"This is a wine with concentration, structure, and generosity. There are chocolate and cherry notes, spices, florals, vanilla bean, dark coffee, dark fruits, and even the merest hint of a nicely charred steak to be found on the nose. Good power, plenty of tannins, but they are micro-fine and silky. A supple texture and incredible length: it just goes on and on."
"...rich, sumptuous and sprinkled with spice, it has layers and layers of deep, dark flavour."
“An elegant wine of amazing intensity with beautifully integrated oak and impressive tannin structure. Tremendous length and depth; harmonious on every level.”
"A dry season with reduced yields, but all the DNA is here with a rich array of baking spices permeating ripe blackberries, red berries and plums. Chocolate, plum cake, currants, freshly turned and loamy earth and dried sage leaves, too. Very complex. The palate's smoothly arranged around the fine, long tannins that carry a concentrated core of blackberries, tarry, dark stony flavors, ripe blood plums and a long trail of deeply spicy warmth through the finish. Hints of mocha and espresso to close. Elegant, complex and complete. This is very approachable now. Typically though, it's a wine that is best drunk at 20 or more years from vintage."
A deep, almost impenetrable ruby, this is a broody, muscular Hill of Grace release. Dark, sinewy, youthful and still closed it shows layers of reserved mulberry, blackberry, sage and spice fruits that only hint at their potential. The palate is sinewy and well structured, tarry and dry with generous underlying ripeness, exceptional length and good acidity that needs time in the cellar but with reward it in spades."
“It's the story of the farmer ‘too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet'. Well, not exactly, unless it be too dry, because the Eden Valley had no rain for nearly 6 months until 16mm at the beginning of Mar, and frequent weekly cycles of hot and cold prevailed. The patchwork quilt of Hill of Grace was picked in small parcels between 21 Feb and 7 Mar. It's a rock solid (to use a Henschke expression) wine, matured in 86% French and 14% American oak (56% new)…this is a full-bodied Hill of Grace, with blackberry, licorice and anise fruit, the tannins exceptionally well managed, the oak likewise.”
The lead-up to the 2013 vintage saw an early onset of summer, with occasional thunderstorms and only four heat spikes, into the 40s, over summer. A cooler than average January followed by a warm February, brought the predicted early vintage even further forward. Even after the dry-fecta of winter/spring/summer the word from the winery floor was that it would be another great Eden Valley riesling year, followed up with some great old-vine shiraz. Fortunately, a desperately needed 16mm of rain came, the first for nearly six months, at the beginning of March to help the dry-grown vines struggle through to full maturity. The roller-coaster weather ride continued through March with almost weekly cycles of hot and cold. Cool drizzly weather at the end of March nearly brought the harvest to a halt, but a return to the Indian summer conditions in early April gave us a chance to get the late varieties in Eden Valley over the line for another great vintage of average yields and fabulous quality.
Henschke Hill of Grace is more than just a wine. It is an ongoing story of a single place on earth: of a family, of the perseverance and courage of generations past and hope for generations to come. It is a tribute to Henschke ancestors who travelled from Silesia aboard the ‘Skjold’ for ninety-eight days, on one of the hardest recorded voyages, to embrace life in a strange new land at the bottom of the world.
Henschke Hill of Grace is a story of loss, hardship and determination. The fierce independence that brought the German pioneers to South Australia to settle in the Barossa, the promise as they became naturalised Australians, the craftsmanship and doggedness as they created their homes, self-sustaining farms and vineyards. It is the joy that must have swelled in their hearts as they laid the final hand-quarried stone on their own church near Keyneton in the Eden Valley, naming it Gnadenberg ‘Hill of Grace’ in remembrance of home. It is the joy they must have felt at week’s end when they gathered to fill the small church with song.
Remembering our ancestors, the former custodians of Hill of Grace and their ability to endure and yet to always celebrate, we have chosen the word ‘Joy’ to mark our 2012 vintage of Henschke Hill of Grace.
After the difficult season of 2011 that devastated the Hill of Grace crop, we were blessed by nature in 2012 with a truly beautiful and celebratory season; a long, slow ripening period that was perfectly timed.
Over 165 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.