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Henschke Keyneton Estate Euphonium 2014
Blend: 57% Shiraz, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Valentine’s day delivered over five inches of rain and, with a spring frost, scythed yields. Seamless tannins and a great saturation of sweet blood plum and inky black and blue fruits make for a lingering finish, with a kiss of five spice and graphite joined by an attractive hint of green. This unusually elegant Barossa Shiraz Cabernet Merlot blend spent 18 months in French and American oak hogsheads, 15% new.
Drinking Window 2018 - 2028
Predominantly Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon (there's some Merlot and Cabernet Franc as well), the 2014 Keyneton Euphonium is leafy and fresh, with raspberry and cassis fruit dusted with dried herbs and spices. It's medium-bodied but ripe and creamy-textured on the palate, showing great balance between intensity and detail, then slowly fading on the long, slightly dusty finish.
This has cooler accents with red and dark berries along with a leafy, herbal and earthy edge. The palate is smooth and plump with plenty of blackberries, dark cherries and blueberries. A ripe finish. A blend of shiraz, cabernet sauvignon and merlot. Drink or hold.
57% shiraz, 26% cabernet sauvignon, 12% merlot, 5% cabernet franc, 53% from the Eden Valley, 47% from the Barossa Valley, matured in 92% French and 8% American hogsheads for 18 months. A quixotic blend at the best of times and will always bring logistical complexities into play, complicated further by the trial and tribulations of '14. It is complex, savoury and minty, and carries the Henschke stamp of authenticity. But it stops there.
Historically and presently the most important wine-producing region of Australia, the Barossa Valley is set in South Australia, where more than half of the country’s wine is made. Because the climate is very hot and dry, vineyard managers must be careful so that grapes do not become overripe.
The intense heat is ideal for plush, bold reds, particularly Rhône blends featuring Shiraz, Grenache, and Mataro (Mourvèdre). White grapes can produce crisp, fresh wines from Riesling, Chardonnay, and Semillon if they are planted at higher altitudes.
Most of Australia’s largest wine producers are based here and Shiraz plantings date back as far as the 1850s or before. Many of them are dry-farmed and bush-trained, still offering less than one ton per acre of inky, intense, purple juice.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.