“A significant vintage for Hill of Grace, as the last 2015 red to leave the Henschke cellar, and a wine that delivers on every ounce of its promise and then some … A collector’s dream.”
— 100 points, Nick Stock, JamesSuckling.com, April 28, 2020
“With the 2020 harvest just put to bed, the Henschke family has endured a season like no other. Much of their vineyard holdings, including the Hill of Grace and Mount Edelstone vineyards, are up in the Barossa’s Eden Valley where drought delivered some of the smallest yields on record. Then, over in the nearby Adelaide Hills, bush fires ravaged their Lenswood vineyard destroying 90 percent of the 25-hectare plantings, which usually account for 25 percent of their total production. When COVID-19 hit Australia they just managed to get their harvest in, albeit with only 30 percent of their normal production in the cellar. It was a nightmare.
The April pre-release tasting for the much-anticipated 2015 Hill of Grace was another casualty of COVID-19. The tasting is an event that normally takes a year to plan and 2015 is a vintage that has been highly rated for the Barossa and Eden Valleys, with so many outstanding wines already in the market. But the show must go on and great wine must still be tasted and celebrated. So I could not turn down the opportunity to join Stephen and Prue Henschke for a live online tasting of the 2015 Henschke Hill of Grace.
2015 is a dream vintage and one that delivered a profound iteration of this single vineyard shiraz, whose oldest vines were planted in 1860 and still form the backbone of the wine today. The key was the mild run from the beginning of February through to harvest, which took place from March 17th to 26th. The wine is so complex and multifaceted thanks to this long and slow ripening period and is a very powerful yet elegant expression with pitch-perfect balance, keenly articulated textural detail and a long, long hold on the finish. The aging potential is considerable, more than 20 years, and certainly this will not be at its complete and resolute best for at least another decade from now. It scored a perfect 100 points.
Also in this release are a number of other excellent wines, notably the 2016 Cyril Henschke (95 points), a rare edition of 100 percent cabernet sauvignon. This is an exceptionally elegant expression that shows this single vineyard in a finely detailed and powerful light. There’s enticing perfume and fruit purity, and it is defined by the high altitude of the Eden Valley site and meticulous farming according to biodynamic principles. It has the intensity and structure to age for well over 15 years and yet the finesse and balance to be enjoyed earlier in its journey too.
In addition to these two outstanding wines, a total of nine new Henschke releases are covered here, all of which represent strong examples of their various styles. This is a producer with much to be celebrated for. Even in the face of great adversity, wine can deliver so much happiness and pleasure. Enjoy these important new releases.” – Nick Stock, Executive Editor, JamesSuckling.com
Please visit JamesSuckling.com for full notes and scores.