Henschke are a unique style and family story. Long compared with Penfolds Grange, Hill of Grace could not be more opposite. Hill of Grace comes from a single 4 ha vineyard of Shiraz in the Eden Valley, an elevated sub-region of the Barossa Valley where the vines are 400-500m above sea level. The oldest part of the vineyard was planted in 1860 and its been within the Henschke family for 6 generations.
Hill of Grace is the most sought after, single-vineyard wine in Australia. Production is estimated at 2,000-2,500 cases (6) per year depending on vintage conditions. Matured in 85% French and 15% American (29% new, 71% seasoned) hogsheads for 18 months prior to blending and bottling.
The Henschkes are a sixth-generation family in the Eden Valley, Barossa. Husband and wife Stephen and Prue Henschke are the winemaker and viticulturist, respectively, and it is clear to see that a close life union plays out so eloquently in the wines. Each vintage, the wines take on characters distinct to the vintage, yet the vineyards manage to speak through both the maker and the seasons. A triumph of high quality, expressive, precise Australian winemaking. 2017 was a cool and reticent vintage, falling in line with other late-ripening vintages such as 2012, 2006 and 1992. In terms of fruit expression, I found these to be a true reflection of the reticent nature of the year in which they were grown. They were quiet and shy upon opening and took a day of air to reveal the nature that they possess. The Hill of Grace and the Mount Edelstone this year were lighter and littered with umami/savory deli meat/truffle/mushroom characters, more so than I can recall in previous vintages. The density of tannin that comes with the old-vine fruit ensures that the wine, particularly the Hill of Grace, retains its character and presence in challenging vintages. If ever there was any doubt about the power and resilience of old vines, one only must look to the Hill of Roses (Shiraz vines yet to come of age, within the Hill of Grace vineyard) to witness the inherently lighter frame and decidedly redder fruit profile. It's a masterful cut that Pru Henschke has made, a clear line in the sand, for now.
The 2017 Hill of Grace Shiraz offers notes of blueberry skin, crushed granite, essene of cassis, blackcurrant pastille, black tea, hung deli meat, white truffle and mushroom. It is inky, intense, black and dark, with seemingly endless length. The palate is initially sweet, with a real "bottom of the pot" jasmine tea bitterness to the tannins, however, this remains ajunct to the nose, which is decidedly savory. What is clear, is that the old vines shine through the conditions of the vintage; they shine through the hand of Stephen, and they show a density and solidity of texture that young vines achieve through so few hands. This wine was perhaps a touch meatier (not chunky, literally referring to meat/pastrami/deli meats) and more savory than expected. However, it remains a thundering display of line, length and complexity. 96pts, Erin Larkin, www.roberparker.com
We have been proudly selling Henschke wines for many years, and are their official stockist in the UK. Please note, that this is stored at ideal, temperature-controlled conditions in our bonded warehouse, and might therefore take up to one week to be delivered.