"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."
"2017 Hill of Grace is inky black, and the nose is loaded with exotic spices, violets and chypre. This is a masculine, power-packed wine with amazing amplitude and depth of flavour, but it is in no way heavy or ponderous. There is a ‘cool vintage’ feel throughout, and this means that each indulgent black-cherry soaked sip is countered by revitalising grip and freshness, which is extremely enjoyable. Like a black panther waiting to pounce, this is a youthful, vigorous Hill of Grace, and while this is not a showy, sweet-fruited, juicy vintage, it is definitely a wine that will appeal to true connoisseurs of this estate because we all know that the leaner, more athletic wines will make old bones with ease! 2017 Hill of Grace is akin to a full orchestra performing an intricate piece that requires perfect command of each and every instrument. It is the antithesis of a greatest-hits, opera-light track packed with crowd-pleasing crashing and bashing, and this is why I really admire just how elegant this wine is in 2017."
"Medium deep crimson. Intense blackberry, cassis, roasted coffee, sage aromas with vanilla, roasted chestnut, panforte star anise. Amazingly complex wine with pure blackberry, blackcurrant, espresso, hint of peppery flavours, fine loose knit chalky al-dente tannins and mocha, vanilla crème brulée oak. Finishes grainy al dente firm with lovely pastille fruits. "
"Deep ruby to brick-red colour with a tinge of purple lingering in the meniscus. The bouquet is very expressive and multi-layered with raspberry and cassis, regional dried herbs—especially sage and oregano, while the palate is tremendously intense and profoundly flavoured with multi-faceted flavours and the kind of effortless concentration and seamless texture that only the greatest shirazes achieve. There is something mysterious and hard to identify about this wine which is seriously delicious. A great Australian shiraz."
"Exotic spices with sage and traces of rosemary. The palate has a delightful minerally purity and vitality that delivers to a long finish – no, long underplays the finish; it’s longer than long. Lots of similarities with the Hill of Roses but with greater depth of fruit intensity and complexity. Wonderful stuff."
"So even and balanced, gentlesnes but with plenty of intensity and detail, the tannins so ultra fine and silky they’re barely there. Lots of spicy, herbal, dark fruited fragrance, with Chinese five spice, dark cherry, salted plums. Similar flavours, woven beautifully together, persistent, so luxurious, bright, finishing with lingering peppery spice and faint, dark fruit and minerally character. An understated release but with incredible complexity. Superb in any language."
"Deep maroon in colour with intensity and balance, freshness and vitality. Enticingly fragrant with spices, red fruits, warm earth, dry herbs and more. After a day, there were darker notes, more of the warm earth tones, tobacco leaf characters and dark chocolate. Incredible length and balance, the silkiest of tannins with good complexity already evident, balanced acidity supporting the wine right through. Everything is superbly balanced and integrated. Seamless and lingering, this will age and improve for decades. A superb wine."
“2017 Hill of Grace Shiraz doesn't disappoint, delivering ample weight, richness and expansiveness on the palate, coupled with impressive structure and length. Complex scents of camphor, raspberries and mulberries appear on the nose, alongside hints of sage, black olives and licorice, while the tannic, softly dusty finish lingers, suggesting plenty of longevity—20-plus years should be no problem for this beauty.”
"Strikes its own level of fragrant complexity and fruit vitality that places it a cut above the other 2017 Henschke Eden Valley shiraz wines, with aromas of boysenberries, red plums, blackberries and mulberries, swathed in baking spices, sage, brown pepper and forest wood. So fresh and very spicy. The palate has a very layered and elegantly fine brand of tannin, with a rich, velvety array of fresh dark fruit, such as blackberry and satsuma plum, swirling spice flavors and a late dusting of white pepper. The acidity is so well balanced with such fine and elegant tannins. Very detailed. The tannins creep and clench, claiming stealthy palate length that bodes well for cellaring potential."
"Grace by name, grace by nature; it's a perfectly framed, elegant snapshot of pristine fruit, site and season. Precisely ripened berry fruits are underscored with notes of Chinese 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."
"So even and balanced, gentleness but with plenty of intensity and detail, the tannins so ultra fine and silky they’re barely there. Lots of spicy, herbal, dark fruited fragrance, with Chinese five spice, dark cherry, salted plums. Similar flavours, woven beautifully together, persistent, so luxurious, bright, finishing with lingering peppery spice and faint, dark fruit and minerally character. An understated release but with incredible complexity. Superb in any language."
"Subtle, smooth and seductive; dangerously, defiantly drinkable in its youth when you know it deserves to be cellared."
"And then there is the Henschke Hill of Grace – my longtime favourite amongst the South Australian super-wines. The Hill of Grace vineyard lies in the Eden Valley and was originally planted in 1860; falling into the hands of the Henschke family in 1891. The style, again, is power with elegance and the unshakeable Eden Valley high-notes; it is a wine of intensity, depth and wonderful perfume."
“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.”
"Sumptuous nose with an amazing array of savoury notes and with something distinctly mineral. Broad and absolutely bone dry – a contrast to Hill of Roses and Mount Edelstone. Very serious, almost gruff on the palate. Long with slightly more obvious alcohol than some. The tannins are almost hidden ('we spend a lot of time walking through the vineyard tasting for tannin maturity', according to Stephen Henschke). Amazingly long. But this is by far the most youthful of these new releases."
A later start to picking and a mild period of ripening finished with the last grapes being picked in mid-May. A wet 2016 winter gave us a good foundation for our predominantly dry-grown vines on their own roots, and a cool, wet and fiercely windy spring followed, with a slightly higher spring rainfall than the Barossa Valley, which delayed flowering, though conditions during set meant that yields were at average levels. A mild summer with regular rainfall events followed, which allowed the grapes to reach full physiological maturity. The significant rainfall events largely missed our area and therefore we harvested the majority of our grapes in healthy condition. As always, careful hand picking in the vineyard and sorting of grapes as they were processed made sure that quality was not compromised. 2017 delivered a wine expression ‘graced by vitality’; a liveliness and capacity for long life that has developed as the result of an exceptionally long and gentle vintage. The 2017 wines are much akin to high-quality vintages such as 1992, 2006 and 2012, all of which were late, cool seasons and have shown excellent ageing potential in ideal cellaring conditions.
2017 delivered a beguiling Hill of Grace, a wine graced by vitality; a liveliness and capacity for long life that has developed as the result of an exceptionally long and gentle vintage.
Each season that sweeps over our Eden Valley holds a pen that writes the annual story of Hill of Grace Shiraz. Some are full of verve and drama and exuberance. Some, like the year of 2017, was more composed, and has the elegance and vitality to endure.
This was a season that allowed our old vines to wake gently from the slumber of winter, to smoothly energise into spring, and in the mildness of summer and autumn to exactingly build seductive layers of poise and beauty.
Picture wintery rains sweeping over the church steeple, wetting the sleeping sentinels below, and awakening the soils with replenishing moisture for the growing cycle to come. In the chilled air we worked to tuck thick blankets of straw around the vine trunks with a nourishing layer of compost below. We waited patiently for the velvety buds of spring.
A cool, wet and fiercely windy spring slightly delayed the clusters of flowers and we waited again, for them to appear, sparkling like tiny jewels in the canopy with the promise of fruit. The mild warmth of summer and autumn inevitably coaxed the berries into bunches, building the trademark layers of exotic spices, vivid colour, vibrant flavours and refined tannins.
We waited until the last weeks of April before we hand harvested the fruit, now perfectly mature on the vine.
2017 Hill of Grace is a wine that will unfold in your glass, revealing pristine layers, bright and vital.
Savour it at the pace of the vintage, to truly experience the story that lies within.
STEPHEN AND PRUE HENSCHKE
Over 175 years ago Johann Christian Henschke came from Silesia to settle and farm in the Eden Valley region. By the time third-generation Paul Alfred Henschke took over the reins in 1914, the famous Hill of Grace vines were more than 50 years old. They were planted around the 1860s by an ancestor, Nicolaus Stanitzki, in rich alluvial soil in a shallow fertile valley just north-west of the winery. The red-brown earth grading to deep silty loam has excellent moisture-holding capacity for these dry-grown vines, which sit at an altitude of 400m, with an average rainfall of 520mm. Hill of Grace is a unique, delineated, historic single vineyard that lies opposite a beautiful old Lutheran church which is named after a picturesque region in Silesia called Gnadenberg, meaning Hill of Grace. Cyril Henschke made the first single-vineyard shiraz wine from this vineyard in 1958 from handpicked grapes vinified in traditional open-top fermenters.