2012 Tappa Pass

"...clear, strong, sweet flavours of blackberry and black coal, though brighter notes of violet and raspberry help here to create an immediate impression of both density and liveliness."
Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, 3 February 2015

Matching Recipe

Loin Lamb Chops
Very deep crimson in colour. Complex and pronounced aromas of blackberry, blueberry, anise and black pepper complemented by savoury hints of dried herbs, vanilla and cedar. Sweet layers of blue fruits on the palate are only the beginning of the journey, with a soft and textural mid-palate beautifully balanced by complexity and concentration, before finishing with fine-grained, elegant tannins.

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2012 Tappa Pass

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Additional Information

Vintage 2012
Grape Variety 100% old-vine shiraz grown in the Barossa (Barossa and Eden Valley).
Technical Details Harvest Date: 29 February-4 April Alcohol: 14.5% | pH: 3.57 | Acidity: 6.9 g/L |
Maturation Matured in 53% new and 47% seasoned French hogsheads for 18 months prior to blending and bottling.
Background The Barossa has a core of traditional growers of Lutheran descent dating back five generations, staunchly continuing the traditions of their forebears. Occasionally, one or two parcels of fruit of overwhelming quality come over the weighbridge; this is one suchexample. The 50-year-old, low-yielding vines are growing in low-fertility Neoproterozoic soils more than 542 million years old, ranging from terra rossa to red-brown earths. The fully ripe black shiraz grapes were sourced from three grower vineyards in Tappa Pass, Light Pass and Eden Valley and were vinified in traditional open-top fermenters.
Cellaring Potential Exceptional vintage, 25+ years (from vintage).


The La NiƱa pattern weakened during the lead-up to the 2012 vintage, resulting in below average winter and spring rainfall. July was the driest since the serious drought of 2003. Spring was mild with few frost events; however, flowering and fruit set were affected by wet drizzly weather in mid to late November, leading to only average yields. Summer was also surprisingly mild with below average temperatures from southerlies off the ocean in January and only two short heat events, at New Year and at the end of February. This provided for slow ripening which allowed for intense fruit flavours, high colour figures, high acidity and mature tannins. Rainfall leading up to vintage was above average, with the heaviest rainfall events in late January and late February, which tied in well with the natural physiology of the dry-grown vines; ie, keeping leaves active at veraison and ripening. Temperatures were mild during harvest through March, warming to an Indian summer in April, allowing for a long window of picking and amazing maturities with the red varieties. Standout varieties were riesling, showing delightful aromatics, purity, intensity, excellent acidity and length of flavour; and shiraz, showing great purity and spice, colour, intensity and strikingly mature tannins. Yields were average with exceptional overall quality.

Vintage 2012. 3 February 2015, Campbell Mattinson, Winefront

Interesting release. It’s certainly bold, as you would expect, with clear, strong, sweet flavours of blackberry and black coal, though brighter notes of violet and raspberry help here to create an immediate impression of both density and liveliness. Where it gets interesting is the input of black pepper and crushed ant flavour, mixed here with coffeed, creamy oak. It makes the wine more complex but it also makes it a wine of wider appeal than usual. It’s the best Tappa Pass Shiraz I’ve seen.

Vintage 2010. 1 July 2013, Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine

The colour is dark, almost black, and the bouquet is powerful with concentrated spice and red berry aromas; pristine and fresh. The palate is gutsy and dominant. The texture of the tannins is more rustic than those in the finer Eden Valley shirazes. Excellent wine.

Vintage 2010. 26 June 2013, Ross Noble, Mount Barker Courier

Described as from "fruit of overwhelming quality" in an outstanding vintage, this black beauty is a wine of luscious, rich flavours of blackberry, a hint of dark chocolate and silken tannins. Bottled at the Henschke winery with the innovative Vino-Lok glass closure, it should remain in pristine condition for many years, even decades.

Vintage 2009. 06 August 2013, Mike Bennie, www.winefront.com.au

... silky texture, fine ripples of satiny fruit with a tight thread of lacy tannin holding the wine together in its svelte shape. Fruit is perfumed, floral and pretty with a come-hither savouriness underlying. With time the wine shows its mettle – more power than you expect, layers of lacework-like complexity and a freshness that whips the palate clean through the finish with very fine, wet-pebble-like minerality. Composed and elegant, a superior kind of craftsmanship at play. Very good.

Vintage 2009. 19 June 2013, Chris Shanahan, Canberra Times

...It delivers the region’s lush, ripe flavours and tender tannins. Round, juicy, vibrant, sumptuous, soft and gluggable. Pretty yummy stuff, but also a wine with depth, layers of fruit and tannin and a medium to long future if well cellared.


Vintage 2007. 2011, Winsor Dobbin, Travel and Living

This is a big wine by Henschke standards with ripe, ultra-concentrated fruit along with complexity, density and extremely soft tannins. It’s a wine of depth; black, lush, chocolatey and inky, with glorious sweet fruit and layer upon layer of flavor.

Vintage 2006. October 2009, Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

Focused and distinctive for its supple texture and play of flavours, with raspberry, red cherry, blackberry, mint and cream. 95 points.

Vintage 2006. 15 September 2009, Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator

Lithe, focused and distinctive for its supple texture and wide play of flavour, hitting raspberry, red cherry, blackberry, mint and cream notes along the way as this heads into a long, expressive finish.
95 points.

Vintage 2005. July 2008, Harvey Steinman, Wine Spectator Insider

Smooth and silky. The flavours center on mocha, mint and dark chocolate around a core of black cherry, lingering effortlessly on the long, expressive finish. 91 points.

Vintage 2005. James Halliday Wine Companion 2009

An oaky bouquet, but with succulent red berry fruits and a cool spicy edge; quite tannic and rich, with a savoury persistence to the finish. 91 points.

Vintage 2003. May 2007, Huon Hooke, Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine

This is the second vintage of an amazing new red wine from Henschke sourced from old vines of growers at Tappa Pass. The 2003 has a fragrant ripeness, intense blackberry jam, cassis and dark plum flavours, and is seductively fleshy with fine, slippery tannins.

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

Highly charged and fragrant blackberry, licorice and prune aromas; lots of dark chocolate joins in on the palate, with very good French oak in support. A particularly auspicious debut. Rating 95/100.

Vintage 2002. February 2006, Huon Hooke, Sydney Morning Herald

A new wine, 2002 Tappa Pass Shiraz , is one of the most exciting wines of the past year: a sumptuous, spicy/meaty, blackberry-flavoured wine that is so complex it's hard to describe.