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The story of Henschke winery starts with the journey of Johann Christian Henschke, when he dramatically escaped from Germany to Australia back in 1803. In 1847, Johann established in Barossa Valley, where he purchased some land in Krondorf village and built the house that would become the winery (which stands to this day.) It was in 1862, that he planted the first vineyard and 6 years later, he released the first vintage of Shiraz and Riesling.
Today, this Australian flagship winery is still in the hand of the Henschke family. After more than 200 years of learning and perfecting the business, the estate fell into the hands of the sixth generation, Johann, and his wife Angela. Johann is an Australian celebrated winemaker who studied at the University of Adelaide. He forged his way in the world of wine by working in renowned wineries worldwide like Leeuwin Estate in Australia, Felton Road in New Zealand, Isole e Olena in Italy, and Arietta in Napa Valley. Johann’s wife is not strange to wine either, she comes from the Torremilanos family in Ribera del Duero in Spain.Both make a great team with Johann leading the winemaking and viticulture area and Angela taking the lead in the marketing side of the company.
The family has 4 different vineyards located in Eden Valley, Barossa Valley, and Adelaide Hills. All the vineyards are managed with sustainable, organic, and biodynamic viticulture. They confirm that “Since we started using organic and biodynamic practices, we’re seeing the benefits in greater expression of aromas and textures in the wines from all our vineyards.”
All these vineyards produce top-tier wines that are among wine critics' favorites. However, the jewel on the crown of Henschke is “Hill of Grace” a vineyard that produces the epic wine that’s named after it.
Hill of Grace is an 8-acre single-vineyard shiraz planting, with vines that are over 160 years old, becoming among the oldest in the world. The vines are planted in a perfect terroir of alluvial, sandy loam over clay soils. The result is magical, a wine that has truly become an icon and reference of the TOP Australian wines in the world.
Henschke Hill of Grace Shiraz is a legendary wine, and every year, this wine gets very solid and powerful praise from major wine critics, 2012 was no exception. This vintage was awarded a perfect 100 score by Falstaff who described it as "an exceptional wine." Wine Advocate, who blessed it with a near-perfect 99pt review and said that "This is a truly great Hill of Grace" and James Halliday, who, besides granting it a 99pt score, called it a "flawless Hill of Grace."
This wine is extremely rare and highly allocated.
Aging: 18 months in 83% French, 17% American oak barrels.
Tasting Notes: 100% Shiraz. Very deep crimson with violet hues. Captivating briary blackberry and mulberry aromatics lead to alluring exotic five spice, star anise, and black peppercorn, with herbaceous notes of thyme and dried basil, supported by slight gamey hints. The palate has incredible length and purity, with a focussed core of blackberry and plum fruit, wrapped by beautifully integrated layers of silky tannins that linger endlessly with flavors of sage leaf and blackcurrant skin.
Deep dark ruby, opaque core, purple reflections, faint brightening on the rim. Dark berry confit underlaid with nuances of dried herbs, black cherry, ripe blackberry, a hint of Asian savouriness, and noble wood. Immensely complex and fruity, on the palate ripe plum, blackberry, mature supporting and at the same time silky tannins, fine wood savouriness, substantial-finish lasting for minutes, built for many decades, an exceptional wine. ~100 Falstaff
Medium to deep garnet colored, the 2012 Shiraz Hill of Grace is a little reticent on the nose to begin, opening out to a somewhat paradoxically tantalizing black forest cake, beef dripping, fertile loam, and tree bark nose with hints of black pepper, Marmite, bay leaves, eucalyptus, licorice and baker’s chocolate. The medium to full-bodied palate is a wonderfully intricate mélange of mineral, savory, dark fruits and spice layers, framed by velvety tannins and refreshing acidity, finishing epically. This is a truly great Hill of Grace that has just entered the first stage of its drinking window and should continue to develop beautifully over the next 25+ years. ~99 Wine Advocate
It's been worth the wait, and then some, for this is a flawless Hill of Grace. It's an old cliche, but it's unavoidable: it is the ultimate iron fist in a velvet glove. While the fruit remains supreme, there are savory tannins to support the 50-year cellaring potential of the wine. It is bottled under a screwcap, not the elegant Vino-Lok of past vintages because you want the most secure closure for ultra-long cellaring. The wine? Perfect color, fragrant dark cherry/berry aromas and flavors, positive tannin and French oak support, great aftertaste. ~99 James Halliday
One of the great iterations of this regal single-site wine. Very spicy, dried ground baking spices on the nose as well as dried sage leaves and other roasting herbs and a kind of wet chalky element too. Not the saturation and swagger of 2010 or 2009, a very tightly cut palate that's contained and reserved. Plenty of fine layers here and the sustained length is a real thing of marvel. The nose has all the blackberry and dark cherry fruits on offer with a wealth of fresh-roasted coffee, plums and blackberry. Tight and contained, real elegance with power and a long, fresh and even-handed finish. Best give this some time to fill out. Will be complete around 2025 and historic tastings would suggest it will really peak around 2035. ~98 James Suckling
From the relatively cooler climes of Eden Valley, Henschke's most famous wine focuses on expressing the unique terroir of its 10 acres of 150-plus-year-old vineyards rather than on power, oak, and extraction. This translates to savory and earthy secondary characters at the fore, highlighting herbal notes with licorice, currants, and cocoa powder. The palate is silky and savory, and while the toasty oak notes are apparent, they're kept in check with wonderfully balanced acidity. Approachable now, it will morph into a thing of stunning beauty with time. Drink now–2037. ~96 Wine Enthusiast
The original vines were 100 years old when Cyril Henschke made the first vintage of Hill of Grace, named for the Gnadenberg Church that watches over the vineyard. His family had sustained those vines while propagating new blocks from the “Grandfathers,” a program his nephew Stephen Henschke has sustained, in part, by marrying well—his wife, Prue, is one of Australia’s leading viticulturists and has dedicated no small part of her career to studying what sets the Hill of Grace vineyard apart and developing selections from its ancient vines. While rarity and demand have sent the price into the stratosphere of the world’s top wines, this 55th vintage stands in that company with the kind of clarity and numinous elegance few parcels of vines in the world can give. It has a weightless concentration of flavor that transforms meaty black cherry, licorice, and olive notes into a lasting impression of freshness. It’s also there in the texture, which feels ample, rich, and as transparent as fine silk. A great vintage of Hill of Grace, 2012 will likely be at its best between ten and 20 years from the vintage, and will live well for decades. ~96 Wine & Spirits
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