Henschke The Wheelwright Shiraz
Matthew Jukes, MatthewJukes.com – 28th March, 2022
This is the first release of The Wheelright, named after Johann Christian Henschke, the founding father and first-generation winemaker at Henschke. A skilled stonemason and wheelwright, I imagine he would be pretty chuffed to taste this wine and learn that the sixth generation of Henschkes is currently driving this business forwards at a gathering momentum. Made from low-yielding, biodynamically-grown, old-vine Shiraz, the vines were planted near the village of Eden Valley at 500m in 1968 by fourth-generation winemaker Cyril Henschke. This vintage commemorates 150 years of Henschke winemaking, so it is somewhat of a landmark. This is a rather different style of Shiraz to the others in this collection, given it comes from a higher site and a wetter one, too. There is not the density of black fruit that one finds in Mount Edelstone or Hill of Grace in this beautiful wine and to use an ecclesiastical analogy, it seems as if the bass voices have taken time out from the choir and left the altos, tenors and sopranos to carry on with their anthems! Red-fruited in style with floral notes and lip-smacking savouriness on the finish, this is a spicy, energetic Shiraz that seems to deliver its message effortlessly. So many wines try so hard to impress, but The Wheelright keeps rolling along with a wonderful, measured tempo. Vital, sonorous and energetic, while you can drink it today, I anticipate it will hold for two decades, such is the intricacy of its tannins and the crispness of the acidity on the finish. Drink now – 2040.
Jancis Robinson MW, JancisRobinson.com – 28th March, 2022
Full Vinoloked bottle a modest 1,235 g. 100% Shiraz planted in 1968 from the Wheelwright vineyard at 470 m 'managed with organic and biodynamic practices' and picked 9 to 27 April. This is the family's coolest, most southerly, north-facing single vineyard in the south of the valley with quite sandy soils and not far from the north-western Adelaide Hills. Relatively high rainfall. Matured in oak (15% new), of which 13% was American rather than French, for 18 months before blending and bottling. pH 3.52, TA 6.02 g/l.
Transparent garnet. Lusciously ripe nose but extremely fresh on the palate, with medicinal and herbal top notes. Only medium body, despite the alcoholic strength, but this opens up most impressively on the finish – a real fan of flavour! I tasted this over several days and found it really opened up with time, which bodes well for its longevity. Real lift and truly beautiful texture on the finish with a hint of unsweetened chocolate. You could drink this now but do aerate it well before serving. 14.5%
Drink 2022 – 2035
Dave Brookes, Halliday Wine Companion – 5th April, 2022
Eden Valley estate fruit, planted in 1968 and matured in 10% new oak (95/5% French/American) hogsheads for 18 months prior to blending. Notes of mulberry, blueberry and redcurrant flit above the bass tones of dark and black berries, cut with spice, licorice, dark chocolate, sage and a scattering of brambly, briar-like notes. Graceful red fruits and spice feature on the palate which, like all Henschke wines, shows detail and elegance with perhaps a little more red fruit coming through. The balance and clarity of form impresses greatly.
Sarah Ahmed, Decanter – 29th March, 2022
The epitome of elegance with its sheen of silky, pure red fruits and lissome acidity, in 2017 this Eden Valley Shiraz is closer to Adelaide Hills geographically and in spirit. Medium-bodied, the beguiling strawberry and plum palate is delicately scented with pink peppercorn, coltsfoot, pine needle and black pepper. Subtle undertones of moss, twig and wattleseed draw you in further. Drinking beautifully now, with soft grainy tannins to the finish and lingering spice. Drinking Window 2022 – 2037