berries, spices, delicate sweetness, some chocolate and minerality(!). Multi-layered, fine, but solid structured and of perfect balance on the palate with dark fruit, herbal freshness, little oak and mocha. Finishes very long. A beauty in its youth.

D` Arenberg 2001 Dead Arm
The Dead Arm brought us back to reality after two exceptional wines. Nevertheless, a very good wine, but by far not as special as Mount Edelstone or Grange. Still youthful, it´s opening with aromas of ripe, dark berries, lilac, chocolate and a mix of spices. Balanced and delicious, but lacking excitement and fascination. Yet, a beautiful, distinct McLaren Vale Shiraz. Drink now or keep.

Wendouree 2000 Shiraz Mataro
Does the best always come at the end? In our case, absolutely yes! From the tiny 11,3ha of AP Birks Wendouree Cellars came the winner of the night. Starting off quite funky and taking its time to open up, the wine presented itself different than I remembered it from out last encounter. Back in June 2012 the wine was wide open, rich, deep and dark. But this time it was even better: Fresh, red fruits, a lot of cherries, ethereal freshness of herbs and pinewood, eucalypt, some licorice and wet earth. Pure perfection on the palate with density, freshness and elegance. Mostly driven by dark fruit, fresh herbs and spices, the wine is still youthful and structured for a long future. Finishes long and focused with dark berries, some spiciness as well as sweetness. An exceptional wine at an early stage of its life with finesse, depth and complexity!



Tasting Note: Henschke 2010 Mount Edelstone


1. Introduction:
Mount Edelstone comes from 100% old vine Shiraz in Henschke´s iconic vineyard in the Eden Valley.
First bottled as a single-vineyard wine in 1952, it is one of Australia´s most famous Shiraz bottlings today.
2010 was a variable year weatherwise, with several heat spikes and cool periods;
it was the wettest year since 2005. Luckily, the ripening season was steady dry and mild and led to an exceptional vintage with ideal concentrated fruit with decent acidity.
Our 2010 Mount Edelstone is in perfect condition with flawless bottle and Vino-Lok.
14,5% alc.

2. Appearance:
Deep dark crimson.
Clear, vital & bright.

3. Nose:
Concentrated aromas of Red and Dark Fruit, with mostly Red Currant, Blackberry, Cherry and some Plum. Peppery and Exotic Spices. Perfumy.
Smoky notes (in the beginning), Dark Chocolate, little Earth and Tobacco.
“Green” traces with intriguing cool- and freshness.
Present oak with fine Vanilla and some Eucalypt.
Surprisingly cool and elegant, while rich and inviting!

4. Taste:
Focused Dark Red and Black Fruit (Berries, Plum and Black Cherry).
Great play of Herbs and Spices (decent Licorice!).
Structured for eternity with vital acidity and smooth, but firm and precise, tannins.
Finishes very long and layered with rich Dark Fruit, drive and Herbal as well as Peppery Spiciness.
Fresh mouthfeel, amazing complexity and harmony.

5. Opinion:
A great wine made for the long road!
To me, mostly due to its vital acidity and coolness, the freshest Mount Edelstone for years. Medium-bodied, complex and concentrated, but with fine elegance and harmony.

Stephen Henschke´s cork substitute: The Vino-Lok

Tasting Note: Henschke 2006 Keyneton Estate Euphonium


1. Introduction:
The wine is named after the B flat euphonium, a large brass wind instrument, which was made by the famous Zimmermann factory in Leipzig, Germany, in the late 19th century. It was played i.a. by the Henschke Brass Band in historical Keyneton back then and, today, is still in the Henschke family.
Blended from Shiraz (56%), Cabernet Sauvignon (27%), Cabernet Franc (9%) and Merlot (8%), Henschke´s 2006 Keyneton Estate Euphonium comes from a more or less suboptimal vintage with lower yields due to frost and heat waves later on.
Let´s have a look how the wine is performing now!
Bottle and Stelvin screwcap are flawless.

2. Appearance:
Very deep dark crimson! Vital and dense.

3. Nose:
Intense aromas of Dark Fruits as Plums, Cherries and Cassis. Fruit in Rum.
Complex layers of Herbs and Spices. Hints of Lilac and Perfume.
Eucalypt and Cedar.
Powerful, fruit-forward and intense!

4. Taste:
More rich, concentrated Fruit; mostly Dark Berries and Plums.
Traces of Mushrooms and Earth.
Finishes long, warm and smooth with vital Acidity, round Tannins, nice Fruit and a lot of Pepper.
Beautiful texture, complexity and richness!

5. Opinion:
A full-bodied, powerful and, yet, elegant structured and balanced wine!
Maybe a little bit too much pepper and alcohol on the finish.
Still fantastic with great future potential!

@Henschke May, 2012

Tasting Note: Henschke 2009 Mount Edelstone


1. Introduction:
Here is the second tasting note in this blog dedicated to Henschke´s fabulous
Mount Edelstone single vineyard Shiraz. See the 1992 Tasting Note here:
As mentioned in another earlier note, this wine is, next to a few others- also including Henschke´s iconic Hill of Grace-, among the world´s most famous and probably best bottlings from the Shiraz grape.
The 2009 vintage is the current release and closed with Henschke´s preferred
glass closure, the Vino-Lok.

2. Appearance:
Dark red, velvet. Intense and deep!

3. Nose:
Complex and rich aromas of Blue and Black Berries and Plums.
Mulitlayered with Leather, Cedar and Moss. Exotic Flowers and Perfume.
Eucalypt as well as Spices, mostly Pepper. Herbs as Laurel and Sage.
Inviting, profound and complex!

4. Taste:
Dark Berries and Plum. Some Cherry and Peppery Spiciness.
A mixture of Minerality and Herbs.
Finishes long and smooth with decent Acidity, beautiful, round Tannins, nice Fruit and Pepper.
Beautiful texture!

5. Opinion:
A wonderful wine!
Complex, round, concentrated and beautifully balanced.
Rich aromas, dense flavors come with great finesse and elegance.
Impressing! Drink it now or cellar it carefully for many many years…

Tasting Note: Henschke 2010 Julius Riesling


1. Introduction:
Henschke produces a wide range of wines from vineyards in the Adelaide Hills and in Eden Valley.
With the “Hill of Grace” and the “Mount Edelstone” they are responsible for the very best among Australia´s single vineyard wines and even the best wines from the Shiraz grape worldwide.
Since I have recently tasted many amazing Rieslings from Austria and Germany,
I was especially interested in an effective and fresh reference from down under.
It has been a while now since the last time I drank Riesling from South Australia when visiting i.a. Rockford, Grosset and Henschke last year.
Our 2010 Julius Riesling is flawless.

2. Appearance:
Pale straw yellow with green reflections.

3. Nose:
Aromas of Stone- and Citrus Fruit. Lime Zest.
Floral characters as Rose and Viola. Freshly cut Herbs and traces of Sulfur.
Intense, but a little harsh.

4. Taste:
Lime and Citrus Fruits. Some Grapefruit. Present acidity!
Finishes medium-long with minerality, vital acidity and flavors of Lime Zest and Spiciness.
Very dry and edgy.

5. Opinion:
A solid Riesling with a very powerful acidity backbone.
This will last long, but- unfortunately- is lacking finesse and balance.

Tasting Note: Henschke 1992 Mount Edelstone


1. Introduction:
The dry-grown Shiraz vines for this iconic wine have just turned 100 years old and make this 16ha vineyard a real gemstone. It is located west of the Henschke Estate in Eden Valley in the Mount Lofty Ranges east of Barossa Valley.
So back in the days of 1992 the vines were already 80 years old and the year delivered an excellent fruit.
Our bottle is in great condition with a good-looking and healthy cork, which almost hadn´t soaked up any wine. After gentle pouring into the decanter the room was truly filled with inviting aromas. A very good start!
2. Appearance:
Velvet red with lighter, ocher edges. Still intense, vital colors and a dark red core.
3. Nose:
Amazingly complex aromas of Cedar and other Pinewood. Eucalyptus. Some Plums and Blackberry Jam with facets of Vanilla and Leather. Beautiful hints of Flowers and Autumn Forrest. Later more Tabacco. Great development!
4. Taste:
Many secondary characters as Leather, Cacao and Cedar, but still some beautiful fruit, with Dark Berries and Plums. Some Pepper. Perfectly integrated and balanced. Present Oak and Acidity (!).
Maybe lacking some midpalate density, but long, warm finish with Leather and Oak.
5. Opinion:
An exceptional wine with an exciting and very complex nose, which kept on evolving over the five hours of enjoyment without any signs of fading. Amazing!
In the beginning dominated by Cedar, the Eucalyptus aromas took over later on.
The 1992 Mount Edelstone drinks perfectly now! It is fully integrated and shows a perfect ratio of present secondary characters and fruit.
I´m really looking forward to the centenary release of the 2012 vintage of Mount Edelstone!
A very special wine.