"Medium deep crimson. Intense and fragrant blackberry pastille, dark plum, herb garden, sage aromas, underlying vanilla, roasted chestnut notes and hints of star anise. Complex and pure-fruited with blackberry, dark plum, mulberry flavours, integrated vanilla, roasted chestnut (oak) notes, some chinotto nuances and fine supple and vigorous velvetine/ al-dente tannins, lovely buoyancy/mid-palate viscosity and fresh long mineral acidity. Finishes claret-firm with plentiful sweet and savoury notes. A seductive yet elegant wine with superb vinosity, complexity and resonance. Unmistakably Hill of Grace. A beautiful “sotto-voce” vintage." /p>
"From a core of vines planted around 1860 (plus some 100+ and 35+ yo vines) at 400m elevation. Matured 18 months in 85/15% French/ American oak, 29% new. Such effortless grace and caressing elegance, in the presence of commanding endurance that will sustain it for half a century. This is the paradox that defines the legendary fable that is Hill of Grace. 2016 embodies this: the profound depth of black fruits, bathed in the inimitable fragrance and exotic Chinese five-spice that characterises these old vines, set to tannins more finely textured yet more commanding than ever. Resist the seductive temptations of its youth and drink the 2015 first, because the true spectacle of 2016 is decades away."
"Henschke's 2016 Hill of Grace Shiraz is locked up tight behind a stubborn wall of firm tannins. Scents of pencil shavings, mocha, bay leaf, mixed berries and plums appear on the nose, while the full-bodied palate starts off broad, expansive and creamy, then draws to a chewy, drying finish. There's ample concentration, length, complexity and a definitive track record of aging, so put this version away for several years while waiting for it to emerge and show its true glory. If you absolutely must drink it now, decanting for a couple of hours helps soften the tannins and brings the fruit forward."
"Gorgeous floral lift and vibrant plum and fresh, pureed blackberry and mulberry aromas. The palate is full of rich, ripe, sculpted and slippery-smooth fruit, so young and lithe it runs away from you, trailing deep notes of spice, black olive, dried herbs and ironstone minerals in its wake. On day two, it is buoyant and muscular: the fruit starts to build, bearing waves of ground black pepper, anise, liquorice, baking spices, tamarind, cardamom and cigar smoke. Fine but distinct layers of lacy tannins and gently creamy oak support an ultra-long and harmonious finish. Powerful but perfectly proportioned; the consummate Shiraz."
"Deep garnet. A quiet start – builds slowly – black plum, preserved fig, blackberry, briar, earth, leather, cola. Classic seamless and deep concentration of fruit on the palate – quite subtle, not forward in the least – it’s dark and intriguing and harmonious. Tannins are fine and savoury, tight and long. Oak is a picture of integration. The fruit is intense, exploring added notes of aniseed, bitter chocolate and more on the palate. This is a wine that urges you to think about IT, it’s not going to deliver everything on a plate to you immediately. You are required to put something into the process, too! It remains tight-lipped, structured and firm . . . just for the present. Like the Mount Edelstone, Hill of Grace is assured of a long life."
"Almost overwhelming in its complexity. Firm dried berry, fresh loamy earth, sanguine and roasted herb notes give this a savory profile at first. Additional details of roasted cumin seed, cinnamon, tobacco and toffee emerge, each new element building seamlessly upon the last. Dense, succulent tannins take this to the next level. Shiraz. Drink now through 2040"
"Pretty deep purplish crimson. Not much evolution at the rim (unlike the Hill of Roses). Initially pretty reticent on the nose. Then fumes started to swirl up from the glass as from a cauldron! I'm thinking witches here. Luscious ripe fruit within a stern framework – it really is impossible to spit out. Strong saline quality on the (very long) finish. Just unfurling in the glass but the intensity of the fruit almost masks the tannic charge. I know Stephen Henschke talks about the red and black fruit here but I get lots of mineral stuff. It is a really very unusual combination of lift/freshness with intensity of historic Shiraz. Such throat-soothing persistence! ... 24 hours later the colour seems to have mellowed. But the wine is still amazingly luscious and broad with strong mineral and saline notes. Decant this and you could enjoy it immediately."
The 2016 vintage began with well-below average winter rainfall, followed by a warm and dry spring, which enhanced flowering and set to give average to above-average yield potential. Low disease pressure was maintained by one of the hottest Decembers on record, though temperatures cooled down in the New Year and rainfall around veraison in late January brought relief to the dry-grown, old-vine Eden Valley vineyards. This was followed by further rainfall in early March which eased the stress on all varieties. The fruit matured with an earlier harvest, as predicted due to an early Easter. Open, light and airy vine canopies allowed for good flavour, sugar and colour and mature tannins to develop at harvest, which was overall characterised by average yields but very high quality.
I’ve walked this congregation of the ancients for more years than I remember. As a child I walked hand in hand with my grandfather Alf through the rows of vinous ‘Grandfathers’ that seemed so tall. Trunks too wide to embrace, full of whorls and wonder. Ghostly sentinels in the frosty winter paddock, magic green fingers that sought life in spring. Grapes burgeoned in the golden heat of summer. Harvest, the aromatic scent of fermentation; juicy sweetness filled the winery air.
As a young man I walked this field of ancients with the grower, my uncle Louis, and my father Cyril. Listened to their words. Tasted grapes as they ripened. Learned the language of the vines; how they responded to the seasons; sometimes open and lush, sometimes holding tight, elegant and pure. I watched the intuitive way Cyril transformed the gift of harvest into a psalm of the season, the field; the life blood of the ancients.
Once this congregation stood in Hermitage. In 1860 their offspring were nestled into the earth of the light-filled vineyard that became known as the Hill of Grace. In that same era, sadly their famed French progenitors all died out from the effects of the Phylloxera aphid. Miraculously their power and grace lives on in our Eden Valley.
As Henschke winemaker for four decades, I now walk among the ancients with my wife Prue, one of Australia’s most talented and dedicated botanically trained viticulturists. Her vision means the vines, managed with biodynamic and organic principles grow within the native landscape; an ecosystem of local grasses and flowering plants. With our children, we nurture and protect the Hill of Grace for future generations. We are pleased to present this gift of our harvest from the standout 2016 vintage, a beautifully opulent expression of an ancestral congregation.
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.