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Discover the distinction of the Henschke family

The Wine Selectors Wine of the Month for June is the Henschke Henry’s Seven Shiraz Blend 2013. The Henschkes, one of Australia’s most successful wine dynasties, are six generations strong with fifth generation winemaker Stephen and his viticulturist wife Prue at the helm and the sixth generation – Johann (winemaker), Justine (marketing and public relations manager) and Andreas (Henschke ambassador) – all involved.

Henry’s Seven

The Tasting Panel chose the Henry’s Seven to match with nonya style chicken thanks to its savoury nuances of rosemary, sage, pepper and anise, which match perfectly to the spicy, fragrant characters of the dish. To this Stephen adds, “Our deep garnet coloured Shiraz blend from the Barossa is a perfect winter warmer in June with its plush texture and fine, velvety tannins.”

A few of Justine’s favourite things

As you can imagine, the Henschkes live and breathe wine, but, of course, there’s more to the family than grapes and ferments. So to help you get to know one of the faces behind the name, we quizzed Justine Henschke on eight of her favourite things. Of course, if you want to find out why Justine thinks her family’s region is so perfect for grape-growing, check out the video chat we had with her.

1. Book

Coco Chanel by Justine Picardie. I love to read biographies, and read this a number of times to prepare for an internship with the company.

2. Movie

Erin Brockovich – a dramatization of a true story. Julia Roberts plays a sassy American legal clerk and environmental activist. I enjoy all of her films.

3. TV show

Game of Thrones. It’s just…so…shocking that it’s addictive. The creators really know how to construct a cliff-hanger.

4. Restaurant

Matt Moran and Peter Sullivan’s Chiswick in Woollahra, Sydney. I lived across the road for a little while. It was dangerous!

5. Breakfast

That Little Place, Stockwell, Barossa – it has only recently opened and does great coffee and nourishing food.

6. Lunch

Artisans of the Barossa Harvest Kitchen – the ‘Feed Me Menu’ is the way to go.

7. Dinner

FermentAsian – for Tuoi’s Vietnamese and Thai cooking using local produce and Grant’s extensive wine list. They’ve created a warm atmosphere and offer something a little different, which the Barossa has certainly embraced.

8. Time of day/night

Sunset. Who doesn’t enjoy that time of the day when you can finally wind down with a glass of wine? And even better when you can find yourself a great view.

Watch our exclusive video interview with Justine Henschke talking about the magic of the Eden Valley.

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Passing on the Passion
Australia’s next generation of winemakers really have the goods. Producing amazing wines, from contemporary takes on much-loved favourites, to new and exciting blends and varietals, they’re taking Australian winemaking into the future. Some, like this talented bunch are blessed to have winemaking in their blood, with invaluable skills, knowledge and experience passed down from their fathers. We asked each of them the same two questions; how do you see the future of your family winery? And what influence has your father had on you and your winemaking? Ben Portet and Dominique Portet – Dominique Portet “Exciting and bright. Innovation and productivity is key to our family story and we feel proud to be part of the Australian wine landscape.” “His determination, flare, and pioneering spirit are been huge qualities that I admire greatly. I'm extremely fortunate to work with my father Dominique and share his same vision for quality.” Rob Ellis and John Ellis – Hanging Rock “It’s interesting, my parent’s original goal in the 1980s was to produce around 15-20,000 cases of really top quality wine from Heathcote and the Macedon Ranges, sell it all in six months and live the rest of the year in France. Over the years the model has changed and we are currently producing about double the quantity with grapes coming from all over Victoria. Slowly but surely my sister and I want to get back to the original plan – especially the France part.” “My dad John is an amazing winemaker. One of his biggest talents is the art of blending. He was the first person in Australia to make a Cabernet Merlot . He could see that Merlot filled the natural hole in the mid palate of the Cabernet , making it a more complete wine. Our Sparkling wine ‘Macedon’ is a blend of up to 30 different components from different vintages, varieties, clones and barrels. It’s quite a challenge to fit them all together, picturing how they will taste in up to 15 years. Dad has taught me a lot in this regard. Dad and my grandfather (Murray Tyrrell) both instilled in me from an early age not to rely on numbers (baumé level) when deciding when to pick grapes – the most important part is tasting the grapes to ensure they have the right flavour. For that reason, I drive thousands of kilometres each vintage going to vineyards to taste and sample the fruit myself.” Alex Cassegrain and John Cassegrain – Cassegrain Wines “As Cassegrain Wines moves into the future, we’d like to continue to build upon our brand profile, increasing our foothold in the export market. We have a very good presence in Japan and would like to expand on this further.” “My father John has had a profound influence on my career as a winemaker. As well as sharing his love and passion for wine, he has imparted a great sense of respect for terroir and the appreciation of different regions. Winemaking is in many aspects a science, but it is also an art; his philosophy of getting the most out of each parcel has been fundamental to not just my own learning, but also the individuality of our product.” Luke Tocaciu and Pat Tocaciu – Patrick of Coonawarra “Patrick of Coonawarra has been through some difficult times recently, with the loss of my father, Patrick, three years ago. It has also arguably been one of the toughest times in the wine industry through this period. To be able to grow and develop the business since then has been a great achievement. This gives me confidence that my father’s legacy will continue and the future is bright for Patrick of Coonawarra.” “My father had a huge influence on both my life and my winemaking – I always wanted to follow in his footsteps and be a winemaker from an early age. To be able to work together in the family business for a few years was a huge achievement and one that he was very proud of. He had the knowledge and experience of years in the industry and I had the ‘fresh out of university’ science background. He trained me to make a lot of decisions on taste rather than what the numbers tell you. This has given me a greater appreciation for the tradition of winemaking and helped me to balance this with the modern technology that we use today.” Chris Tyrrell and Bruce Tyrrell – Tyrrell’s Wines “I see the future of Tyrrell’s Wines being a continuation of the last few years of repositioning our business. Gone are the days of trying to play with the big boys and wanting to be everything to everyone. I think that we now really know our strengths, in the Hunter Valley making high-end single vineyard wines as well as our vineyard in Heathcote. I also see Tyrrell’s continuing to be the beating heart of the Hunter Valley and a leader in the Australian Wine Industry. It’s an exciting time and I’m very much looking forward to the challenge.” “My father Bruce has taught me more that I think I will ever know. We are so different, just as he and his father Murray were. We are both obsessed with making the best wine possible, and that’s one of the main things I have taken from him. If it’s not worth doing well, then don’t do it. And the vineyards are the key, without them we are nothing. Also to surround yourself with the best people you can find in areas that aren’t your strength.” Jason Sobel and Kevin Sobel – Kevin Sobels Wines “We’re fortunate to live in the Hunter Valley, one of the oldest and best known wine regions in Australia. Enjoying stable growing conditions which allows us to make a variety of wine styles, and being located in what is recognised as the most visited wine tourism region, I believe our business has a great future.” “What I have learnt from my father Kevin is that winemaking is always evolving and that you have to produce wines that are different and interesting as well as the traditional styles characteristic of the region.” Jen Pfeiffer and Chris Pfeiffer – Pfeiffer Wines “I feel very positive about the future for Pfeiffer Wines. My parents started Pfeiffer Wines 32 years ago and over all those years they have developed a very loyal following of "pfans of Pfeiffer"! I came home and started my winemaking career in 2000. Apart from the 17 vintages I have worked in Australia, I have also worked vintages in France and in Portugal. I see the future here taking on some grape varieties from the Iberian Peninsula to add to our extensive portfolio of grape varieties and wines. That way we will work alongside the changing weather patterns and adapt our vineyards in grapes and farming practices. It is a challenge but I have always been invigorated by a challenge.” “My dad, Chris, is one of my mentors. I don't have many but I truly value those that I have. I have learnt so much from them all but especially from Dad as we have worked together for so long. Over my 17 years making wine here at Pfeiffer Wines, my Dad has given me a free hand to experiment, take risks and make changes...be it all under a watchful eye, especially at the start. We do all our barrel tastings together and consult with each other after tasting the wines independently and making our own assessments. I really value my Dad's opinion, after all, this is his 43rd vintage!”
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Rutherglen Legends Campbells Wines
What makes Rutherglen so special? Rutherglen has a very unique climate. Our heat degree days are about in line with the Clare Valley , but we have more sunshine hours than any other wine region in Australia. This means our grapes get more exposure to sunlight so we can make our table wines earlier in the season. Also, we normally have nice dry autumns that enable us to get much riper fruit for Muscats and Topaques. Rutherglen is also a very unique region because we work very closely together as a group – we call it ‘coopetition’. We cooperate and work together when we’re out in the bigger scene and at joint promotions and when we’re at home, we’re competing with our neighbours. What are some of the winemaking challenges Rutherglen presents? Just this year we had not overly hot temperatures, but up in the mid-30s for 10 days in a row and that brought all the grapes on very, very quickly. We’re in some interesting times because as a winemaker you can’t foresee these things, you’ve got to deal with them when they happen. But I find it difficult to believe that the dramatic changes in vintages have been caused by climate change, because it’s too sudden. While I’ve got no doubt that our climate will change and it is, climate change is going to be a slow, developing thing that will happen over time. What have been some of Campbells’ proudest achievements in recent years? We’ve done a lot to promote our fortified wines, our Muscats and Topaques, including developing the classification system and repositioning them as icon wines. Our Muscats are highly regarded all around the world and in 2010 renowned wine critic Harvey Steinman gave our Merchant Prince Rare Rutherglen Muscat 100 points in Wine Spectator magazine. This was the first time in the magazine’s history that an Australian wine was awarded a perfect score. So if we hadn’t repositioned the Muscats and Topaques they would have probably become a bit of a curio. Instead, we’ve been able to turn that around to something that has been a growing quality market. Having said that, however, it can be a challenge getting people to try these wines because they just associate them with Christmas lunch. So we’re in the process of revamping our fortified range with the help of a mixologist to show people that you can drink these styles any time. The other thing that’s been very rewarding is our movement with Durif. We’ve had Durif in the area for over 100 years, and because we had phylloxera, no cuttings can be taken out of the area, so we’re really proud to have the original clone. However, nothing was ever really done with it until Mick Morris made a table wine out of it about 30 years ago. Then we made our Barkley Durif in 1992 and having recognised that it was a pretty special wine, we worked on it to develop a style that was more drinkable as a younger wine, but still with longevity. Now, every Rutherglen producer has Durif and I don’t think I’d be wrong in saying that it’s their most expensive wine and that’s been a real coup. Your world class fortifieds are obviously an incredible asset, but do you think the message is getting out there that you do fantastic table wines too? No, that’s something that’s developing all the time. We’ve been trying new varieties, we’ve got a lot of Rhône varieties grown here now and that’s only happened in the last 10-15 years and also we’re trying varieties from Portugal, Spain and even into Italy to prepare ourselves for what we would say is climate change. The Wine Selectors Wine of the Month for July is your Limited Release Cabernets 2012, which features Ruby Cabernet. This isn’t a variety that we hear much of, can you describe its appeal? Ruby Cabernet is interesting because the first wines were made down around the Riverland , etc., and they weren’t very smart, they were overcropped and Ruby Cabernet ended up with a bad name. But John Brown and ourselves planted it here and we found that at the normal crop level it makes a totally different wine. It’s just a lovely wine that holds its fruit very well and ages well We’ve matched it in our 2016 calendar with slow roasted lamb shoulder with Middle Eastern spices and cumin yoghurt sauce. What are your favourite food matches with this wine? I’m pretty basic with my food – just a nice steak would probably suit me very well.
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Dream Vertical With Tahbilk
Words by Paul Diamond on 6 May 2016
Most can appreciate that survival in the wine game is no walk in the park. Exposure to the vagaries of weather, economics, politics and trends are all factors that can sink a wine business quicker than you can grow a vine. Despite that, Australia’s wine industry is filled with impressive stories of families going into business, surviving decades, flourishing and producing beautiful liquid all the way. The story of the Purbrick family is one and the 150+years they celebrate goes beyond impressive and lands somewhere in the inspirational ball-park. Tahbilk is an Australian success story that is not talked about enough and whilst they were anointed ‘winery of the year’ by Halliday recently, the family’s contribution to the Australian Wine landscape is sadly underrated. It could be the ebb and flow of wine fashion, but rarely do you read or hear that the Purbrick family are the custodians of the oldest and largest holdings of Marsanne on the planet. The family could have quite easily shifted their focus to Sauv Blanc during the 1990s and chased profit, but they stayed the course, realising the importance of the long game, heritage and just how glorious Marsanne can be. From their entry level wines to the complexity of the 1927 Vines, the Tahbilk Marsanne is world beating and they have been making it for well over a century. As part of the celebrations of the 150th release of their 1860 Vines Shiraz, Wine Selectors Tasting Panellist Adam Walls and myself travelled to Tahbilk and joined 4th Generation CEO and Chief Winemaker Alister Purbrick for a tasting to explore and revel in this Australian wine treasure. A special place Tahbilk is located along the Goulburn River within a mosaic of billabongs, creeks, waterholes and wetlands that in turn create a special meso-climate that is cooler and milder than that of the surrounding area. The sandy loam soil contains a high concentration of ferric-oxide that imparts unique characters in the wines and manifest themselves in different ways across their impressive range, particularly Marsanne and Shiraz. The vertical begins We started the tasting with 1927 Vines Marsanne and the bracket, dating back to 1998, reinforced how delicious these wines are. Picked young with relatively low acidity, the fruit is allowed to oxidise and then is pressed. The free-run is simply fermented, producing a fairly neutral wine that, like Riesling, develops its characters in the bottle. The younger wines have aromas of beeswax, lanolin and spiced lemon curd, whilst on the palate they are soft and elegant with citrus cream, minerals and apples. As these wine age, all the flavours and aromas remain, but they deepen and as each year passes, they develop layers of beguiling flavours. Standouts were the 2005, the 2000 and the 1999, but all were unique and special. Next came Shiraz, one of the first varieties planted at Tahbilk in 1860. Half a hectare of those gnarled, resilient old vines have survived and become some of the oldest pre-phelloxera Shiraz in the world. Accordingly, this glorious plot is recognised as one the 25 great vineyards of the world. When the vintage conditions are perfect, the fruit from these vines becomes the Purbrick family flagship ‘1860 vines’ Shiraz. This four-wine bracket was a true celebration of history and it was hard to fathom that as these vines were just sprouting, the foundations were being laid for what still remains today as the operating winery and cellar. Critics greater than I have rated the Tahbilk 1860 Vines Shiraz amongst the world’s great reds and I have to agree. Earthy, old-school aromas billow out of the glass and manifest as complex and bright red and black fruits laced with spices and herbs. In the mouth, the experience is almost overpowering - intense but elegantly balanced fruit lines driven by cherry and blackberry. The 1860 Shiraz, just like the vines that they come from, are made to last and reflect winemaking that has changed little since Alister’s grandfather Eric Stevens was at the helm.
Two Blues Sauvignon Blanc 2014
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