Henschke launches Rose Grower Nebbiolo in UK

Renowned South Australian estate Henschke has released its Rose Grower Nebbiolo in the UK for the first time.

Johann Henschke's experience working in Piedmont has been valuable in the development of the Henschke Rose Grower Nebbiolo (far right) says (Photo: Henschke)

Johann Henschke’s experience working in Piedmont has been valuable in the development of the Henschke Rose Grower Nebbiolo (far right) says (Photo: Henschke)

The 2013 vintage of the Rose Grower Nebbiolo, which is made from Nebbiolo grapes from a single vineyard in the Eden Valley along with small proportion of Barbera, is available now through UK distributor Enotria.

The Rose Grower uses around 1% Barbera – the grape being used to give the wine “a more dense cherry core”, according to winemaker and viticulturist Johann Henschke.

The wine is made from Nebbiolo vines planted by the Henschke family (pictured right) in the Eden Valley in the early 2000s. The first vintage was produced in 2010, when the proportion of Barbera was 8%. This had been reduced as the Nebbiolo vines had matured, Johann Henschke said.

The fruit for the wine was destemmed, with hand-plunging and gentle extraction producing a pale-coloured, elegant style of wine. The 12.5% ABV wine was aged for 12 months in used oak barrels and a further year in bottle before release.

Henshcke describes the wine as having “fragrant aromas of cherry stone and rosehip supported by savoury notes of crushed graphite, dried sage and thyme”.

The palate is “delicate… restrained and tightly wound, with concentrated berry skin and red cherry flavours, vibrant acidity that builds complex intensity on the finish and fine, savoury tannins that provide focus and length”.

With just 200 cases made each year, the Rose Grower Nebbiolo is a relatively light, soft, low-tannin Nebbiolo – marking something of a departure from the more full-bodied Hill of Grace and Mount Edelstone single-vineyard Shiraz wines for which Henschke is best-known.

db reported last month on Henschke’s decision to release to back vintages of Hill of grace as a collector’s gift pack as compensation for its decision not to produce a Hill of Grace from the 2011 vintage.

“We’ve been playing around with Nebbiolo and Barbera in our Eden Valley vineyard for about 15 years now – so the vines went in in the early 2000s and we started making wine from the vineyard in 2010,” Johann Henschke said.

“We really couldn’t get high-quality enough fruit until the vines were round about 10 years old. [But] from there we were amazed at how the wines kept coming out.”

Henschke Rose Grower Nebbiolo 2013

Henschke Rose Grower Nebbiolo 2013 (Photo: Henschke)

Henschke explained that the Rose Grower was a wine informed by the winemaking experience he has gained in Italy from working with Chianti Classico pioneer Paolo De Marchi, who owns the Sperino estate in northern Piedmont.

“This wine I was probably a little bit more involved with because of my winemaking experiences and my parents hadn’t had that opportunity to travel to Italy to work vintages,” he explained,

“I had one experience and that was a really valuable experience with [the] De Marchi family – so Paolo De Marchi at Isole e Olena, with his Sperino project as well. That was where I got to dabble with a little bit of Nebbiolo.

Henschke explained that his aim was not to imitate the often high-tannin, high extraction Nebbiolos often associated with Piedmont, but to produce a more elegant and approachable style.

“What we wanted to do, first of all, was to really start quite softly,” he continued.

“I didn’t think the fruit that I had seen in Italy was handled very harshly and that the tannins were bitter; I remember pretty vivid tannin. and [initially], tasting our grapes, I felt we had too much green, bitter tannin.

“The result is we are making wines which are sympathetic to the age of the grapes and not trying to push this too far into the leaving on skins for 100 days and bringing something really sappy and extracted and hard to drink, but something which showcases the Nebbiolo variety in an elegant way.”

“We’re keen to see it sold over here and see what happens.”

Rose Garden named after the family that originally owned the property, the Roesler family. Was then a dairy farm. Then Henschke bought the property. Planted with alternative varieties, inc Tempranillo, but Johann said that Nebbiolo had really stood out as the exemplary young-vine wine.

Henschke’s Nebbiolo vines have been planted on rocky soils on an elevated foggy north-facing slope at the source of the North Para River overlooking the village of Eden Valley.

The name ‘Rose Grower’ derives from the Roesler family, who managed the property as a dairy for generations before it was purchased by the Henschkes.

The Henschke Rose Grower Nebbiolo 2013 is available now in very limited quantities – just 50 cases – from Enotria and carries a DPD list price of £27.50.

To discover db‘s top 10 ‘alternative’ Australian grape varieties, click here.

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