Category Archives: Premium Wine

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.

2000 Peter Lehmann Stonewell Shiraz


On the weekend we opened a bottle of Peter Lehmann’s Stonewell Shiraz (2000) from the lovely Barossa Valley in South Australia.  The Stonewell is an attractive Barossa wine which is selected and blended from a number of small regional vineyards.  Consequently, a little about the 2000 vintage:

Fruit Sources: Low yielding vineyards in the Stonewell, Kalimna,
                     Koonunga, Ebenezer and Greenock districts of the Barossa Valley.

What we first noticed about the wine was the excellent bouquet – a real sensation – it was very hard to put into words how attractive it was, intense – traces of currants, chocolate or similar.

The wine had excellent colour, a full body (nicely complex) with a most agreeable aftertaste (very smooth).  I’d have to say it was well balanced (not overly acidic, yet not underwhelming by any stretch) and, as a good Shiraz should do, was very well crafted in terms of taste, strength and complexity.

This is par for the course for good quality Barossa Shiraz and I’d recommend to fans of the Penfold’s range (Kalimna & Koonunga Hill in particular).  Giving the wine time to breathe is highly recommended, especially after a decent interval (bottled in 2002).