Category Archives: Cabernet Franc

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 Devil’s Lair Fifth Leg and 2004 Tatler Archie’s Paddock

Devil's Lair

  On Friday evening we opened a bottle of the Devil’s Lair Fifth Leg (Red) from Margaret
  River in Western Australia.

  It is an interesting mix of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.  AWG
  has been storing the wine for about four years or so (perhaps longer) and it was (at least
  according to the Wine Book) ready to be opened.  The vineyard’s official tasting notes can
  be found here.

  Personally, AWG found that in 2009 it hadn’t really started to precipitate and was still an
  enjoyable drop. 

At this stage, the Shiraz had really taken over and the glass was very bitey, but tempered by the Cabernet.  It was clearly better consumed in 2008 (or perhaps 2007 as suggested).  We’d suggest opening any 2000’s you have now, while they retain character.

On Saturday night, we opened a bottle of the Tatler 2004 Archie’s Paddock Shiraz from the Lovedale region in the Hunter Valley, NSW.  When we first tasted the Archie, back in 2005 and later in 2006 & 2007 we found it to be young and under developed (as one should expect).

TatlerTo put it bluntly, AWG had not expected it to mature into such a well crafted Shiraz.  Hunter Shiraz has an interesting reputation in the community, many say the ‘knock’ on Hunter Shiraz is that it is too soft, and often doesn’t develop a full body however the Archie (with aging) really turned into a knock out – and a bargain at that.

Although it was still on the softer side of Shiraz, it was very drinkable and had an attractive bouquet.  AWG had consumed about half the bottle before realising it.. Such a smooth finish and moderate complexity.

If you haven’t discovered Tatler’s yet, they are near Allandale just off Lovedale Rd.  The wines have increased in price in recent years (the Archie now fetches $25 a bottle retail), but have retained excellent quality. 

AWG can’t wait to open the Nonpariel Shiraz which is currently in the cellar. 
We are also huge fans of Tatler’s “The Sticky” Botrytis Semillon – which is consistently brilliant and one of the best dessert wines in the region without a doubt.