Eden Valley is a cool part of the Barossa that produces the great Shiraz wines of Henschke. Old Butts refers to the gnarled, tree-like vines similar to those you see in Gigondas and other areas of the Southern Rhone. According to the label, sap flows more slowly in these 80-year-old butts, creating deeper and more complex flavors. Likewise, the cool climate of the Eden Valley leads to slower and more complete ripening of the grapes. This is my kind of wine!
The label mentions a red/purple hue, but this has clearly become lighter and more amber after 22 years. An intriguing bouquet, more like the Domaine Thalabert we had last week than the Penfolds Bin 128 from Coonawarra. Black raspberries but more meaty than fruity. Anise seed, leather and peppery spice. Good tannic backbone. Aged in both American and French oak, but neither has had a noticeable effect on smells and flavors. Full on mid-palate, but the finish is what makes this wine remarkable. Red berries, cherries; savory and salty; more like a French rather than an Australian Hermitage.