With lovely packaging of heavy glass bottles, plush velvet-textured labels and delicious age-worthy wines inside, these new releases from Hentley Farm are sure to impress, whether opened now and decanted for a few hours or left to lie gently in a cellar to age for twenty years or more. Top stuff.
Hentley Farm H-Block Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2018
Planted in a single block near the banks of Greenock Creek, the vines for this wine, one of Hentley Farm’s ‘Luxury’ range, have created an inky and jewel-like red, shimmering in my glass now like a fat ruby in an Arabian sultan’s crown. Blackberries, blueberries – actually, it’s all the fruits of the forest simmered in a rich compote leaping right out of the glass. This wine is intense, it is ripe and complex: the flavours are multilayered, with couverture chocolate over heady and exotic aromatic spice and rivers of those black shiraz fruits. The cabernet shines through with After Eight choc mint notes and autumn leaf. The texture is of velvet and the palate weight rich. And whilst the alcohol is up there at 14.8%, it holds well in seamless balance with acidity, the rich fruit intensity and chewy tannins. This will be lovely to revisit in ten years, but I imagine it will last a lot longer than that. Very classy.
This would have to be a match for a one-kilo slab of grass-fed rib eye on the bone, rubbed with thyme, salt flakes and olive oil, and seared over hot coals until its fat is rendered, and crispy, and the flesh is charred but juicy, then served just with a little dressed rocket. Perfect.
Hentley Farm Clos Otto Shiraz 2018
From a single block vineyard that yields tiny quantities of fruit comes the Clos Otto shiraz, the signature wine from Hentley Farm. The bottle is eye-catching but in the glass the wine stops me in my tracks, the colour is so incredible; it is fathomlessly dark, super inky and almost impenetrable. The smell is luxe and rich, with deep, dark fruits, flashes of violets and lilac and the interior leather of a luxury car; mouth-wateringly delicious. I’m actually salivating with the heady aromas before I’ve even taken a sip. In the mouth the wine is silken, creamy and intense, rich and ripe, mouth-filling and intoxicating. All the components are in balance, the fine tannins, the fruit weight and acidity are like a symphony, but there is something else going on, something ethereal and otherworldly… the wine has power and wisdom, it’s like a Baby Yoda, approachable in youth but still has so far to go. Like a galaxy far, far away… Anyway, it’s delicious, and powerful, and a great example of iconic Barossa shiraz.
To match the power and weight of this wine, Guillaume’s daube of Wagyu beef with Paris mash immediately springs to mind, an intense and rich pairing, the wine having the acidity and class to cut through the mountains of butter in the dish and the richness of the fall-apart beef cheeks. I think this could well be my ‘death row’ meal!
Purchase the Hentley Farm wines here.