Hentley Farm has had the privilege of having the 2020 release of the Luxury Collection wines reviewed by Melissa Moore for the WinePilot.Com.
2018 ‘The Beast’ Shiraz
Packaged like the von Kasper cabernet in the classic old bottle under cork, this wine is the broody foil to the elegance of The Beauty: intense, dark chocolate and mocha, blackcurrant compote, spiced plum pudding layered over chocolate éclair but with savoury notes of liquorice and even steak tartare. The oak is more prevalent here than previous wines, in spice, vanilla and cigar box aromatics, and the palate is broody, chewy, masculine, muscular. Big tannins for a big Barossa Valley wine. So delicious on opening and was even better decanted for a few hours, but imagine if you could leave a few bottles to open in ten years’ time, and then a few more bottles for twenty years’? Reward in buckets. Holy dooly, this would have to be with a five-hour slow-roasted lamb shoulder, anchovies and leeks, with braised radicchio and fennel on the side. One hundred per cent.
2018 ‘von Kasper’ Cabernet Sauvignon
Named for the mysterious Otto von Kasper who planted the vineyard in the early 1990’s, the von Kasper Cabernet is packaged, like The Beast, in a heavy glass bottle with cork and the distinctive, stylish Hentley farm livery. Not ever to judge a book by its glamorous cover, the wine inside is so much more than its pretty label… indeed even a sniff of the nose made my mouth water. A delicious nose of cassis and vanilla, licorice and saddle soap, a hint of eucalyptus and petrichor. Ripe and powerful, the wine is almost chewy in weight and mouthfeel, with acid in balance and firm tannin grip. It has fathoms of intense flavour and is authentically cabernet, even in its Barossa Valley ripeness. Wonderful. Tuscan beef peposo – slow braised beef shin – and creamy polenta.
2018 ‘The Beauty’ Shiraz
Deep purple and luscious in colour, this wine entices me from the get-go… Barossa Valley Shiraz (97%) co-fermented with 3% viognier adding to the depth of colour (I know, weird right?!) and aromatics of violet and lilac, this shiraz is quite the beauty. Blueberries, blackberries and blackcurrant compote, vanilla richness and subtle pepper seduce the nose, whilst the palate is all about the structure: super-textural and mouth-filling but with a fine acid backbone and a coating of tannin that are so refreshing, they urge you to take another sip, wehich I’ll gladly do! Classic and classy. Rack of lamb in a heartbeat, potatoes dauphinois.
2018 ‘The Quintessential’ Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon
Australia’s own, the ‘quintessential’ shiraz cabernet blend produces some iconic wines and this version from Hentley Farm – a blend of 54% Shiraz and 46% Cabernet from their single estate – is another worthy example. The nose is cassis and dark plum but with gorgeous herbal and savoury notes, balsamic and leaf and vegetable tagine, and on the palate it’s multilayered and complex, sweet and sour with sarsaparilla and clovey oak spice, all together in harmony. Ripe fruit richness but the structure still young and tight: power and balance and class. A beautiful big red from the Barossa Valley. Steak on the bone a must, preferably cooked over fire.
2019 ‘The Old Legend’ Grenache
A jewel in the glass, a bright and enticingly gorgeous ruby, with a nose resplendent of the red berried fruits of Barossa Valley grenache: redcurrants, raspberries and cranberries, and a little dusty stalkiness with exotic spice and hints of orange peel. On the palate there is much to love: the fruit is plush and ripe, has power in spades but is in balance and so silky. More red berries with milk chocolate richness, and tannins like closing the door on a velvet armoire. Lovely true grenache. Eat with duck confit and cherry compote, if you dare.
2020 Eden Valley Riesling
A beautiful, floral, dry riesling from the Eden Valley. The wine is all about citrus and blossom: gardenias and jasmine, rose-scented geranium leaves and lavender, with lemon rind and curd too, and a silky milkiness on the nose. The palate is fresh and juicy and continues the citrus party with lemon peel, grapefruit rind and fresh lime surrounding a mineral stoniness, but with a fleshy and generous mouthfeel – my favourite sort of riesling – and almost sherbet-like prickles of acidity. The finish is long and fresh and absolutely delightful. The joy! I would happily drink this by itself without any food, but if pushed, a little tuna crudo with toasted sesame cracker and wasabi mayo would be just fine, thank you very much.