2012 Hentley Farm "The Beast" Single Block Shiraz Barossa Valley (Elsewhere $85+)
*2015 Winery of the Year* Hentley Farm has a single-minded focus on producing what is as close as you're ever going find in Australia to a Grand Cru Burgundy or a First Growth Bordeaux. Estate-grown grapes come from a single block high on the hill, with shallow soils and even sunlight exposure resulting in very small berries. Deep, saturated crimson-purple paints the scene for a wine bottled Jan '14, with untold layers of black fruits, ripe tannins and integrated oak; bitter chocolate and poached plum flavours are in the mix too. Tasted 2 months after being bottled, but the requisite balance is already apparent, and will guide the long-term development of the wine.
Made from fruit selected from a single block on the western ridge of the Barossa Valley, Hentley Farm 'The Beast' is a robustly structured Shiraz showing great fruit density and impressive drive across the palate. Dense black plum and berry fruits come to the fore supported by hints of liquorice, black olives, macerated summer berries, kirsch, dark chocolate, well-judged spicy oak and purple-flower notes. Impressive heft and flow across the palate with excellent fruit purity, ripe melt-in-the-mouth tannins and a sense of freshness throughout its length - all considering the richness of the fruit on display. An impressive wine from one of the region's current stars. Drink in 2020. (JS)
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2012 Shiraz The Beast is just a little closed at this youthful stage, but with coaxing reveals an abundance of warm blackberry and black cherry notes complemented by licorice, marmite toast, dark chocolate and menthol nuances. The densely packed, full-bodied palate does not disappoint with tons of spice and savory layers on offer, supported by finely grained tannins and harmonious acidity, finishing with great length. (LPB)
Lithe and expressive, dripping with plum, blackberry, mint and floral flavors, gliding across the refined tannins and lingering on the finish with expression and elegance. Has presence and tremendous depth. Drink now through 2025. (Speaking of Hentley Farm) Over the years the wines have gone from very nice to extraordinary...(HS)
Winemaker's Notes: "On the nose the wine has dense dark fruits, black olive, tapenade, and earthy aromas. Black fruits persist on the palate; particularly blackberries bursting from the mid palate. Tannin profile is prominent, particularly at the front, but does not detract from the great length. Like all great vineyard sites, this block’s expression of rich fruit and ripe, supple tannins result from the interaction between two key variables: soil and microclimate. Red clay loam topsoil overlying massive clay with bluestone at depth allow the creation of naturally low yields with intensive flavours. The block’s position is elevated and enjoys long, even sunlight exposure, further intensifying the aromatic and flavour profile."