1999 Henschke Cyril Henschke



Henschke CyrilTwo evenings ago we cracked open a bottle of Henchke’s famous ‘Cyril’ label which is a fine Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) blend balanced with a hint of Merlot (15%) and Cabernet Franc (15%) and grown in the beautiful Eden Valley in South Australia, and matured for two years prior to bottling.

The wine is, of course, named for the well respected winemaker Cyril Henschke (1924-1979) who pioneered the early Australian wine vintages in the early 20th century.  It is one of my favourite Australian Cabernet blends and normally matures well with extended cellaring.

The ‘99 we opened had a fairly large amount of sediment, and as such had to be filtered carefully into the Riedel decanter.  We let the wine oxidize for about an hour prior to pouring the first glasses (into proper Bordeaux style glasses).

The first observation was the colour – very deep and dark red in colour, with a slight nose and delicate fragrance.  This wine certainly benefits from aging (we previously tasted the ‘99 in 2006) and three years later (in 2009) the wine is still awash with blackcurrant but gains a much more pronounced texture and complexity.

Finish is gentle and well balanced, a great wine for those would appreciate a finely balanced Cabernet.  Served with lamb shanks and vegetables, not quite the best food-wine paring ever (probably better matched to a drop of Shiraz), but enjoyable nonetheless.

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