McHenry Hohnen, a tasting with David Hohnen, 2009

I met up with David Hohnen of McHenry Hohnen in London to taste his latest releases from Margaret River, Western Australia.  He’s refreshingly straight-forward and down to earth for a guy who founded Cape Mentelle and Cloudy Bay,  firmly rooted to the land with his rare breed Wiltshire sheep and Tamworth pigs as well as the vines to mind.

And mind them well he does, the stand out wines for me being traditional Margaret River strength the Chardys and, stepping outside the region’s magic circle varieties (Chardy, Sem/Sav and Cabernet/Merlot), the 3 Amigos Red Shiraz Grenache Mataro/Mourvedre.  New release the Rolling Stone delivers plenty of drinking pleasure with finesse – I reckon the lesser Bordeaux varieties, Petit Verdot and Malbec,  add value to Margaret River’s core grapes Cabernet and Merlot, bringing aromatic lift and succulence to the palate.

I’ll be heading out in September to check out his new food outlet (presently under construction) on Caves Road in Margaret River, so watch this space for more info.

McHenry Hohnen Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (Margaret River) – a little more richness than previous vintages nonetheless with good freshness, (pea pod and lime) to its core of stone fruit.

McHenry Hohnen 3 Amigos Marsanne Chardonnay, Roussanne 2007 (Margaret River)
– rich stone fruits with vanilla, nice balance and texture.  The plan is to replace the Chardonnay with Viognier.

McHenry Hohnen Calgardup Brook Chardonnay 2008 (Margaret River) – always well done, this single vineyard Chardonnay is tightly structured and mineral with steely grapefruit and riper, sweeter citrus (mandarin) with cashew.  Hohnen says down by the brook the site is protected from the last hour or so of sun which lends restraint.

McHenry Hohnen Rocky Road Chardonnay 2008 (Margaret River)
– a second single vineyard Chardonnay from a north-facing sunnier site, it combines richness of stone fruit, savoury texture and citrussy mouthwatering acidity – Hohnen says “Chardonnay delivers fruit at an early stage of ripeness so we pick on acid” and it shows – both wines have a lovely balance.

McHenry Hohnen Shiraz 2007 (Margaret River)
– typical of Margaret River with relatively round, open knit plum with attractive spice – liquorice and dried supported by sinewy, firm but ripe tannins.

McHenry Hohnen 3 Amigos Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro 2007 (Margaret River)
– a personal favourite from the range, this has a deep hue and lovely depth and layers on the palate with a pronounced savoury, meaty, peppery edge to its plum and berry fruit and a mineral undertow.  Those sinewy tannins add to the firm, dry, layered impression.  Very good.

McHenry Hohnen Tiger Country 2006 (Margaret River) – an unusual blend of Tempranillo, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon, this is really juicy with lots of bright cherry and red and black berry fruit, a hint of 2006 (a cool year) stalkiness but well within the bounds (in fact adding lift and balanace); well managed fine tannins.  Plans are afoot to include some Graciano in future blends.

McHenry Hohnen Rolling Stone 2007 (Margaret River) – a thoroughly delicious blend of equal parts Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.  A lifted, vibrant nose with violets and black cherry which follow through on a fleshy, succulent palate with a spicy liquorice undertow; velvety tannins complete this super drinkable package.

McHenry Hohnen Rocky Road Zinfandel 2008 (Margaret River)
– loaded with sweet cherry and raspberry ripple flavours with just a hint of raisiny fruit (the variety’s bunches tend to ripen unevenly).  Lush fruit and ultra smooth tannins make this a satisfying, smiley wine.

Sarah Ahmed
The Wine Detective
April 2009

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