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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, 2017 was no exception.
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.
A rather refined Hill of Grace with roasted meat, smoked meat, and juicy plums. Some mushroom and forest-flower character, too. It’s medium- to full-bodied, juicy and savory. Light white pepper at the end. Underlying finesse and elegance to this. The flavor does not go away. From biodynamically grown grapes. Drink or hold. ~99 James Suckling
Australia's finest single-vineyard site? I think so. With its core of gnarled shiraz vines planted circa 1860 and its picture-perfect location alongside the Gnadenberg church, it is a much-adored and discussed vineyard which has been producing stellar wines since the first single-vineyard Hill of Grace was released in 1958. Today, those original vines are bolstered with its 'young' 100+ and 35+yo kinfolk and aged in 83/17% French/American oak hogsheads (29% new) for 18 months. Grace by name, grace by nature; it's a perfectly framed, an elegant snapshot of pristine fruit, site and season. Precisely ripened berry fruits are underscored with notes of Asian five-spice, sage, jasmine, licorice, mocha, blackberry pastille, charcuterie, wild flowers and cherry clafoutis. Pitch-perfect and elegant on the palate, the tannin-acid architecture tuned and sympatico with the pristine ancestor-vine fruit and a very long, silken finish that resonates with style and place. My goodness it's lovely.~ 99 James Halliday
While complex and intricate, this also has immediate charm and drinkability, with a supple frame that firms up softly on the finish. Boasts basil, kirsch, marzipan, Kalamata olive, white truffle, and notes of framboise that mingle together effortlessly, but it's the finish where the wine really gains momentum, with wave after wave of details, including bittersweet chocolate, cumin, dried ginger and chocolate covered maraschino cherry. Shiraz. Drink now. ~97 Wine Spectator
Australia’s most famous single-vineyard wine delivers, once again, a unique expression of place and people. The deep well of aromas includes tomato stem, blackberry and blueberry compote, a sprinkling of cumin, sage and a sumac tang, all framed in mocha oak that is gently supportive. The palate shows plushness and power, but also restraint and poise. Tannins are ultra fine and uniquely textured. They’re savory and earthy, beautifully juxtaposing the tangy acidity and never squashing the plump, silken fruit. This could be drunk now, with a decanter and plate of protein at hand, but it’s structured for the long haul and could age another 15–20 years, easily. ~97 Wine Enthusiast
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. ~96 Robert Parker
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