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The Barossa hills village of Keyneton, pioneered by pastoralist Joseph Keynes in 1842, was a musical and cultural focus for the early settlers, and was home to the Henschke Family Brass Band and the Henschke winery. The Henschke Family Band was founded in 1888 by Paul Gotthard Henschke and later led by third-generation Paul Alfred Henschke, and featured wonderful wind instruments such as a B flat euphonium, cornet and E flat clarinet. The B flat euphonium, a large brass wind instrument, was made by the famous Zimmermann factory in Leipzig, Germany, in the late 19th century. The instruments were imported by musical entrepreneur, Carl Engel of Adelaide in the late 1900s and have been lovingly restored and remain in the Henschke family.
The La Niña pattern weakened during the lead-up to the 2012 vintage, resulting in below average winter and spring rainfall. July was the driest since the serious drought of 2003. Spring was mild with few frost events; however, flowering and fruit set were affected by wet drizzly weather in mid to late November, leading to only average yields. Summer was also surprisingly mild with below average temperatures from southerlies off the ocean in January and only two short heat events, at New Year and at the end of February. This provided for slow ripening which allowed for intense fruit flavours, high colour figures, high acidity and mature tannins. Rainfall leading up to vintage was above average, with the heaviest rainfall events in late January and late February, which tied in well with the natural physiology of the dry-grown vines; ie, keeping leaves active at veraison and ripening. Temperatures were mild during harvest through March, warming to an Indian summer in April, allowing for a long window of picking and amazing maturities with the red varieties. Standout varieties were riesling, showing delightful aromatics, purity, intensity, excellent acidity and length of flavour; and shiraz, showing great purity and spice, colour, intensity and strikingly mature tannins. Yields were average with exceptional overall quality.
Deep crimson in colour. An intense nose of ripe mulberry, plum, blue and black berry fruits and anise gives way to underlying floral violet notes and hints of cassis, sage and pepper spice. The beautifully balanced palate shows layers of sweet, concentrated fruit and texture, with fine-grained tannins for a long and elegant finish.
Lower-than-average yields in Australia, as across much of Europe. This was blamed on high winds, drought and low fruitfulness resulting from the poor 2011 vintage. Quality, however, was much better than in the exceptionally damp 2011, with South Australia avoiding some of the weather extremes experienced by other states. Strong varietal typicality is a commonly cited feature of the 2012 crop.