Hentley Farm Clos Otto Shiraz 2019
Founded in 1997 by Keith and Alison Hentschke, Hentley Farm embarked on a remarkable journey with a singular vision: to create exceptional single estate wines that showcase the distinct character of the Barossa Valley. Prior to this endeavour, Keith's extensive credentials in Agricultural Science and Wine Marketing, earned through his studies at Roseworthy College, set the stage for his pursuit of excellence in winemaking. During his years of preparation, Keith diligently explored the region, seeking guidance from local winemakers and viticulturalists who pointed him in the direction of the Barossa's red/brown soil over limestone.
Armed with this invaluable knowledge, he strategically located the finest parcels of land using an old soil map from the 1950s. This quest led them to a picturesque mixed farming property nestled among the rolling hills along the banks of Greenock Creek in the western region of the Barossa. Here, they discovered a remarkable diversity of soil types, varying aspects, and altitudes, forming the foundation for their winemaking pursuit. In 2004, Hentley Farm expanded its estate with the acquisition of a neighbouring vineyard that shared the coveted natural amphitheatre of rolling hills surrounding the property. This addition further enhanced the diversity of the site, solidifying Hentley Farm's position as a single estate spanning 150 acres of pure vinous potential.
Keith's background as an agricultural scientist played a crucial role in the meticulous exploration and understanding of the land before the planting process could commence at Hentley Farm. With a keen eye for detail, he delved into the unique characteristics of the site, discovering the intriguing influence of altitude differentials and variations in the east-west aspect, which resulted in unexpected microclimates. Collaborating with local viticulturalists, Keith embarked on an extensive endeavour to explore the diverse soils present on the property, employing the excavation of forty soil pits throughout the site. The extraordinary diversity of soil, aspect, and altitude presented both an opportunity and a challenge that demanded careful planning and precision in the vineyard layout. Factors such as varietal selection, clone selection, row spacing, orientation, trellising methods, and water management were meticulously considered.
As a result, Keith and his team devised the concept of "viticultural blocks," dividing the single vineyard into nine distinct blocks based on similarities in soil type, aspect, and climate. Each block was further subdivided into rows to account for variations in soil, aspect, and microclimates. The vineyards were planted with a selection of grape varieties, with Shiraz comprising 70% of the plantings, followed by Grenache (17%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), Zinfandel (2%), and a small parcel of Viognier (0.5%). In 2002, the first wines from the property were released, showcasing the exceptional results of Keith's meticulous planning and the team's dedication to crafting wines of distinct character and quality.
With his tenure beginning in 2008, Head Winemaker Andrew Quin has played a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of the vineyard, dedicating himself to the creation of contemporary wines that embody the essence of traditional Barossa varieties. Andrew's unwavering commitment to innovation and excellence has left an indelible mark on the vineyard's evolution, ensuring that each bottle reflects the harmonious marriage of time-honoured grape varieties with a contemporary winemaking approach. With a keen focus on showcasing varietal diversity, the wines of Hentley Farm captivate with their allure and accessibility in their youth, while possessing the depth and structure necessary for extended cellaring. Andrew's dedicated stewardship has firmly established Hentley Farm as a prominent boutique winery in Australia, garnering acclaim from around the world, including the prestigious title of 2015 James Halliday Winery of the Year. Every bottle released from Hentley Farm tells a unique tale of the vineyard and the vintage, with production volumes limited by the boundaries of the estate and the conditions of each specific harvest.
Complexity, opulence, and balance are all words coming to mind when thinking about the Hentley Farm Clos Otto. The vines were planted by the previous owner Otto Kasper using a cutting from an ageing Shiraz clone, and tended to with older antique machinery ad a well-practiced hand, the Clos Otto vineyard consistently yields super low quantities with ultra rich flavours.
Ink black heart into a glass-coating deep purple rim. Dark fruits, lifted North African spices and black olive tapenade on the nose. Deep and dense on the palate, dark fruits, loam and bay leaf show early then roll into a melange of spices, blood and stones. Undoubtedly full-bodied but the fine brush of acidity and gravelly tannins control it and bring a vitality that’s unexpected. Lingers forever on the palate. A great example of big Barossa handled with great care and attention. - Stuart Knox, The Real Review
The Finer Details
Style - Red Wine
Varietal - Shiraz
Country - Australia
Region - Barossa Valley, South Australia
Vintage - 2019
Bottle Size - 750ml
ABV - 14.9%