Under the guidance of husband-and-wife team, Stephen and Prue Henschke, this medium sized producer in South Australia has become one of the country’s most-famed. Since 1979 Stephen has been the winemaker while Prue has diligently renewed the vineyard practices. In total the couple owns around 115 hectares of vines with the largest proportion of these in the Eden Valley in Greater Barossa.
The Henschke name is most associated with top-drawer, age-worthy reds. These are superbly crafted from old, low-yielding vines and careful use of small oak barrels. The immaculately-tended 8- hectare Hill of Grace vineyard, planted with pre-phylloxera syrah from the northern Rhône, and replenished by cloning, produces a powerful and refined shiraz second only to Penfolds Grange as Australia’s most iconic red wine. The vineyard takes its name from a beautiful old Lutheran Church, built of local field stone, which was named Gnadenberg, meaning Hill of Grace. Nearby is the Mount Edelstone vineyard which also produces consistently excellent shiraz with intense pepper and spice character. The top cabernet sauvignon - Cyril Henschke - is named as a tribute to Stephen’s father. It includes a little merlot and cabernet franc in the blend and shows gorgeous cassis fruit characters. The ageing potential of all three of these is clear.
Other wines of note include Keyneton Estate Euphonium – a lush shiraz, cabernet and merlot blend – and Henry’s Seven. The latter is a tribute to Henry Evans who planted the first vineyard of seven acres at Keyneton in 1853. This blend highlights the historical introduction of southern French and Spanish varieties to South Australia in those early pioneering days. Fittingly it is a very fine blend of shiraz, grenache, mourvèdre and viognier. Riesling, gewürztraminer, semillon and chardonnay are also planted at Henschke and these whites, though less well-known, have steadily gathered momentum since the 1990s.