BAROSSA VALLEY – 2020
The 2020 vintage will be remembered for excellent quality wines from the Barossa Valley, albeit reduced yields caused by poor conditions at flowering and the extremely dry winter, spring and summer of 2019/20. The 2019 winter and spring resulted in the driest start to the growing season ever, in line with 1939 and 1961. Growth in early spring was weaker due to a hotter than average October. November was a challenging month with some frosts and wet and windy conditions during flowering. Bunch size was normal, although with fewer berries having set, it resulted in more open clusters. Significant heatwaves from mid-December to the end of January reduced shoot growth and berry size, however at the end of the month over 40mm of rain fell, alleviating the stress just before veraison, followed by a cool ripening period in February with just three days over 30°C. Vintage was early, beginning in late February and finishing by late March. The fruit ripened in near-perfect conditions, resulting in optimal and excellent wine quality (colour, aromatics, flavours and tannin maturity). Bunches were loose and pristine, while the yield remained quite low, at about 50% of average. The 2020 red wines are intense in colour, exceptionally fragrant, spicy and well-structured.
Barossa Valley – 2019
Vintage 2019 shaped up to be a challenging one, with below-average yields, however the quality was very high, with beautiful expressions of varietal character and generally good balance and structure. The hand-picked fruit that arrived at the winery in the cool of the morning was clean, with good concentrated flavours. A dry winter, spring and summer with warmer than average temperatures in January and February lead to the advancement of maturity of all grape varieties in the Eden Valley and an early onset of vintage. The later-ripening varieties, riesling and cabernet were standouts, however most varieties were of a very high standard, including shiraz despite miniscule yields.
Barossa Valley – 2018
A moderately wet winter combined with average spring conditions meant that vines grew well in the mild weather. Ideal flowering conditions in late spring/early summer lead to the potential for near-average yields. Late December became warm and dry and assured for healthy canopies with low disease pressure. The summer months of January and February were typically hot and dry but extreme heat periods were shorter than in recent memory, characterised instead by well above-average overnight temperatures. March and April provided the light and warmth which lead to full and balanced maturity being achieved across all grape varieties. All in all, the 2018 vintage will be considered a standout of this decade, fittingly so in the year we celebrated our 150th anniversary of family winemaking.
Barossa Valley – 2017
Picking began two weeks later than usual and a mild period of ripening finished with the last grapes being picked in the first week of May. A wet 2016 winter gave us a good foundation for a cool, wet and windy spring, with spring temperatures approximately 2C below average Wet soils, combined with cooler temperatures resulted in slow shoot development, however the lack of stress in the vines meant that the flowers developed well. Favourable weather during flowering resulted in good fruit set. A mild summer with regular rainfall events followed, which allowed the grapes to reach full physiological maturity. The significant rainfall events largely missed the valley and the fruit was harvested in healthy condition. As always, careful hand picking in the vineyard and sorting of grapes as they were crushed made sure that quality was not compromised. 2017 was a classic vintage for Henschke, with well-balanced wines exhibiting beautiful fragrance, spice, purity and elegance.
Barossa Valley – 2016
The 2016 vintage began with well below-average winter rainfall, followed by a warm and dry spring, which enhanced flowering and set to give average to above-average yield potential. Low disease pressure was maintained by one of the hottest Decembers on record, though temperatures cooled down in the New Year and rainfall around veraison in late January gave relief to the old, dry-grown vines. This was followed by further rainfall in early March which eased the stress on all varieties. The fruit matured with an earlier harvest, as predicted due to an early Easter. Open, light and airy vine canopies allowed for good flavour, sugar and colour and mature tannins to develop at harvest, which was overall characterised by average yields but very high quality.
Barossa Valley – 2015
A traditionally wet winter, mild spring and excellent fruit set provided a great start to the 2015 vintage after four vintages with below average yields. Spring was dry and led into a very mild, dry summer with no disease, resulting in fruit with higher natural acidity, and incredible flavour and colour concentration. January started with dry, hot and windy weather however by the end of the first week, relief came with 60-75mm of rain and a record-breaking coolest January in 11 years. The rushed and somewhat compressed vintage began in late January and was one of the earliest on record. The mild weather that followed from February allowed for an extended ripening period for later red varieties, such as Grenache and Mataro providing for excellent yields and exceptional quality showing extraordinary flavour, purity of fruit, excellent balance with the potential for excellent ageing.