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JAMES HALLIDAY HALLIDAY WINE COMPANION 2019
August, 2 2018
“The 61st vintage, from 101yo ungrafted dry-grown vines, matured for 18 months in 81% French and 19% American hogsheads (34% new). The decision to hold back the release of this shiraz until after the '14 was correct - this is a densely packed wine destined for a long life as vertical tastings have proved again and again, intensity and focus achieved without apparent effort. Medium-bodied, but with compelling black fruits riding on the back of tannins and carefully measured oak.”
MATTHEW JUKES100 BEST AUSTRALIAN WINES DIGITAL REPORT 2018-19
June, 1 2018
“Made from 101-year-old Eden Valley Shiraz vines, and coming from a biodynamically and organically farmed block this is a phenomenal vintage of Mount Edelstone... Henschke decided to release the 2012 and then the 2014 and then they went back to 2013 because it is blockier and more concentrated than the other two vintages. Heroic and with epic tannins this wine is an instant classic and it has tracked the style of the 2013 vintage perfectly. The nose is sensational with layers and layers of black fruit and liquorice spice. Serious and incredibly long and heroic I am hard pressed to think of a more exciting and imposing Mount Edelstone…”
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 lead-up to the 2013 vintage saw an early onset of summer, with occasional thunderstorms and only four heat spikes, into the 40s, over summer. A cooler than average January followed by a warm February, brought the predicted early vintage even further forward. Even after the dry-fecta of winter/spring/summer the word from the winery floor was that it would be another great Eden Valley riesling year, followed up with some great old-vine shiraz.
Fortunately, a desperately needed 16mm of rain came, the first for nearly six months, at the beginning of March to help the dry-grown vines struggle through to full maturity. The roller-coaster weather ride continued through March with almost weekly cycles of hot and cold. Cool drizzly weather at the end of March nearly brought the harvest to a halt, but a return to the Indian summer conditions in early April gave us a chance to get the late varieties in Eden Valley over the line for another great vintage of average yields and fabulous rock solid quality.