Henschke Johann’s Garden 2018


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“The 2018 Johann’s Garden is a blend of 77% Grenache, 19% Mataro and 4% Shiraz, all matured in older French hogsheads. Scents of cola and spice meet plums and black cherries, but this is a bit reserved on the nose, with the explosiveness left to the full-bodied, lush palate. Generous and mouth-filling and marked by supple tannins and ripe fruit, it’s plump and round, with a softly dusty finish. Gulpable now, it should add some spice nuances over the next several years as the fruit gently fades. Drink: 2021-2030. 92 points

Johann Christian Henschke, the patriarch of the Henschke family, arrived in Australia in 1841 and by 1847 had purchased land in Krondorf (Barossa Valley). His son, August, subsequently purchased land in the Eden Valley, donating a portion of the property for the Gnadenberg (Hill of Grace) Lutheran church. Christian would later add to the family’s holdings in the Eden Valley and transfer that acreage to another son, Paul Gotthard. This land is still the family’s home base.

The first recorded sales of Henschke wine date back to 1868, with a ledger that continues to the present day. Fifth-generation member Stephen Henschke is the winemaker and his wife Prue is the viticulturist, while the next generation—Johann (winemaker), Justine (marketing and public relations) and Andreas (brand ambassador)—are gradually taking on more responsibilities.

Flagship bottlings include the single-vineyard Hill of Grace and Mount Edelstone Shiraz and the Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon, but there are a number of less-expensive offerings that illustrate the family’s commitment to quality, including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Merlot from the Lenswood Vineyard in the Adelaide Hills. The vineyards are farmed along organic and biodynamic lines, and the family has gone to exceptional lengths to preserve the old-vine genetics of its vineyards and ensure sustainability going forward.

Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate (03/21)