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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 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 a slow ripening period, 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 though March, warming to an Indian summer in April, allowing for a long window of picking and amazing maturities with the red varieties. Standout varieties are 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.