2009 Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon

Very deep crimson red in colour. Complex aromas of sweet blackberries, herbs, spices, cassis and violets are supported by nuances of cigar box, tar and smoked meats. The palate is complex and powerful with intense black fruit, spice and dried herb flavours; fleshy and layered with rolling grainy tannins and a beautifully long finish.

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2009 Cyril Henschke Cabernet Sauvignon

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The 2009 vintage was preceded by another cold, drought winter, with 399mm rainfall in Eden Valley for the year (a good year would see 500mm). It was the coldest August since 1951. Spring had a few heat spikes up into the mid to high 30s, some frost damage in low-lying areas, but very little rain during September and October. In fact, it was the driest September for 30 years and the driest October on record. Staggered flowering resulted from cool weather, which reduced the fruit set. Some varieties were also pruned back hard to just a few spurs to allow them to survive with no water. Rain arrived mid-December with around 65mm recorded, making it the wettest month of the whole year. The cool southerlies continued through into the new year, reminiscent of 2005. December didn’t record any days over 32C. January brought a record six days over 40C, not seen since 1908, causing vine stress, exacerbated by drought conditions and empty dams, followed by another week of hot weather culminating in a 46C day on Black Saturday on February 7. Fortunately subsequent weather was mild and dry, with perfect ripening weather from March 1 moving into autumn mode. A strong change brought a general rain across the state with 10-20mm in early March, which helped with ripening and flavor development. The Indian summer in late March brought ripening forward with all the whites finished and in the winery by early April.

In the Bottle

Vintage 2009
Grape Variety 81% cabernet sauvignon, 13% cabernet franc and 6% merlot grown on the Henschke Eden Valley vineyard.
Technical Details Harvest Date: 9-21 April Alcohol: 14% | pH: 3.53 | Acidity: 6.42 g/L |
Maturation Matured in 57% new and 43% seasoned French hogsheads for 18 months prior to blending and bottling.
Background This wine carries the name of Stephen’s father, Cyril Henschke (1924-1979), as a tribute to one of Australia’s outstanding winemaking pioneers, renowned for the production of varietal table wines with the accent on quality and flavour. Cyril planted cabernet sauvignon at Henschke’s Eden Valley vineyard in the 1960s.
Cellaring Potential Exceptional vintage, 25+ years (from vintage).

Vintage 2009. 20 July 2013, Tony Love, Adelaide Advertiser

Of course Hill of Grace gets most attention, but this year’s Cyril stands as tall in cabernet terms, fresh blueberry, blackberry and Ribena aromas leaping forward, then plenty of complex and concentrated florals and pretty spices to add sensory interest, the line, weight and purity of the wine simply beautiful.

Vintage 2009. 21 May 2013, Alex McPherson, Slow Magazine

Intense and heady, the wine smells of ripe blackberries and violets, followed by a richly flavoured and complex palate to match. With a lovely, long finish and surprisingly silky tannins for such a young wine, the 2009 Cyril Henschke is an outstanding wine from an outstanding vintage capable of ageing for many years yet.

Vintage 2009. 6 May 2013, www.Winingpom.com.au

Classic Cabernet aromatics, hints of earth, a floral lift, a hint of oak char and pine needles, some wonderfully harmonious tannin work at play seamless and long with structure to live for ever. 95 points

Vintage 2008. 20 July 2013, The Saturday Age

Typical of Eden Valley, it has a fragrant, leafy-herb note, as well as camphor and oatmeal. It is a restrained cabernet with cassis and red berries, tartness, spicy, cedary oak and lively acidity. Although released with four years bottle age, it is youthful and will gain complexity in the next eight years.

Vintage 2008. 1 February 2013, Mike Bennie, The Cream

It's set for the long haul, capturing mellow earthiness, leafy qualities and dark briary fruit, but in its current incarnation shows some benign and pleasing secondary fleshiness and softening. Concentration is high, but effortless tannins supple yet present and long. Impressive. 95 points

Vintage 2008. 09 Jan 2013 Gary Walsh, Winefront.com.au

Blackcurrant, truffle, cedar and sage – those smells typical of Cyril that some people really just love, which also invariably become even more pronounced with bottle age. It’s medium bodied with appropriate oak in support, firm but ripe tannin and a long savoury finish. No blurring of excess alcohol or unwanted acidity here, which is entirely admirable.

Vintage 2007. 19 June 2010, Ray Jordan, West Australian

Has an almost medicinal aroma with good varietal cabernet character mingling with some nice smoky oak. A juicy ripeness with fine elegance is a feature. Has some merlot and cabernet franc components which add a new dimension to the wine. Meaty firm tannins with plenty of fruit weight. 92/100.
Cellar: 15 years ($130). Perfect with scotch fillet.

Vintage 2005. December 2008/January 2009, Nick Ryan, Gourmet Traveller Wine

Shiraz gets most of the attention when it comes to Eden Valley reds, but this modern classic consistently proves cabernet can reach great heights too. Cassis, licorice and cedar leap from the glass, drawing you into a wine etched and defined in intricate detail.

Vintage 2005. 10 May 2008, Ray Jordan, West Australian - West Weekend Magazine

One of the best Henschke cabernets is the Cyril Henschke 2005 ($112). The vintage has resulted in a fully ripe varietal expression of cabernet with sweet lifted black currant and cedar on the nose and a palate of opulence and underlying power that has the structure to cellar for many years. 96/100. One of the best I have tasted.

Vintage 2004. August 2007, Dr Peter Hay, Australian Doctor

A fabulous complex cabernet from an iconic brand and sourced from the best vintage so far this decade. What more could you ask? One of the true believers and those with patience top wait five-plus years.

Vintage 2004. 28 April 2007, Max Allen, Weekend Australian

In previous vintages, Cyril has tended to blackcurrant mintiness - like drinking herbs steeped in Ribena...this new vintage, by contrast, is just brilliant: deeply concentrated, finely structured, full of intense, coiled complexity.

Vintage 2004. October 2008, Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar

A sexy bouquet displays candied red- and blackcurrant, dark cherry, cured tobacco, vanilla and cola. Lush, deeply concentrated cassis and cherry flavours are sweetened by a suave quality and complicated by smoky Indian spices. Very complex, with velvety tannins adding gently finishing grip. The length of this wine is superb.

Vintage 2002. August 2007, James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion

Excellent colour; a lovely wine, another in the stable to bounce back. Classic cabernet fruit with long, fine, cedary/savoury tannins; perfect balance. Rating 96/100.

Vintage 2002. July 2006, Nick Stock, The Adelaide Review

The colour is deep and rich and the cascade of berry fruit begins the moment it's poured. Very elemental at this stage, there's an earthy underlay of bramble and fruit-soaked leaves, some purple florals and sweet mint too. The palate is typically elegant and long, but this kind of precise balance and finesse is striking stuff. Irresistible now, it will cellar handsomely.

Vintage 2001. October 2005, Harvey Steinman, Wine Spectator

Polished, smooth texture and floral character make this distinctive, with a graceful range of cherry, plum and violet notes mingling as the finish persists.

Vintage 2001. November 2005, Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate

Exhibits a Bordeaux-like austerity as well as aromas and flavours of tobacco smoke, licorice, spice box, red currants, black currants, and sweet cherries. With an elegant, bright, zesty personality...

Vintage 1999. April 2003, White Philip, The Advertiser

Redcurrants, Ribena and violets ring the top notes; below simmers deep pit of coal tar and dark cooking chocolate flavours, with refined cedary, dusty tannins. It's truly a beautiful wine.

Vintage 1999. August 2003, Robert Parker Jr, The Australian Report

It boasts a dense ruby/purple color in addition to an elegant perfume of black fruits, loamy soil, and hints of mineral as well as spicy wood. Medium to full-bodied, pure, layered, and impeccably made.

Vintage 1998. February 2002, Lubiana Steve, Winewise

A superb meld of plums, zest/fruit peel and a touch of lead pencils. Fresh plums, some dark chocolate with a zesty tang of acidity bode well for the future of this excellent cabernet. Outstanding

Vintage 1998. May 2002, Geoff Merrill, Winefront Monthly

The sort of wine you could easily love forever without ever getting it into bed. Just take it to dinner and swoon. Complex - boot polish and sweet blackcurrant and offcuttings of oak on the nose, it's fleshy and immensely stylish on the palate, with diamond cut cassis and plum skiing through a very long palate...A stylist's wine, and a superb one. 97 points.