In The Eden Valley, a wet 2016 winter provided a good foundation for Henschke’s dry-farmed old vines. A cool, wet, and windy spring followed, with a slightly higher rainfall than in the Barossa Valley, which delayed flowering. Conditions during fruit-set meant that yields were at average levels. The summer months were mild with frequent rainfall. This allowed the grapes to reach full physiological maturity. A mild period of ripening finished with the harvest starting in mid to late April, a month later than the 2016 vintage. The last grapes were picked in mid-May. As always, careful hand picking in the vineyard and sorting of grapes as they came into the winery ensured quality was not compromised. This cool but exceptional vintage has produced wines with precision and character, reflecting the purest expression of both variety and vineyard. The 2017 vintage was not copious in quantity but was more generous than the ‘tiny’ 2019 and 2020 vintages to come.
According to Stephen Henschke, the 2017 wines are akin to high quality vintages such as 1992, 2006 and 2012, all of which were late, cool seasons and have shown excellent ageing potential.
99 points "Muscular with great vitality and sensuality, Hill of Grace 2017 combines gravitas with grace. Supple swathes of fruit – blackberry with blueberry and red cherry – come scented with china ink, tinder bush, black pepper, star anise, wattleseed, tea leaf and baking spices. Tobacco pouch, mulch and subtle game undertones strike a savoury note. Rafts of seamless, spicy tannins build and buoy layers of flavour. Terrific authority, strength, complexity and length. Drinking Window 2023 – 2047"
"62/24/11/3 shiraz/cabernet sauvignon/cabernet franc/merlot. Matured 18 months in (19% new) seasoned 85/15% French/American oak hogsheads. I love the transparency of the Barossa's cooler seasons, in such articulate detail here that all 4 varieties are clearly visible in all their glory. Unashamedly medium bodied, refreshing and enticing, yet in no way underpowered, simplistic or short lived. Crunchy berry fruits, fine-ground tannins and vibrant acidity unite to marvellous effect and outstanding line and length. It takes some skill, dexterity and humility in the winery to allow fruit of such elegance to really sing. A classic Barossa blend with a long future before it."
Kaleidoscopic, this glorious vintage is terroir translucent, transporting you to the vineyard with its signature aromas of dried sage, Eucalyptus olida (aka Strawberry Gum), wild mint, wattleseed, nutmeg and tinder. Soaring and super-expressive, these scents bring compelling dimension and meld exquisitely on the sweet, juicy plum and bramble palate, with its cocoa nib and earthy hints. Graceful, willowy tannins and mineral acidity make for a long, fluid, markedly perfumed finish. Irresistible already! Drinking Window 2022 – 204
Marc de Grazia hails from Piemonte but championed the revival of Mt Etna wines back in the early 2000s when vineyards cost almost nothing - now land on this majestic volcano is some of the most sought after in Europe and the wines have become globally recognised for quality and distinctiveness. He created Tenuta della Terre Nere (land of the black earth) in 2002 and has been instrumental in identifying and classifying the finest 'cru', or contrada as they are known locally, on the prestigious northern slopes of Mt Etna where the vines take some respite from the Mediterranean sun thanks to aspect and altitude.
Etna Bianco wines are rare, with white grapes constituting just 4% of the vineyard area of Mt Etna.
The two white Crus from the Northern area, denominated with the Contradas of origin, respectively Calderara Sottanaand Santo Spirito, are composed of Carricante from old and young vines. At very high altitudes on the southern side of Etna Marc de Grazia has also discovered an area in Montalto where the Carricante thrives particularly well and we are thrilled to offer this cuvee for the first time. All the whites are fermented and aged in 10-hectolitre barrels. These are wines with rare complexity and structure which bloom wonderfully over time - they will reward your patience.
While we eagerly await the September release of the 2020 Etna Rosso’s, we are also delighted to have secured an extra allocation of the outstanding 2019 Etna Rosso from the ‘Premier Cru’ Moganazzivineyard and ‘Grand Cru’ Calderara Sottana
“Having vinified grapes from that area for six years on an experimental level, and certain of their exceptional grace, I was very lucky to be offered a tiny vineyard from which my favorite white grapes came. The area is known as Montalto, although it is not classified as a Contrada. And here, at 950 meters, in the most perfect and constantly breezy aspect, lies my small and very old vineyard. And here one finds that freshness of climate which perfectly compensates for the full southern exposure. The first vintage produced is 2019 – a pearl”.
‘Unlike Calderara Sottana, this wine has a more open and exuberant nose – thanks to the generosity of the huge amount of volcanic ash characteristic of the Contrada. If the Calderara Sottana is a tenor, the Santo Spirito is more a soprano: the freshness is more accentuated, as is the spring vivacity, floral and rich expression of its very fine nature.’
“Between the two crus, Calderara Sottana has the densest, most masculine character: an intense, long, very long, majestic wine. We believe our new Carricante plants, located in the highest part of Calderara, will complete it with added agility and fresh vigor.”
“Moganazzi and Guardiola with Santo Spirito closely following, have always been considered the best terroirs of the Municipality of Castiglione, the largest of the northern slopes of Etna. Consequently, in 2007, when I discovered a very small plot of Moganazzi for sale, I grabbed it without hesitation. But it was so tiny that I decided to dedicate its splendid wine –three barriques! – to a charity project linked to the Meyer pediatric hospital in Florence. Three years ago we managed to buy an adjacent parcel and rent another piece immediately next to it. So, with the 201 harvest I began to bottle the Moganazzi cru also for Terre Nere”.
"The soils of Calderara Sottana are easily recognizable, even at a glance. Of all the crus of the Etna DOC they are certainly the stoniest. So much so that in some areas you can’t see the ground from the stones that cover it. Fist-size, light, a mix of black pumice and basalt. The word itself, Calderara, recalls heat, probably born from the warmth that the black stones retain and transmit back to the earth on cold nights. Locally Calderara and its wines enjoy an extraordinary reputation. Our Calderara Sottana is the result of very old vineyards, from 60 to 10 years of age. Of all our crus it is perhaps the most complete: just as a wide-angle lens includes the widest panorama, so our Calderara seems to contain and exhibit the widest spectrum of flavors, aromas and nuances."