Thursday, March 20, 2014

Henschke Keyneton Estate Barossa Valley Red Blend 1996

Henschke Keyneton Estate Barossa Valley Red Blend 1996

I selected this aged 1996 vintage wine from the cellar to complement a quiet dinner at home with wife Linda. We had Top Sirloin steak prepared my favorite 'Pittsburgh' charred style, served with wild rice and asparagus spears (left). Afterwards it went well with a selection of chocolates and cheeses including one of my favorites, Bellavitano with butter crackers.

The Henschke family have been producing wine for six generations starting when Johann Christian Henschke planted a small vineyard on his farming property in Keyneton, about 80 km northeast of Adelaide, South Australia back in 1862. Today the property is run by fifth-generation Stephen Henschke as winemaker and his wife Prue as viticulturist. Henschke boasts a broad portfolio anchored by their ultra-premium single-vineyard labels. Most recently, Henschke was named 2011 Winery of the Year at the inaugural Age/Sydney Morning Herald Good Wine Guide awards. Sixth generation family members Johann, Justine and Andreas, are now actively involved exploring new development in organic and biodynamic programs.

This Keyneton Estate is an interesting  blend of 65% Shiraz, 30% Cabernet-Sauvignon and 5% Merlot.

We've had this bottle in the cellar for more than a decade. The Henschke was medium bodied and dark garnet colored with a slight brownish hue likely indicating its age. I've not had this label before so I don't have a basis for comparison but my sense is the fruit cited by others in their reviews has fallen off and given way since the predominate taste initially is black pepper followed by black licorice before revealing a layer of smoky charcoal turning to accent tones of cedar.

Eventually, over the course of the evening a layer of blackberry and hint of spice emerged beneath the other flavors, with a grip of clinging tannins on the finish.

RM 87 points.