To produce the Shiraz “Mount Edelstone” Eden Valley Henschke the grapes from the 104-year-old vines were hand harvested in the cool of the morning. Individual blocks of this single vineyard were picked separately and remained so throughout the vinification process until the final blend was made. Once in the winery, the grapes were destemmed and lightly crushed into small, concrete, open-top fermenters. A submerged cap was performed in order to manage a slow tannin extraction. The fermentations were controlled with pump-overs being performed twice daily. After 7-10 days and just prior to reaching dryness, the fermentations were gently pressed to barrel with the primary fermentation finishing in 80% French and 20% American oak (19% new and 81% seasoned) hogshead barrels. The wine was aged in barrel for 18 months before blending and bottling. It was then aged for a further three years in bottle prior to its release.
The 16 hectare Mount Edelstone vineyard, situated at 400 metres above sea level in the Eden Valley, was planted in 1912 by Ronald Angas, a descendant of George Fife Angas, who founded South Australia. Unusual for its time, only Shiraz was planted. Now on its 64th release, Mount Edelstone is the longest continuously produced single-vineyard Shiraz in Australia. The ancient 500-million-year-old soils are deep red-brown clay-loam to clay, resulting in low yields from over 100 year-old dry-farmed, ungrafted centenarian vines. Organic and biodynamic practices in the vineyard are supported with undervine mulching and permanent cover crops. Three quarters of the vines are trained on a Scott Henry trellis to increase sun exposure and promote earlier ripening; the remainder are on original two-wire trellises to allow a drooping canopy and reduce shoot vigour.
The Henschke family have been making wine at their estate in the Eden Valley since 1868. Fifth-generation winemaker Stephen Henschke took over running thewinery in 1979. Together with his viticulturist wife Prue, they have taken their two single vineyards, Hill of Grace and Mount Edelstone, and transformed them into two of Australia’s most sought-after wines. Through a combination of great viticulture from Prue, who is at the forefront of re-introducing native plants into their vineyards to improve biodiversity, and winemaking from Stephen, they have built upon their inheritance and turned this traditional producer in to one that is celebrated all around the world.