Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon 30 vintages: 1978-2008
Fourth-generation Cyril Henschke had a fascination with cabernet and was keen to have one in his portfolio of estate wines. He planted the first vines in Eden Valley in the 1960s, but it wasn’t until 1978 when Stephen returned from his studies in Germany that they focused on producing a serious wine from the north facing, well-drained site which was considered to be ideal for this late-ripening variety. The wine was fermented on skins, in open fermenters, and transferred to new French oak hogsheads. They were jubilant when it was awarded the Pat Browne Trophy at the Adelaide Wine Show.
Since this first vintage, which was 100% cabernet sauvignon, the wine has evolved to include small blended parcels of merlot and cabernet franc from the single vineyard. There is 3.4ha of cabernet sauvignon, 0.6ha of merlot and 0.4ha of cabernet franc growing on well-drained sandy loam over gravel and bedrock, with patches of clay. Prue has a meticulous organic management regime on a Vertical Shoot Positioned trellis for excellent exposure to achieve optimal colour, flavour and tannin maturity.
On the release of the first vintage, the 1978, Stephen named it Cyril Henschke as a tribute to his late father. Cyril Henschke cabernet shows sweet, ripe and complex dark fruits, typically blackcurrants, filled out by cedar, violets, herbs and hints of anise, tar and cigar box characters. The wine is released almost four years after vintage, exhibiting a rich, elegant palate structure with soft, mature fine-grained tannins. The wine is aimed at being very approachable upon release with medium- to long-term ageing potential. Optimum cellaring post-vintage is 5-10 years (vintage dependent).
The Cyril Henschke label now proudly celebrates 30 vintages with the release of the 2008 vintage.
This wine carries the name of Stephen’s father, Cyril Henschke (1924-1979), as a tribute to one of Australia’s outstanding winemaking pioneers, renowned for old-vine single-vineyard and quality varietal table wines. Cyril planted cabernet sauvignon at Henschke’s Eden Valley vineyard in the 1960s.
The 2010 growing season was preceded by above average winter rainfall. Spring was mild with little frost damage and gave us an even budburst. The weather remained cold and wet through spring, which held back growth until a two-week high 30s heat wave in November affected flowering and fruit set. Spring rains continued into early summer right through until mid-December, making it the wettest year since 2005. The vines responded to the heat and grew vigorously until early January, developing lush canopies, but bunch development suffered as a result.
A roller-coaster ride of heat spikes and cool changes continued through a warm summer with occasional thunderstorms. The vines went through veraison a week earlier than 2009. Lower yields coupled with the mild ripening period resulted in concentrated fruit. Vintage began a week earlier than 2009 and was in full swing by mid-February. The white vintage was all but finished a month later while the red harvest continued with deeply coloured, well-balanced grapes being picked during mild, dry conditions until the end of April
84% cabernet sauvignon, 13% merlot and 3% cabernet franc grown on the Henschke Eden Valley vineyard.
Harvest Date: 8-15 April | Alcohol: 14% | pH: 3.5 | Acidity: 6.82g/L
Matured in 45% new and 55% seasoned French hogsheads for 18 months prior to blending