Henschke, Glaetzer Wines and Heartland Wines

by Vic Harradine

Henschke winery

The stone church built in 1860 sits opposite the Hill of Grace vineyard also planted at that time—although it’s not on a hill, the land is somewhat flat. The stone cellar building at the present Henschke winery was also built in the 1860s. Present owner/winemaker and 5th generation, Stephen Henschke’s forefathers were there at that time as well, planting vines and making wine on site—Johann Christian Henschke planted a small vineyard at Keyneton in 1862. Stephen and viticulturist wife, Prue, continue the incredible success story of this family-owned, family-run, world-renowned winery. They are known not only for their fabulous wine, but for their focus on sustainability and innovative techniques, especially in the vineyard—they have a unique nursery program preserving the genetic heritage of their oldest vines. Their philosophy is, ‘Exceptional wines from outstanding vineyards’. They are proud to be one of the select—only 12—family-owned wineries to form Australia’s First Families of Wine representing over 1200 years of winemaking experience and excellence.


Henschke - Stone Church on property named 'Gnadenberg' aka 'Hill of Grace'

To the knowledgeable wine-lover, Henschke is revered for their owners and their fabulous wines. Prue and Stephen have both received prestigious, personal recognition awards and their wines are the recipients of numerous medals, trophies and Best of Show accolades along with a collective, ‘Winery of the Year’. They have an amazing four wines listed on the prestigious Langton’s Classification of Australian Fine Wines. There are many facets of day-to-day practices contributing to their success with none more important than Prue’s organic/biodynamic farming practices. They diligently follow the lunar calendar making their organic preparations for composting and sprays. They also add mulch under vines and plant native plants to attract beneficial insects that attack pests. It has become the mantra of almost every winemaker on earth, ‘Wine is made in the vineyard’. The Henschkes, past and present, don’t just say it, they live it—with their children alongside—and the 6th generation is now well and truly in training. And, yes, there’s now a 7th, though she’s still mostly interested in eating, sleeping and being fussed over at this stage.

Stephen and Prue Henschke with their 3 children, the 6th generation

• Order Henschke wines by the case for delivery in Ontario to your home, office or restaurant online from B & W Wines.

Upstream in winecurrent

Vintages Release: TBD

• This is the 25th vintage for the following ‘Julius’ Riesling—a wine named in honour of Julius Henschke, a highly acclaimed artist and sculptor. Fruit was sourced from Eden Valley with the 2016 vintage classified as ‘exceptional’ and the Henschkes estimating a drinking window for this wine up to 2041.

***** cellar Exceptional Value!
Henschke ‘Julius’ Riesling 2016
Eden Valley $39.00 11.5% alcohol
This is bright, pale-yellow with hints of green. Aromas of floral notes, minerality and lemon zest abound. An elegantly structured, medium-weight mouthful of lime, lemon curd, mineral salinity and pit fruit streak across the palate with great élan infusing the taut, lengthy, lip-smacking finish. Fruit was sourced from the absolute best of their Eden Valley Riesling. The aftertaste layers on piquant spice and green apple tang. Careful cellaring 2030 to 2035 will be rewarded. (Vic Harradine)

****1/2 drink or cellar
Henschke ‘Croft’ Chardonnay 2015
Adelaide Hills $46.00 13.5% alcohol
This dishes up a creamy-smooth mouthful of baked apple, cloves, cinnamon and nutty notes from nine months ageing in French barrique, 24% new, now fairly-well integrated. Fruit for this wine was sourced from bio-dynamically farmed Lenswood vineyard. It’s medium-plus bodied with excellent texture, and a solid line of mouth-watering tang from twist top to last drop. It finishes clean, crisp and refreshing with a lengthy, tangy finish laced with lemon curd, green apple and ripe pear. (Vic Harradine)

• Fruit for the following Henschke ‘Giles’ Pinot Noir was biodynamically farmed, undergoing a 21- to 30-day ferment and cold soak, followed by 10 months maturation in French barrique, 31% new.

***** drink or cellar
Henschke ‘Giles’ Pinot Noir 2014
Adelaide Hills $50.00 13.0% alcohol
Perfumed rose petals, piquant spice and a profusion of cherry/berry aromas leap from the glass. This showcases oodles of tangy acidity, persistent purity of ripe fruit flavour and a balanced, lingering finish and aftertaste. It bathes the palate with a medium-weight, nicely textured stream of juicy ripe fruit—red currant, black raspberry and black Bing cherry—nicely balanced by a surge of lip-smacking tang decorated with savoury herbs and piquant spice all persisting through the lingering finish. (Vic Harradine)

• The following ‘Henry’s Seven’ red blend—65% Shiraz/20% Grenache/10% Mataro/5% Viognier—was sourced from the Barossa Valley and Eden Valley hence the ‘Barossa’ Geographical Indication (GI) on bottle.

****1/2 drink or cellar
Henschke ‘Henry’s Seven’ 2015
Barossa $49.95 (198621) 14.5% alcohol
This crowd-pleasing Shiraz is as close as you’ll get to a drink-me-now red from Henschke—and it still showcases complexity, deft balance, purity of fruit and lengthy, dry finish. A lifted, aromatic nose of black pepper notes and savory herbs introduce a tang-laden river of palate-bathing, red and black currant and black plum adorned with fennel and mixed spice. It’s medium-full bodied with good mouthfeel and it’s absolutely delicious. (Vic Harradine)

• The following ‘Keyneton Euphonium’ red blend was sourced from Eden Valley and Barossa Valley fruit—45% Shiraz/36% Cabernet Sauvignon/17% Merlot/2% Cabernet Franc. It was aged in 15% new and 85% seasoned—85% French and 15% American—300L oak hogsheads for 18 months then blended and bottled.

***** drink or cellar
Henschke ‘Keyneton Euphonium’ 2013
Barossa $75.00 14.0% alcohol
Lively aromas of poultry seasoning and baking spice mingle with lively field berry fruit on the nose of this balanced and beautiful red blend. It surges over the palate with a medium-full bodied, generously textured flow of spice and tang-laden boysenberry, black plum and ripe mulberry interweaving with dark bittersweet chocolate and piquant spice all persisting through the monumentally long finish and aftertaste. There’s a long life ahead for this structured gem, though you could pop corks now, after a three- or four-hour aeration/decant, better 2020 to 2035. (Vic Harradine)

• The following Mount Edelstone was sourced from 102-year-old, dry-grown, ungrafted, centenarian Shiraz vines from the Eden Valley. It was first bottled as a single-vineyard wine in 1952 becoming recognised as one of Australia’s greatest Shiraz—it’s now farmed biodynamically.

***** cellar
Henschke ‘Mount Edelstone’ 2014
Eden Valley $218.00 (718601) 14.5% alcohol
Heavily perfumed floral and sharp black pepper aromas leap from this stunning Shiraz. A profusion of ripe, luscious fruit—red and black currants, black plum and hints of blueberry—interlaced with sprigs of savory herbs and excellent tang. This is full fruited, full bodied and full of charm and elegance. There’s persistent purity of fruit, firm structure, deft balance and a long, long finish and aftertaste. Carefully cellar 2023 to 2037. (Vic Harradine)

• The following ‘Hill of Grace’ Shiraz was sourced from 100% pre-phylloxera material brought from Europe by settlers in the mid-1800s and grown on the single-vineyard, ‘Hill of Grace’ in the ‘High Eden’ at approximately 430m. The now biodynamically farmed vineyard is located opposite a beautiful Lutheran church named after a region in Silesia called ‘Gnadenberg’, meaning Hill of Grace. This wine was aged 18 months in 65% new, 35% seasoned—95% French and 5% American—300L hogsheads.

***** drink or cellar
Henschke ‘Hill of Grace’ 2010
Eden Valley $1023.00 (399675) 14.5% alcohol
An involved nose of cedar, black pepper, savory herbs and dark cherry/berry fruit provide segue for a complex, full-bodied, well-textured Shiraz. A gusher of tangy red fruit—red currant and pie cherry—intertwined with rich, luscious ripe fruit flavour—mulberry and black plum—along with firm structure and excellent balance, reverberates on the palate throughout. It’s stylish and succulent, requiring time to mature—cellar carefully 2025 to 2037. (Vic Harradine)

Wine by Ben Glaetzer

Ben Glaetzer - a wine legend in the making from a family of wine legends

Ben Glaetzer comes by his winemaking prowess honestly. The Glaetzers emigrated from Germany in the late 1800s settling in the Barossa Valley pioneering the wine industry—they were among the first noted viticulturists in the Barossa. Ben’s father, Colin, and uncle, John, (twin brothers) paved the way recently with their unending passion for growing and sourcing premium fruit and producing award-winning wine from it—both have impressive credentials and are living legends.

Ben’s no slouch either, amassing respect, kudos and awards in the wine world by the armful. And—at writing—he’s still a young man under forty:

• His flagship Amon-Ra is listed in Langton’s Classification of Australian Fine Wines.
• His 2006 Anaperenna awarded ‘Best Australian red blend over £10’ by Decanter (2008)
• Named, ‘Qantas Young Winemaker of the Year’ (2004)
• Robert M. Parker Jr. named him ‘Wine Personality of the Year’ (2005)
• In 2008, named as, ‘One of the world's bright young winemakers’ in Food & Drink
• Ben is now a lifetime ‘Baron of the Barossa’, a by-invitation-only award for his contribution to the cultural fabric of the Barossa Valley.

Although quietly confident, sure handed and thoroughly driven to achieve his goals, Ben’s also thoughtful and reflective. His father, Colin, established the still, family-owned and operated Glaetzer winery in 1995 with winemaking decisions now under Ben’s ever-watchful eye and control—he seems to manage or be involved in virtually every aspect of it. All fruit for Glaetzer wine is sourced from the Barossa Valley sub-appellation of Ebenezer, primarily from a group of 3rd and 4th generation, loyal-to-the-Glaetzer-family, growers—Colin worked with them as winemaker for Barossa Valley Estate as far back as 1985. The vines are primarily old, dry-grown Shiraz, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon with some being close to, even exceeding, 100 years old. Fortunately, we have good access to these wines in Canada—hopefully this short piece and reviews below will spur you to try them.

• Order Glaetzer and Heartland wines by the case for shipping to your Ontario home, office or restaurant online from The Vine Agency.

Now in Vintages

• The following 2015 ‘Bishop’ by Ben Glaetzer was sourced from low-yielding, 35- to 100-year-old Shiraz vines found in select plots in the renowned sub-district of Ebenezer—the most northern part of Barossa Valley. Fruit was fermented in one- and two-tonne open fermenters, underwent extended maceration then aged 16 months in a mix of 40% new and 60% 2nd and 3rd fill, 300L, oak hogshead barrel—90% French, 10% American. ‘Bishop’ is Ben’s late mother’s family name.

Bishop****1/2 drink or cellar
Glaetzer Wines ‘Bishop’ 2015
Barossa Valley $39.95 (627869) 15.0% alcohol
This delightful Shiraz showcases full-blown, juicy fruit flavour, balance, persistent purity of fruit, depth and complexity. Aromas of baking spice, forest floor, savory herbs and berry fruit introduce a palate-coating, teeth-staining river of ripe mulberry and black plum flavour interwoven with piquant spice and savory notes persisting through the lingering finish. It’s underpinned by firm tannin structure suggesting a three-hour aeration/decant or reaping greater rewards for tucking away 2019-2026. (Vic Harradine)

Upstream in Vintages

Vintages Release date: TBD

• The following ‘Wallace’ red blend—78% Shiraz/22% Grenache was sourced from the sub-appellation of Ebenezer from 60-year-old Grenache bush vine fruit, fermented in stainless steel tank to preserve its juicy flavour. ‘Wallace’ is an ancestral name of Colin's wife, Judith, who hailed from Scotland. The Wallace symbol - a Celtic cross, thistle and Celtic knot speaks to her ancestry.

Wallace****1/2 drink or cellar
Glaetzer Wines ‘Wallace’ Shiraz/Grenache 2015
Barossa Valley $25.00 $25.00 14.5% alcohol
Lifted aromas of earthy notes mingle with piquant spice, black licorice and perfumed floral notes precede a tang-laden stream of palate-bathing flavour with bright red berry, mixed spice and wisps of dark bittersweet chocolate to the fore. It’s medium weight with good texture, persistent purity of fruit and sports a lengthy, lip-smacking aftertaste. Drinking well now, it pairs well with grilled rib-eye and Portobello mushrooms. (Vic Harradine)

• The following ‘Anaperenna’ red blend—76% Shiraz/24% Cabernet Sauvignon—was sourced from the northern tip of the Geographical Indication of Barossa Valley in the sub-region, ‘Ebenezer’, as are all Ben Glaetzer wines. Low-yielding fruit was matured 16 months in new 300L oak hogsheads, 92% French, balance American.

Anaperenna***** cellar
Glaetzer Wines ‘Anaperenna’ 2015
Barossa Valley $60.00 15.0% alcohol
Winemaker Ben Glaetzer leaves his experienced, confident fingerprints all over this. It showcases great depth, good balance, tang and complexity with good purity of fruit and firm underpinning, but not overworked or overblown. Involved aromas of baking spice, savory herbs, espresso roast and dark cherry/berry and plum fruit abound. A gusher of spice, ripe mulberry, black plum and black currant coat the palate infusing the lengthy, tang-laden, balanced finish and aftertaste. The ripe, fine-grained tannins are easily handled by opening 2020 to 2035 – an inspired choice for the cellar. (Vic Harradine)

• The following two wines refer to Amon-Ra, king of all gods in Egyptian mythology. The ‘all-seeing eye’ icon on the label represents six senses—touch, taste, hearing, sight, smell and thought. Winemaker Ben Glaetzer created this legacy red to appeal to them all. The fruit for the 2014 was sourced from 50 to 130-year-old, dry-grown Shiraz, aged 16 months in 100% new oak hogsheads, 95% French, 5% American, bottled unfiltered.

Amon-Ra***** cellar
Glaetzer Wines ‘Amon-Ra’ Shiraz 2014
Barossa Valley $85.00 (58032) 15.0% alcohol
There’s a profusion of perfumed aromas—mixed spice, cedar and bright red fruit. A tapestry of juicy, ripe mulberry and black currant fruit engulf the palate interweaving with savory herbs, anise and wisps of sweet vanilla. It’s medium-plus weight with generous mouthfeel, good depth, complexity and persistent purity of fruit that’s framed with lip-smacking tang and underpinned by a firm tannin structure—all quite stunning and stylish. Kudos to winemaker extraordinaire, Ben Glaetzer, who passed his magic wand over this. Pop corks 2022 to 2040. (Vic Harradine)

• The following Glaetzer 2015 ‘Amon-Ra’ sourced fruit from a great vintage and 50 to 145 year-old vines from the Ebenezer sub-appellation of the northernmost tip of Barossa Valley. The Amon-Ra is listed in the über-prestigious Langton’s Classification of Australian Fine Wines.

Amon-Ra

****1/2 cellar
Glaetzer Wines ‘Amon-Ra’ Shiraz 2015
Barossa Valley $85.00 (58032) 15.5% alcohol
The nose on this full-bodied, fully textured cellar dweller offers aromas of spice, floral and cedar with notes of bramble berry. It envelops the palate with a rich flow of briary berry, black, juicy Bing cherry interlaced with excellent tang, black licorice and cassis persisting through the long, balanced and beautiful, finish and aftertaste. There are strong signs this will be quite special, though tight and taut with firm, fine-grain tannin for now—open 2025 to 2037. (Vic Harradine)

Heartland Wines

Ben Glaetzer oversees the winemaking of all Heartland Wines. He asserts, “Heartland is that place between the vines with the best view of the gum trees. When we first got together to start Heartland all those years ago, the idea was to embrace the best Australian fruit could offer and create wines of balance and texture with a uniquely Australian identity. We found a pure expression of this identity in Langhorne Creek. This has remained the chief source of our fruit ever since.”

John Glaetzer - one of the family legends

Ben’s uncle, John Glaetzer, sources fruit from the best vineyards in Langhorne Creek and the wines from Heartland certainly reflect this familial, dynamic duo. John has a lengthy, sterling record as a winemaker with four Jimmy Watson Trophies (1974-75-76-99) notched on his belt as well as eleven Montgomery Trophies, awarded annually to the best red wine of the Royal Adelaide Wine Show. The Jimmy Watson Trophy is arguably Australia’s most coveted, sought-after annual wine award, to win four times is stunning.

John has decades of business and personal relationships with growers in the Langhorne Creek wine region. It’s become difficult for third, fourth and fifth generation Langhorne Creek growers to receive a fair price for their fruit as premium fruit from Langhorne Creek is being purchased and blended with other regions under ‘South Australia’ or the massive Geographical Indication (GI) of ‘Southeastern Australia’. The following Heartland wines proudly source fruit exclusively from Langhorne Creek and have that displayed prominently on every bottle.

Now in Vintages

****1/2 drink or cellar
Heartland Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Langhorne Creek, South Australia $19.95 (58099) 14.5% alcohol
This is fruit forward, rich and luscious, balanced and beautiful—the price quality balance tips well in your favour. Eucalyptus and dark berry fruit aromas make way for a medium-full bodied, generously textured flow of black briary berry, black plum and sweet vanilla mingling with mocha and soft, ripe tannin. The finish lingers, lip-smacking good. Pouring well now—give it a go with rare-grilled, seasoned steak or rack of lamb. (Vic Harradine)

Upstream in winecurrent

Vintages Release date: TBD

• The following Heartland ‘Foreign Correspondent’ is a 51% Lagrein/49% Dolcetto red blend. Both Dolcetto vines and the less-common Lagrein are grown primarily in northern Italy with the first plantings of Lagrein in Australia in 1988.

**** drink now
Heartland ‘Foreign Correspondent’ 2016
Langhorne Creek $26.00 12.0% alcohol
This opens with aromas of bright, red berry fruit along with wisps of spice and sprigs of savory herbs following through and replaying on the palate with spice-laced pie cherry and red currant framed by juicy tang. It’s crisp and refreshing with a racy finish. This unique Lagrein/Dolcetto red blend saw no oak, can be slightly chilled served and pours particularly well with charcouterie board or cheese platter. (Vic Harradine)

• The following 2013 ‘Director’s Cut’ was sourced from some of the best vineyards in Langhorne Creek of +40-year-old, premium Shiraz fruit picked in the cool of the night then crushed to small, open-top stainless steel fermenters. After eight days of cool fermentation on skins, all wine was transferred to new 80% French/20% American, 300L oak hogsheads for 14 months ageing.

****1/2 drink or cellar
Heartland ‘Director’s Cut’ Shiraz 2013
Langhorne Creek $39.95 14.5% alcohol
Surprisingly approachable for such a powerful red, this delivers the proverbial iron fist in a velvet glove—it’s full flavoured, full bodied and fully textured. Aromas of grilled herbs, sweet vanilla and gamy notes leap from the glass. A gusher of fruit, tannin and tang coat the palate with gusto—bramble berry, cassis and black plum mingling with spice, dark bittersweet chocolate and considerable élan. Best to open 2018 to 2023, you could also aerate/decant for three hours before pouring now. (Vic Harradine)

• The 2013 vintage of the following Heartland Shiraz was very recently released (not tasted by winecurrent) with good stocks remaining on Vintages shelves. The 2014 below matured 14 months in mostly previously used, French and American oak, 300L hogsheads.

**** drink or cellar
Heartland Shiraz 2014
Langhorne Creek $19.95 (661934) 14.5% alcohol
This medium-plus bodied, nicely textured Shiraz is fruit-forward with complexity, structure and oodles of charm. Aromas of bramble berry, peppery spice and black licorice set the table for a smorgasbord of palate flavours with red and black currant and black raspberry fruit joined by piquant spice, earthy bits and a delectable line of juicy tang to the fore. There’s fine-grained tannin and good acidity decorating the long juicy finish and aftertaste. Good to go now and pours well with grilled steak, burgers or gourmet sausage. (Vic Harradine)