Henschke Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Decanter 97 Points. James Suckling 96 Points. Wine Enthusiast 94 Points. Robert Parker Wine Advocate 93 Points.

Country, Region: Australia, South Australia
Grape: 65% Shiraz, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cab Franc, 3% Merlot
Vintage: 2018
ABV: 14.5%
Food friend: Roast Duck
£115.00 Single bottle
Tasting Notes
Producer details
In the vineyard
In the winery
Food Recommendations
In the press

Deep garnet with garnet hues. Lively and fragrant aromas of crushed flowering herbs, violets, briary blackberry, plum, black cherry and cassis, with subtle forest and cedar notes. A rich, supple and complex palate of dark forest berries, dark chocolate, cooking spices and liquorice, interlaced with fresh acidity and a long, savoury finish of fine-grained tannins.

The Henschke family have been making wine at their estate in the Eden Valley since 1868. Fifth-generation winemaker Stephen Henschke took over running the winery in 1979. Together with his viticulturist wife, Prue, they have taken their two single vineyards, Hill of Grace and Mount Edelstone, and transformed them into two of Australia's most sought-after wines. Through a combination of great viticulture from Prue, named ‘Outstanding Viticulturalist 2020', who is at the forefront of re-introducing native plants into their vineyards to improve biodiversity, and winemaking from Stephen, they have built upon their inheritance and turned this traditional producer into one that is celebrated all around the world.

The original 1860s grain barn at the family property in Keyneton, built from field stone and mud by first-generation winemaker Johann Christian Henschke, now houses the Henschke cellar door. The winery occupies the original wool shed, which was built next to the grain barn in 1952.

Henschke own three vineyards in the Eden Valley and one in the Adelaide Hills, all of which are farmed in line with biodynamic principles. The eight hectare Hill of Grace vineyard is situated in the historic village of Parrot Hill, four kilometres northwest of Henschke Cellars. First planted in 1860, it was purchased by second-generation Paul Gotthard Henschke in 1891, but it was not until 1958 that fourth-generation winemaker Cyril Henschke made the first single-vineyard Shiraz bottling from the grapes grown here. ‘Hill of Roses' is produced from a small selection of low-yielding, dry-grown shiraz vines from the Hill of Grace Vineyard, planted as a nursery block in 1989 and at present are too young to be considered for inclusion in the ‘Hill of Grace'. Cyril purchased the nearby 16 hectare Mount Edelstone vineyard in 1974, although he'd been buying fruit from the owner and making ‘Mount Edelstone' Shiraz for over 20 years. The 2017 vintage represents the 65th release of this unique wine, making it Australia's longest consecutively made single-vineyard Shiraz.

In 1966, Cyril purchased 32 hectares of land on Cranes Range Road, two kilometres west of Henschke Cellars. Here he planted the Henschke Eden Valley vineyard, predominantly to Riesling and Shiraz, although other varieties, including Semillon, were added over the years. Today, the Riesling is the source of the ‘Julius' Eden Valley Riesling and the Semillon goes into the ‘Louis' Eden Valley Semillon. The ‘Wheelwright' Shiraz, only released as a single vineyard Shiraz for the first time in 2015, comes from a 1.6 hectare area in this vineyard. This is the family's coolest, most southerly, north-facing site with sandy soils, not far from the north-western Adelaide Hills, resulting in a Shiraz with very distinct, focused red fruit. Other parcels of Shiraz are blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc to make ‘Keyneton Euphonium', which Jancis Robinson describes as “an Australian classic at a less than iconic price.” Cyril bottled his first Cabernet Sauvignon from this vineyard in 1976. This cool, elegant wine was named after Cyril as a tribute when he passed away in 1979.

Stephen and Prue realised the exciting potential of the higher altitude Adelaide Hills region in 1981, and purchased a 13 hectare site in Lenswood, covered in orchards, with beautiful steep slopes and stunning views towards the Eden Valley. They originally established a vineyard here for research and development purposes, to influence the quality of the fruit from the older Henschke vineyards. Various clones of many varieties were planted, including Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Lenswood vineyard is now undergoing regeneration after the devastating fires in December 2019. As such, the next vintage of wines from this vineyard will be 2022.

In addition to their estate fruit, Stephen and Prue also buy in fruit from growers with whom they've been dealing for decades to make their ‘Henry's Seven', a blend of Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro and Viognier, and the ‘Johann's Garden' Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz. ‘Peggy's Hill' Riesling takes its name from a local landmark at the top of the range between the villages of Eden Valley and Keyneton. It is produced from selected Eden Valley growers and displays similar characteristics to the ‘Julius', yet in a softer and rounder, early-drinking style.

With a wealth of very old, low-yielding vines in the Eden Valley and award-winning viticulture and winemaking, we are honoured to have Henschke's world-class wines in our portfolio.

In 1966, Cyril Henschke purchased 32 hectares of land on Cranes Range Road, two kilometres west of Henschke Cellars at 500 metres above sea level. Here he planted the Henschke Eden Valley vineyard, predominantly with Riesling and Shiraz, on a north-facing slope made up of sandy loam soils over gravel and bedrock, with patches of clay. Other varieties, including Cabernet Sauvignon, were added over the years. Cyril bottled his first Cabernet Sauvignon from this vineyard in 1976. This cool, elegant wine was named after him as a tribute when he passed away in 1979.

A moderately wet winter combined with average spring conditions meant that the vines grew well in the mild weather. Ideal flowering conditions in late spring/early summer led to the potential for near-average yields. Late December became warm and dry, ensuring healthy canopies with low disease pressure. The summer months of January and February were typically warm and dry, characterised by above-average overnight temperatures. The old-vine vineyards coped well with the warm nights, their deep roots able to withstand the warming and drying effect on the topsoil, maturing the balanced crops as autumn approached. March and April provided light and warmth to the Eden Valley which led to full and balanced maturity being achieved across all grape varieties. With warm sunny days and cool nights, the dry autumn guaranteed that pristinely healthy grapes arrived in the fermenters.

Grapes were hand-harvested in the cool of the morning. This single vineyard was divided up into separate parcels with top, middle and bottom of the slope picked separately. Each parcel remained separate throughout the vinification process. Once in the winery, the grapes were destemmed and lightly crushed into traditional, concrete, open-top fermenters. A submerged cap was performed in order to manage a slow tannin extraction. The fermentations were controlled with pump-overs being performed twice daily. After 7-10 days and just prior to reaching dryness, the fermentations were gently pressed to barrel with the primary fermentation finishing in French oak (10% new and 90% seasoned) hogshead barrels. The wine matured for 18 months in oak before blending and bottling. The wine was aged in bottle for a further two years before its release.

Roast Duck, smoked Prunes and Onions

"Rich purple and inky blue fruits soar from the glass: cassis, mulberry, violets and an almost pine forest-like ozone freshness that brings lift and clarity to the sumptuous palate. Beautiful length, elegance and purity, with smooth graphite-like tannins and vibrant acidity."
29 March 2023 TINA GELLIE, DECANTER 97 points

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