A red blend for Valentine’s Day in the Vail Valley | VailDaily.com

A red blend for Valentine’s Day in the Vail Valley

Jarrett Osborn
Finds from the Vine
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado “-Hey, Vail Valley, forgot Valentine’s Day? Need a last minute gift, one that you both can enjoy? The wine cupid is here for you. Pick up a bottle of 2004 Henschke Keyneton Estate “Euphonium,” an awesome red blend from the Barossa Valley in Australia. Unique is the word to describe this blend: 39 percent Shiraz, 24 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 23 percent Merlot, 9 percent Cabernet Franc and 5 percent Grenache. The wine is a beautiful mix of these grapes and their flavors. The Shiraz gives the brambly fruit and a touch of mint, the Cabernet Sauvignon the backbone and chewy tannins, the Merlot a little more mint and more blackberry flavors, the Cabernet Franc a lovely dark berry and sweet tobacco hint, and the Grenache just a touch silky dark cherry. They meld together seamlessly, with a dark oak lightly acidic finish adding even more complexity.

Johan Christian Henschke planted his first vineyard in Keyneton, Australia, in 1861. He produced his first commercial wine in 1868, and his son and grandson continued to expand operations. In 1958, fourth-generation Cyril Alfred Henschke made the first Hill of Grace Shiraz, one of the greatest wines from Australia. Fifth-generation Stephen, and his wife, Prue, are the current winemaker and viticulturist, respectively. Stephen ages the Euphonium for 18 months in a combination of new and used French and American large barrels.

The Henschke Euphonium is perfect for a big steak but its chewy tannins, earthiness, and herbal/mint notes mean it will also pair well with grilled lamb. The wine is also silky and rich enough to just enjoy on its own. The Euphonium is a rare brass woodwind instrument used in the Henschke Family Brass Band, formed in the late 1800s in the Keyneton area. The 2004 Henschke Euphonium is $45.

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