About this WINE
McHenry Hohnen Vintners
David Hohnen is renowned throughout the world of wine as the founder, with his father John and brother Mark, of the family winery in Western Australia which became Cape Mentelle. Later, David was closely involved when Cape Mentelle set up Cloudy Bay Vineyards in 1985 and remained so until he left in 2003 ton return to the Margaret River.
Murray McHenry has a background in fine wine retailing, owning “Steve’s Hotel Wine Shop”, regarded as having the widest selection of Australian and imported wines in the whole of Australia. After branching out into wholesaling Murray planted his first vines in Margaret River in 1984 and today farms grapes at two sites in the region. The Margaret River viticultural zone is home to some of the more restrained styles of wine made in Australia, the result of cooling breezes which drift in from the Indian Ocean.
The vineyards which supply fruit to Hohnen McHenry are McHenry’s, Calgardup Brook, McLeod Creek and Rocky Road, all exceptional sites from which much of the harvest is still sold to Cape Mentelle, but from which the pick of the crop is retained for their own wines.
The aim is to make very natural wines which reflect their terroir and which receive minimal intervention from the winemaking team with new oak used only sparingly.
Located on the most south-westerly point of Australia, three hours’ drive south of Perth, the Margaret River region sprang to life during the 1960s and 1970s as a result of Professor Harold Olmo’s and Dr John Gladstone’s research into the region’s viticultural potential. Consequently Vasse Felix was planted in 1967, Moss Wood in 1970 and Cullen in 1971. Since then the plantings have grown exponentially, while the number of wineries has increased six-fold. This explosion of wineries has perhaps been to the detriment of the wine quality.
Bounded to the west by the Indian Ocean and the 90km Cape Naturaliste to Cape Leeuwin promontory, the region enjoys a benign if damp maritime climate in which the vines rarely shut down, causing disrupted flowering (exacerbated by strong, westerly sea winds). Over the growing season it’s 16 percent hotter than in Coonawarra and 7% than the Médoc.
The Cape ridge is made up of lateritic clay topsoils over weathered granite and gneiss, giving fruit with a relatively high pH. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most fancied variety,producing a lush, early drinking style, followed by Shiraz, Chardonnay and Sémillon.
Southern Rhône Blend
The vast majority of wines from the Southern Rhône are blends. There are 5 main black varieties, although others are used and the most famous wine of the region, Châteauneuf du Pape, can be made from as many as 13 different varieties. Grenache is the most important grape in the southern Rhône - it contributes alcohol, warmth and gentle juicy fruit and is an ideal base wine in the blend. Plantings of Syrah in the southern Rhône have risen dramatically in the last decade and it is an increasingly important component in blends. It rarely attains the heights that it does in the North but adds colour, backbone, tannins and soft ripe fruit to the blend.
The much-maligned Carignan has been on the retreat recently but is still included in many blends - the best old vines can add colour, body and spicy fruits. Cinsault is also backtracking but, if yields are restricted, can produce moderately well-coloured wines adding pleasant-light fruit to red and rosé blends. Finally, Mourvèdre, a grape from Bandol on the Mediterranean coast, has recently become an increasingly significant component of Southern Rhône blends - it often struggles to ripen fully but can add acidity, ripe spicy berry fruits and hints of tobacco to blends.