Winefront – Mike Bennie – Henty Farm Chardonnay & Pinot Noir 2010

Posted on 02 June 2011.
Let’s go a little freeform here. Adam Wadewitz, winemaker Best’s Wines in Great Western, co-dux of 2009 Len Evan’s Tutorial and highly regarded wine judge. Great winemaker above all actually. Thoughtful, erudite beyond years, detailed, but with sense of fun, youthfulness and yet gravitas at his inheritance of the Thomson and Best’s legacy of ancient vineyards and perpetuity. Jono Mogg, Best’s Wines and the Thomson’s man on the ground, a towering figure, big in stature but generous and gentle. Good people here. They meet while working at Best’s. They have an epiphany about Henty. They decide to do a little on the side, with blessings. They search for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vineyards with the aim to reveal more of a region that offered us the once-was yet waning brilliance of Seppelt Drumborg and the ongoing halo of Crawford River. They find parcels of top grade fruit from established vineyards, scramble to locate a place (or two) to crush, tip into old barrel or tanks, ferment in small parcels (115 and MV6 Pinot Noir clones), minimally intervene, then bottle.

The 2010 wines are their rookie release.

This is the first stuff to genuinely hit the market with commercial bent. Mogg says ‘we want to bring Henty out to the people, unearth its potential’ while Wadewitz says ‘we know its (Henty’) calibre, we just want to make some great wines from here’. Henty is one of, if not, the coldest mainland GIs in Australia. Ipso, the wines are filigreed, delicate and understated. Wonderful for their subtlety and fineness. Not for everyone no doubt, but certainly worthy of interest and geez, in their lithe forms, so very drinkable. Here they are…

Chardonnay 2010 (13%, $35): Incredible clarity to look at. Muted aromatics, florals, kaffir lime leaf, nectarine. Palate feels tight, light, showing very finely sliced white peach and washes of nashi pear. Fruit aside there is a mid-palate plunge that leads to chalky bridging phenolics and a hint of bitterness. Needless, it’s not marred by the brittle feel, instead it feels finely laced and pure, albeit a touch simple to drive home a statement. Appealing for its trimness and restraint with massive drinkability. Excellent and individual, especially at the price. 92 points, 2011-2016

Pinot Noir 2010 (13.5%, $35): Bright garnet colour, almost transparent. Vibrant bouquet showing a lifted, pure perfume of sweet spice, fresh red cherry, forest berries. A palate surprise, with a fleshier and plusher texture than the colour suggests. Slippery and quick to the lilting finish, the wine shows more of the bouquet fruits and feels made unashamedly in this more gentle, finer style. The gentle timbre of dusty tannin comes fleeting and offers some boundaries for the shape. Delicious. 92+ points, 2011-2019

Rated : 92/92+ Points
Tasted : JUNE11
Alcohol : 13/13.5%
Price : $35
Closure : Screwcap