First bottled in 1958 and made from ancient vines, an Australian icon. Less massive than Grange or Laird, its feature is tremendous complexity, detail and charm. A glossy, silken texture with awesome concentration and persistence.
James Halliday writing in The Australian, 29 June 2019:
Hill of Grace is a piece of Australian vineyard like no other. It is the distillation of five generations of the Henschke family’s vision – of their faith and endurance, too, with no thought of earthly comforts, let alone riches. To this day the Eden Valley, north-east of Adelaide, is a remote place, with small groups of houses dotted here and there, not even towns as we use that term today. The roads are narrow, not always sealed, yet are in proportion to their need.
The family tree of the Henschke family starts with Johann Christian Henschke (1803-1873), its branches spreading over a century and more than 40 members. Large families were the order of the day in the 19th century, marriages often the cement holding families together, however tenuous the thread might be.
In 1860, Nicolaus Stanitzki – the maternal great-great-grandfather of Henschke’s current winemaker, Stephen Henschke – planted 0.56ha of shiraz on the 10ha property that would become Hill of Grace. That block, called Grandfathers, has always been the beating heart of Hill of Grace, supported by the Post Office Block of 0.33ha planted by Gotthard Henschke in 1910, and by a burst of activity by Louis Henschke in 1951, ’52, ’56 and ’65 – House Block (’51, 1.08ha), Church Block (’52, 0.7ha), Windmill Block (’65, 0.7ha) and Post Office Block 2 (’65, 0.5ha).
These total 3.94ha, but there are other parts of the jigsaw, not least the 0.94ha Post Office Block 3. In 1986, Prue Henschke embarked on a program to identify (by tagging) the best performing Hill of Grace vines. Top selections were made in 1989 as a nursery block, but when 14 years old, the quality was too good to justify the original plan, and the 0.32ha block now produces Hill of Roses. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Hill of Grace.
2014 Henschke Hill of Grace
The miraculous crimson colour is an early indication of a Hill of Grace that underlines its reputation as one of Australia’s greatest wines. You’ll never guess it came from a so-so vintage. It moves with grace from start to finish, red fruits keeping a narrow lead over dark/black berries. Tiny yield. 14.5% alc, vinolok (screwcap) 98 points, drink to 2054
Crimson in colour with deep red hues. Concentrated aromas of blue and black berry fruits, dark plum and exotic five spice exude from the glass, while more subtle and classic nuances of black pepper, sage and chicory allure and entice. The palate is rich, lush and elegantly structured with layers of texture and beautifully balanced flavours of blue and black fruits, dried herbs and charcuterie. Fine velvety tannins and a savoury mid-palate provide incredible length and depth.
Amazing aromas of wet aged beef, spices, crushed elderberries, peppercorns and bay leaf. Evolves in the glass all the time. Dynamic wine. Full body and polished, fully integrated tannin to the fruit. Finishes very fresh and vivid. Gorgeous to drink now, but will age wonderfully - 99 points. James Suckling, JamesSuckling.com, 26 June 2019