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Henschke Tilly's Vineyard White 2002
Named after a great-aunt, Ottilie Mathilde Henschke, who gave her name to an historic Henschke vineyard.
The year 2002 goes down as being the coolest, windiest ‘non-summer' on record, following on from our hottest summer on record in 2001. It was preceded by a wet winter and a spring that was cold, wet and windy. The drizzly cold weather affected the flowering and caused poor fruit set, commonly known as ‘hen and chicken'. In particular riesling and shiraz, Eden Valley signature varieties, were the worst affected with crop reductions leaving less than 20% in some varieties. In addition the season was 2-3 weeks late due to the unseasonable cold weather. With the smaller crop level, the balance of sugar, flavour and natural acidity in the fruit were excellent. Despite the pitiful crop, 2002 was one of our most exceptional vintages ever, helped by the warm dry Indian summer autumn period, providing sensational colours, flavours and ageing potential.
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 1860. Many of them are dry-farmed and bush-trained, still offering less than one ton per acre of inky, purple juice.
With hundreds of white 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 soft and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is more fragrant and naturally high in acidity. 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.