2012 Abbotts Prayer

"...terrific wine with poise, power and elegance."
21 October 2015, Nick Stock, JamesSuckling.com

Matching Recipe

Osso Buco Pie
Deep crimson with red hues. Inviting aromas of blueberries, ripe plums, mulberries and cassis with attractive nuances of anise, pepper, freshly crushed herbs and cedar. The opulent, richly fruited palate is lush and layered, with flavours of dark plum, wild forest berries and spice, balanced with restrained texture and fine-grained tannins, for a long, elegant finish.

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2012 Abbotts Prayer

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Additional Information

Vintage 2012
Grape Variety 79% merlot and 21% cabernet sauvignon grapes grown on Stephen and Prue Henschke’s Lenswood vineyard in the Adelaide Hills.
Technical Details Harvest Date: 11-18 April | Alcohol: 14.5% | pH: 3.51 | Acidity: 6.58g/L
Maturation Matured in 32% new and 68% seasoned French hogsheads for 18 months prior to blending and bottling.
Background Fifth-generation winemaker Stephen Henschke and his wife Prue selected Lenswood in 1981 as a new vineyard site, just 50km from the ancient Mount Edelstone and Hill of Grace vineyards in the Eden Valley. At 550m, the Lenswood vineyard slopes offer not only beautiful views toward the old vine country but also higher rainfall and humidity at the right time of year, cooler temperatures to retain natural acidity, and still enough sunshine to fully ripen the grapes. The Abbotts Prayer label links together the history, religion and pioneers of this mountainous region. The property along Coldstore Road, including the vineyards in the area originally known as Abbotts Flat, was established in the late 1800s and pioneered by the first settler, T N Mitchell.
Cellaring Potential Exceptional vintage, 20+ years (from vintage).


The beginning of the Adelaide Hills season for the 2012 vintage saw cold winter conditions with below average rainfall. Rainfall was also below average in spring with mild conditions and an early budburst. Flowering and fruit set were affected by persistent morning fogs and drizzly weather, which led to a reduction in crop and smaller bunches. Summer was mild with average temperatures influenced by moderating southerlies off the ocean in January and only two heat events, at New Year and at the end of February. The coldest periods were the second week of January and the second week of February. This provided for slow ripening, which encouraged intense fruit flavours, high natural acidity and good balance. Rainfall leading up to vintage was above average, with the heaviest rainfall events in late January and late February. Temperatures were average going into an early harvest at the beginning of March, warming into an Indian summer in April. This allowed for a long window of picking, finishing on April 20.

Vintage 2012. 21 October 2015, Nick Stock, JamesSuckling.com

A cool-climate Claret of sorts, this Adelaide Hills blend of merlot (79%) and cabernet sauvignon (21%) is in great form, this vintage with bright mulberry and red plum fruits laced with cassis and blueberry, gently leafy, really bright, vibrant and gently spiced with one-third new and the remainder seasoned oak. The palate has a succulent and concentrated style to it, tannins are fine and whilst really a medium-bodied wine, this has plenty of power. The red plum and mulberry flavors run long and even, a lick of toasty oak warms the finish, terrific wine with poise, power and elegance. Approachable now but best from 2018. 96 points.

Vintage 2010. 02 June 2015, Des Houghton, Courier Mail

This is already a thrilling wine, a powerful, attention-seeking red with multiple layers of fruit flavour.

Vintage 2010. 03 February 2015, Campbell Mattinson, www.thewinefront.com.au

Merlot-cabernet blend out of the Adelaide Hills – the region seen, by some in the Henschke family, as the future heart of Henschke wine. Blend of merlot (68%) and cabernet sauvignon. Fragrant and awash with ripe fruit but sinewy and grassy through the finish. Plenty to enjoy up-front but all the right ingredients to age well. Tobacco, dust, gravel and a luscious mix of boysenberry and blackcurrant. (Dark) chocolatey oak. Almost guaranteed to perform well in the cellar.

Vintage 2010. 1 August 2014,Tyson Stelzer, WBM

Cabernet is up to almost one-third of the blend to balance the warm 2010 season. The result is elegant, vibrant and medium-bodied yet full and fleshy. Cabernet lends impressive support of finely textured, peppery tannins.

Vintage 2010. 1 June 2014, James Halliday, Wine Companion

A 68/32% blend of merlot and cabernet sauvignon with excellent colour, open-fermented in the square vats Henschke uses for all their red wines, and matured in French oak. It is an elegant and precise wine, with cassis fruit on a foundation of firm, but not dry or abrasive, tannins. Will age with guaranteed charm. 93 Points

Vintage 2010. 22 April 2014, Tony Love, Hobart Mercury

One of the Henschke elites, this is a merlot (68%) and cabernet sauvignon blend (32%) that highlights its dominant grape via all the most desirable characters: pure purple berry and plum fruits with lifts of violets and cassis and blue berry florals, a typically fleshy weight in the mouth building structure and a wonderfully satisfying minerally texture in the finish. Most impressive.

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

Lots of spicy plum , damson, dark chocolate and lots of bright red fruit with great structure, and balanced tannins that lend great weight. Nicely concentrated on the finish.

Vintage 2008. April 2011, Ralph Kyte-Powel, The Age

It’s an elegant wine with a core of subtle red berry, redcurrant, cedar and dried herby notes. The silky, almost delicate palate is fragrantly seductive, lingering and very poised.

Vintage 2008. July 2011, Drinks Trade

Combines the spicy flavours, violets and plum characters of merlot and the dusty, fine-grained tannins and length of palate of cabernet sauvignon.

Vintage 2008. July 2011, Sally Gudgeon, Qantas The Australian Way

On the nose are violets, exotic spice and mulberries. The palate has fleshy fruit flavours backed with ripe tannins and lipsmacking acidity.

Vintage 2005. 11 June 2008, Tony Love, The Advertiser

A 64/36 per cent blend of cool Hills merlot and cabernet sauvignon, the pairing shows good balance underneath a concentrated blackberry, plum, violet aromatic top side. It feels a bit of a sleeper at the moment, but has genuine power and a twist of spicy oak for an exotic edge in the finish. 91 points.

Vintage 2005. October 2008, Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar

Ripe dark berry aromas display good freshness and are complemented by smoky minerals, fresh rose and cured tobacco. A suave vanilla note gains momentum with air and carries onto the palate, which shows vivid black raspberry and cassis character. Finishes sweet and silky, with excellent spicy persistence.

Vintage 2005. February 2008, Tony Love, The Adelaide Review

Plenty of mulberry and poached plum aromas, some fragrant lift and cabernet cassis, ripe but cooly restrained, it will cellar well. A little earthy stony edge, fresh cut oak soaked deep into the fruit with smart cedary complexity. A solid core of flavour wrapped into chewy tannins, finished balanced and silky with a faint echo of oak char.

Vintage 2003. July 2009, David Sly, SA Life

Layered complexity of a bouquet rich in violets, mulberries, cedar and fruit cake…this wine achieves a lush meld of complementary flavours…giving superb depth and structure to a palate that is bound by fine-grained tannins and bright acid...

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

Clearly delineated varietal character with a mix of red berries, olive, leaf, spice and herb; good mouthfeel and length. Rating 92/100.

Vintage 2001. December 2006, Peter Forrestal, Qantas The Australian Way

One of this wines outstanding features is its evocative fragrance of violets and summer forests. A wine of finesse with layers of flavours and fine tannins.