Henschke Keyneton Euphonium 2017


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“The 2017 Keyneton Euphonium is 62% Shiraz, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Cabernet Franc and 3% Merlot, aged in 19% new oak hogsheads (85% French, 15% American). The oak imparts a bit of smokiness and mocha overtones to the nose, but this is a largely fruit-driven effort, with ripe cherries, boysenberries and blackberries touched with hints of eucalyptus and sage. It’s medium to full-bodied, smooth and streamlined on the palate, with a soft dusting of tannins and lingering berry and herb flavors on the finish. Drink: 2022-2035. 91 points

The newest releases from Henschke include their flagship wines from the 2017 vintage, a growing season that started slowly, with uneven flowering and reduced yields, but finished cool and—at least in the Eden Valley—dry, with prolonged ripening. That’s reflected in the style and shape of the Hill of Grace, Hill of Roses, Mount Edelstone and The Wheelwright single-vineyard Shirazes, which are all characterized by their balance and sleekness rather than raw power. As a group, they’re concentrated and ripe, without the rich texture and ebullient expansiveness of some vintages, but perhaps with even a bit more longevity. Of course, one pays for the privilege of drinking these treasures.

For my money, the best values in the Henschke lineup are those in the next tier of wines: the Tappa Pass Shiraz ($100) and the Marble Angel Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($75). The current vintage here is the 2019, a solid year in the Barossa. At those prices, the wines—particularly the Cabernet—compare favorably with wines from Napa and Bordeaux. Worth noting is that the highest proportion of new oak used in any of these latest releases is about 25%, so any cedar notes and wood tannins are never front and center, leaving the focus on the wonderful fruit the family is able to grow or source.

Finally, I would be remiss not to point out that the two Eden Valley Rieslings are also commendable efforts. Although the Henschke family deservedly receives much acclaim for their red wines, the white wines have also been impressive in recent years. These 2021s are both dry, taut examples of the genre, with the Peggy’s Hill being more forward and ready to drink and the Julius a strong candidate for a decade in the cellar.

Joe Czerwinski, Wine Advocate (03/22)