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Spring wine reviews by Tyson Stelzer

99 POINTS // $865

Henschke

HILL of grace

2015

A record-breaking coolest January in 11 years and a mild autumn have given birth to a Hill of Grace of particular elegance. Its greatness is declared not in depth of colour or might of flavour. A medium, perfectly penetrable red more akin to Pinot Noir than Barossa Shiraz unashamedly declares its restraint. The inimitable fragrance and spice of this hallowed place is stamped with greater clarity and fragrance than ever in 2015. It is the signature of Hill of Grace, brimming bountifully with Chinese five spice, pot pourri, rose hip, sage, white pepper, blueberries and dark chocolate. Every detail is laced together eloquently with velvet fine tannins of a suppleness only possible from vines of such commanding maturity, yet with an endurance that will propel it for decades. 2015 sits confidently and resolutely among the greatest expressions of the modern era this fabled and spiritual vineyard.

96 POINTS // $165

Henschke

Cyril Henschke

Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

In the very greatest seasons, Eden Valley Cabernet is something to behold, uniting varietal precision and structural energy with enticing depth of delicious, glossy black fruits. Even more pure and focused than the epic 2015 before it, this is an incredible juxtaposition of blackcurrant density and consummately scaffolded endurance.

95 POINTS // $175

Hentley Farm

H-BLOCK

Barossa Valley 2017

Hentley’s best red this year is testimony to the ability of the distinguished Shiraz Cabernet blend to elevate to greater heights than are possible for each variety solo. Profound Shiraz depth and intensity are equalised by the magnificent lift, freshness and fine-grained tannins of Cabernet, driving a finish of terrific confidence and endurance.

95 POINTS // $200

Penfolds

RWT
Bin 798

Barossa Valley
Shiraz 2018

The warm summer of 2018 plays to Penfolds’ mandate for RWT to be ‘opulent, fleshy, aromatic and plush’ (by contrast to the Grange aspiration of ‘muscular and assertive’), making this a very easy wine to blend for the Penfolds team. ‘Such was the calibre of our A2 grade Shiraz – the core of RWT and St Henri – that we almost nailed the blend right from the outset during classification!’ Peter Gago revealed. And opulent it is,
a deep well of magnificent, sweet, ripe black fruits of enticingly glossy appeal, painted in rich strokes of French oak dark and milk chocolate, underlined by polished, firm fine tannins that draw the finish out long, full and strong. A quintessential RWT for the medium-term, guaranteed to turn heads and win hearts.

94 POINTS // $45

Dutschke

St Jakobi

Single Vineyard Shiraz 2017

The cooler years define a more elegant and contemplative style in the Barossa, and Wayne Dutschke has responded with sensitivity in his most famous wine. It rises to the season in red-fruited confidence, at once juicy and vibrant and yet elegant and calm. Sensitivity in oak and tannin management are the key to balance in such a vintage, and Dutschke’s intuitive mastery has delivered with harmony and peace. It’s no blockbuster, but it’s downright gorgeous, and I know what I’d prefer every time.

94 POINTS // $75

Henschke

Marble Angel

Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Barossa Cabernet sings in the coolest seasons, and the coldest January in 11 years drew out spectacular varietal definition. From a single vineyard of more than 40 years of age in Light Pass, this is a Cabernet loaded with crunchy black and redcurrants, cassis, tobacco and classy French oak. It’s engineered for the long game, and promises much.

93 POINTS // $42

Peter Lehmann Wines

Black Queen

Sparkling Shiraz Barossa Méthode Traditionnelle 2014

The cooler 2014 season in the Barossa makes for a sparkling Shiraz of character and poise. All the blackberry, black plum and liquorice that we love of the Barossa are here, framed in a greengage tang and pepper-accented definition. Vibrant acidity and fine tannins are supported by balanced dosage and the ever-present backdrop of dark chocolate oak. It concludes with good persistence and appeal.

93 POINTS // $40

Penfolds

Bin 51

Eden Valley
Riesling 2020

Embracing the precision and tension of a cool January, this is a release that upholds all the concentration and presence of a small harvest. It abounds in all the fragrant lemon blossom, spicy lime fruit, granny smith apple cut, even a tilt toward guava exoticism, that you’d expect in such profound youth, driven by ripe and fully integrated acidity. Boasting a generous approachability from the outset, this is a vintage to drink now rather than lay down, and it’s none the less for it.

92 POINTS // $35

Dutschke

Sami

Cabernet Sauvignon 2018

Acidity is the oft-overlooked ingredient that marks out the Barossa’s best reds, and Wayne Dutschke is a master in wielding it with unashamed confidence. Even in the generosity of 2018, he captures Cabernet of varietal precision, crunch and integrity. Red- and blackcurrants are energised by fine, masterfully poised tannins and great acid drive, promising great things in the cellar.

96 POINTS // $37.50

Torbreck
The Steading
Blanc 2019

Hands-down the best Roussanne Marsanne Viognier blend I’ve ever tasted, a wine of spectacular line and length, with a definition like nothing else. It’s floral, spicy and radiantly fresh, with a core of varietal personality of citrus, stone fruits and spice, impeccably strung together with carefully tuned phenolics and bright acid line.

96 POINTS // $300

Torbreck
RunRig 2017

A quintessential RunRig, with slightly larger than life intensity on every level, fantastic density of inky fruit met equally with oak, alcohol, tannins, and acidity. The cool definition of 2017 defines a great tension, structure and grip to a finish of impressive ripeness. One of the best RunRigs to date.

95 POINTS // $75

Torbreck
Hillside Vineyard
Grenache 2018

The essence of Grenache, built on definitive rhubarb, raspberry and strawberry, with creamy texture, thanks to a warmer site and soft, limestone soils. Its terroir infuses it with lifted rose petal perfume, holding with outstanding line and length. A gorgeous Grenache, ready to drink now.

93 POINTS // $60

Penfolds
Bin 138
Barossa Valley
Shiraz Grenache Mataro 2018

Draped in a vibrant, medium purple hue and bathed in layers of mixed spice and milk chocolate, this is a delicious blend with a wonderful core of spicy red and black berries of all kinds. Aged oak builds a finely structured tannin frame that brings grip and definition to the finish, with the drive to push through, and it will appreciate another year in bottle to integrate. A great example of Bin 138.

93 POINTS // $42.50

Hentley Farm
Barossa Valley
Viognier 2019

Signature Viognier of fragrance, texture and viscosity, laced with all the hallmarks of crunchy apricot, apricot kernel, malt, spice and grapefruit. It’s all held in check thanks to a masterful union of phenolic bite and acid tang, holding its finish, long, strong and linear. A skilfully crafted take on this temperamental variety.

93 POINTS // $50

Turkey Flat Vineyards
Shiraz 2018

This is a Barossa Shiraz crafted not with flashy flamboyance but rather with the steady confidence of grand old vines, the finely structured scaffold of enduring tannins and the gently supportive presence of well-gauged French oak. A classic style built for the cellar.

92 POINTS // $50

Barons of Barossa
The Grand Master
Barossa Shiraz 2018

An assemblage of parcels made by 15 of the Barossa’s heroic winemakers and blended by four of their most famous and talented, this is a wine that captures the full sweep of glorious Barossa character in one bottle. Depth of black fruits unite with finely structured, enduring tannins to promise great potential. A worthy blend to raise proceeds for the great not-for-profit work of the Barons of the Barossa.

92 POINTS // $25

Turkey Flat Vineyards
Barossa Valley
White Marsanne Viognier
Roussanne 2019

Mark Bulman is pushing the boundaries of Barossa winemaking harder than ever in exciting directions, and Marsanne and Roussanne have never looked so serious. This is a profoundly reductive style of heightened struck flint and gunpowder, providing dimension and intrigue to fruit of tension, structure, energy and endurance rarely found on the Barossa floor. Patience.

92 POINTS // $22

Turkey Flat Vineyards
Butchers Block
Grenache Shiraz Mataro 2018

A benchmark Barossa bargain that masterfully deploys Shiraz and Mataro to build layers of black fruits and spice to the fragrant red fruits of Grenache. Mark Bulman’s talent at building finely textured tannins and superb mouth feel is on full parade, even in his entry red.

92 POINTS // $65

Teusner
MC Sparkling Shiraz 2013

Kym Teusner has established his place among the great sparkling Shirazes of the Barossa, and 2013 is right on form. Built around a core of classic Barossa black plum and liquorice, supported with dark chocolate French oak, this is a vintage of structural confidence and endurance. Firm, fine tannins frame a long and savoury finish that promises great potential. Patience.

90 POINTS // $27.50

Hentley Farm
Blanc de Noir
Vintage 2019

As idiosyncratic as it is unique, this charmat method, old barrel-fermented blend of mostly Pinot and Grenache presents a simple, fruity and savoury style of lingering fruit presence and spice. Oak and dosage have been cunningly deployed to create harmony and appeal, even in its desperate youth.