Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Hill of Grace is back, setting a new high

The Henschke family has been making wine since Johann Christian Henschke planted his first vineyard in the Barossa’s Eden Valley in the early 1860s. 

Today, fifth-generation winemaker Stephen Henschke and his viticulturist wife Prue are recognised around the world for their quality wines -and for Australia's benchmark single vineyard wine, the Hill of Grace Shiraz. 

A two-year wait for the release of the 2013 Hill of Grace will end on May 1. There was no Hill of Grace from the difficult 2011 vintage and numbers are down for both 2013 and 2014. 

The good news is that the 2012, successor to the stellar 2010, is a cracker that I scored 97/100 when tasted at yesterday's media and key trade preview at Lumé in Melbourne. 

Hill of Grace was revealed alongside several other new wines, which hit retail stores this week and include the 2016 Five Shillings Shiraz Mataro. 

While the new Hill of Grace will retail for a record high $825, the Five Shillings is an absolute bargain with an RRP of $33. 

Made from 10-year-old Barossa Valley/Eden Valley vines, it is vibrant and plush with brisk tannins that ensure it will cellar for a decade or two.

And what of the Hill of Grace, made from fruit grown on a four-hectare dry-grown vineyard in the Eden Valley, where the vines are believed to be amongst the oldest producing vines in the world? 
Johann, Stephen and Prue Henschke at the launch
Stephen Henschke says he was filled with joy when 2012 proved to be an exceptional vintage. “We experienced mild weather throughout the growing season, with a slow ripening period that delivered lower yields and intense fruit flavours, great colour, high natural acidity and beautiful, mature, fine tannins," he said.

"From my experience, the greatest wines we have made have been from vintages like this. Henschke Hill of Grace 2012 Shiraz is a captivating expression of this extraordinary vintage. 

"It has trademark alluring five spice, star anise and black peppercorn aromatics, with a palate of incredible length and purity wrapped by beautifully integrated layers of silky tannins and flavours that linger endlessly.” 

My notes describe it as "the complete package; inky but restrained, intense but balanced. It has a beauty that whispers and grows in the glass." And it is bottled under Vino-o-Lok as Stephen Henschke detests the unreliability of cork. 

Certainly well worth seeking out sooner rather than later. But do make sure to also taste the Five Shillings.    

For details see www.henschke.com.au or go to https://youtu.be/svgFUSQPy94 for a video presentation. 

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