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Mount Edelstone (from the German 'Edelstein' meaning gemstone) is a single dry grown Shiraz vineyard planted by Ronald Angas in 1918 and through the 1920s. Henschke made wines from Mount Edelstone as early as 1952, although Cyril Henschke did not purchase the vineyard until 1974. By this stage Mount Edelstone was already recognised as an important vineyard site. Located on the eastern slopes of Mount Edelstone this 40 acre vineyard comprises low yielding gnarled vines, many well into their eighties and planted on deep red sandy loams over laminated siltstones. This low input vineyard is being gradually re-trellised to the Scott Henry system, where shoots are trained upwards and downwards to maximise exposure of leaves and fruit to sunlight. The oldest vines are trained on a traditional two-wire trellis. The site is cooler and higher than the Barossa floor although the climate is essentially Mediterranean. Vintage takes place in mid to late April. The wine is fermented in open top slate 'headed down' fermenters. Fermentation is completed in a combination of new American and French oak.
Henschke Vineyard Technical Information:
Location: Eden Valley wine region, 4 km north-west of Keyneton in the Barossa Range of South Australia.
Varieties: Shiraz, on own roots, dry grown.
Wines Produced: Individual vineyard bottling since early 1950s.
Age: Planted in 1918.
Average Yield: 6 tonnes/hectare (2.5 tonnes/acre).
Soil: Deep sandy loam, over red clay loam, overlying laminated siltstone.
Trellis: Five trellis types - Twin Wire Vertical, Vertical Shoot Positioned, High Single Wire, Scott Henry System and Smart Dyson.
Planting: Wide planting – 3.7 m x 3.7 m giving 783 vines/hectare. Rows are planted east-west. Dry grown.
Treatments: The vines are mulched with wheat straw with a permanent sward of grass in the row, so herbiciding and working the soil are techniques no longer used.
Maintenance Quality: Mass selection carried out over three growing seasons. Establishment of a nursery source block. Assessment of trellis systems and use of rootstock.
Rainfall: Average annual, 600 mm.
Altitude: 400 metres
Latitude: 34 degrees 32'
Longitude: 139 degrees 06'
Size: 16 hectares (40 acres)
Awards: National wine show awards for every vintage since first shown in 1956
Year Vintage Quality Optimum Drinking
1984 Excellent 20+ years
1985 Very Good15+ years
1986 Exceptional 20+ years
1989 Great 15+ years
1990 Exceptional 20+ years
1991 Excellent 15+ years
1992 Excellent 20+ years
1993 Great 20+ years
1994 Exceptional 25+ years
1995 Excellent 20+ years
1996 Exceptional 25+ years
1997 Very Good15+ years
1998 Excellent 15+ years
1999 Excellent 20+ years
2000 Great 15+ years
2001 Excellent 20+ years
2002 Exceptional 25+ years
2003 Great 15+ years
2004 Great 20+ years
2005 Exceptional 20+ years
2006 Excellent 20+ years
2007 Great 15+ years
2008 Great 15+ years
2009 Exceptional 20+years
2010 Great 15+ years
The 2009 vintage was preceded by another cold, drought winter, with 399mm rainfall in Eden Valley for the year (a good year would see 500mm). It was the coldest August since 1951. Spring had a few heat spikes up into the mid to high 30s, some frost damage in low-lying areas, but very little rain during September and October. In fact, it was the driest September for 30 years and the driest October on record. Staggered flowering resulted from cool weather which reduced the fruit set. Some varieties were also pruned back hard to just a few spurs to allow them to survive with no water. Rain arrived in mid-December with around 65mm recorded, making it the wettest month of the whole year. The cool southerlies continued through into the new year, reminiscent of 2005. December didn’t record any days over 32C. January tended warm to hot with a couple of heat spikes into the high 30s and low 40s. Late January brought a record six days over 40C, not seen since 1908, causing vine stress, exacerbated by drought conditions and empty dams, followed by another week of hot weather culminating in a 46C day on Black Saturday on February 7. Fortunately subsequent weather was mild and dry, with perfect ripening weather from March 1 moving into autumn mode. A strong change brought a general rain across the state with 10-20mm in early March, which helped with ripening and flavour development. The Indian summer in late March brought ripening forward with all the whites finished and in the winery by early April.
Near-optimum rainfall over winter, followed by dry, mild conditions over spring provided a good environment for budburst and an ideal start to the growing season with canopies developing well. Climatic conditions favoured flowering and set with mild and calm weather, however there was some shatter in Shiraz across parts of the state resulting in small crops for many regions. Some early to mid-December summer rainfall was followed by conditions drying up very quickly and continuing until the end of February. Summer was hot with some extreme heat but cool conditions returned in February and March, allowing the fruit to ripen across a long harvest with balanced acidities and excellent tannin ripeness. An elegant, yet still powerful follow up to the conditions brought about in the preceding 2008 vintage