Henry’s Drive 2009 The Trial of John Montford Cabernet Sauvignon


As I received this as a pigeon pair with the Dead Letter Office Shiraz, I thought it reasonable to taste (and post) them close together.

This wine is named for a local bushranger, John Montford, who was convicted for robbing a mail coach near Naracoorte. He had covered his face with a brown hanky, holes cut out for his eyes and this was recovered from his swag, thus providing the evidence for the conviction. CSI south eastern Australia style!

Anyway, that provides the wine with a colourful back story which is only well and good if the wine can deliver.

In the glass, a quite intense ruby red.

The nose was similarly intense, with blackcurrant and vanilla the most dominant notes, but also some minty and stalky characters along with a touch of soil and licorice.

In the mouth, there was a ton of juicy fresh blackcurrant, with some licorice and a touch of warm spice. The acidity and persistent tannins were well balanced and, despite its 14% abv, there was no heat.

I really liked this wine: I found it approachable, enjoyable and really lovely. I preferred this over the Shiraz by just a whisker (although my other half disagreed).

It looks like the only place you can purchase this wine is through Henry’s Drive.

And just so you know how subjective this wine tasting mullarkey is, this wine received 89 points in the James Halliday Wine Companion (2013), where it is described as “soft, simple and accessible” and yet Lisa Perotti-Brown MW (Wine Advocate) gave it 92 and wrote “this wine offers complex flavours”.

Proof that you need to make up your own mind (no hanky needed).

This wine was a sample.  RRP is $32.
14% abv.

Henry’s Drive 2010 Dead Letter Office Shiraz


One of the perks of my gig at (the sadly now defunct) Sumptuous was the lovely selection of wines I got to taste. While I did have input in the theme of the wines, and I did get to make suggestions as to wines to taste, there was always at least one wine I didn’t pick. Which I thought was great, because it was a surprise. And I’m also inherently pretty lazy. When it comes to dining out, the shorter the menu, the better. If it comes as a set menu – result. Set menu with matching wines – double result. I don’t have to make any decisions!

So I was pretty happy to visit my GPO box and find two bottles from Henry’s Drive. Henry’s Drive is based in Padthaway (Limestone Coast), in the south eastern corner of South Australia. It’s not a brand I’d come across before so I came to both bottles with no preconceptions.

Henry’s Drive has the bulk of its vineyards in Padthaway, with just 30 acres in McLaren Vale. The fruit for this Shiraz is sourced from both regions: an almost even split in this release, the scales just tipping slightly in favour of McLaren Vale (55:45).

In the glass the wine was intense. Ruby red in colour, with a pronounced nose showing black plum, spice, licorice and tar. There was also a hint of vegetal character.

This black fruit dominance carried through onto the palate but there was also vanilla, spice and a touch of black pepper on the back palate. The wine had a lovely savoury finish with an aniseed/licorice kick to it. The wine had a good level of acidity and soft tannins that provided weight and structure but weren’t drying. The tannins, alcohol and fruit were all very well integrated, making this a well balanced and easy to drink wine. It might be 14.5% alcohol but you wouldn’t know it.  While this is lovely to drink now, you don’t need to be in a hurry to drink it either.

Although this was a sample, the RRP is $25. If I’d paid $25 for it I’d have been pretty happy. The internet suggests that you may be lucky and able to find it under $20, in which case you’d be even happier.

This wine was a sample.
14.5% abv.