"A savoury, spiced and mid-weighted Hill of Grace. Dried red fruits, the aromas of charcutier's shed, red dirt, bay leaves, roasted bones and a smear of tapenade. A beautifully poised wine, comfortable and quietly confident. This is a wine that doesn't need to shout about its greatness. Just spend time with it and it will be revealed."
"A remarkable result from a challenging season. A perfumed wine of balance and complexity. Powerful but pretty at the same time, it has lifted spice characters alongside intense dark berries and beautifully integrated, mainly French oak. Delightful."
"Deep red colour with a little purple tint. The bouquet is typical Hill of Grace in its fragrant spice, licorice and raspberry aromas with a trace of tar, some black pepper, the palate flavour mesmerisingly intense and lush, with tremendous depth and velvet texture. A wonderful balancing act, very full-bodied and powerful, the texture astonishingly fruit-sweet and plush - just a sublime wine. Almost endless length."
"Glorious aromatics and a delicacy and a prettiness to the wine. Spices, anise, summer garden herbs, black fruits, cloves. Has both generosity and elegance, but plenty of underlying power. Seamless. Plenty of tannins, but they really do seem to just melt away. Immaculately balanced, a stunning wine."
The 2014 moon cycles put Easter quite late in the season, so the expectation of a late harvest prevailed until South Australia experienced its record number of heat days over 40C in January, culminating in the worst bushfire in Eden Valley in living memory, and followed by the wettest February in 44 years. Fortunately Eden Valley was still in veraison, which allowed the quenching rain to rebalance the fruit, particularly in the older dry-grown vineyards. The change to mild autumnal weather in late February after the rains allowed for a focus on early vintage white varieties, while the red varieties continued to fully ripen. March became colder and wetter, which seemed to change to a winter pattern after the equinox, resulting in one of the longest and latest vintages. In summary, a challenging season with excellent quality but very low yields.
We draw on the words of legendary Greek poet Homer to describe our 2014 vintage of Hill of Grace; ‘Beauty – it was a glorious gift of nature’. The elemental forces play like instruments, creating their own symphony for each season. As custodians nurturing the vineyard, the weight of our boots breaking the soil makes our footprints seem large, but nature always reminds us that our part in this orchestra is small. There are sure notes in nature. Night follows day, seasons inexorably change, but in the midst of harmony there can be discord. In early spring, polar air swept across Australia’s southern land, freezing first buds before they burgeoned into shoots. In summer, grasses trembled and bent before harsh winds that reduced flower set. Thankfully quiet returned and flowers became berries, blooming as ever, slowly building in beauty. Fear visited when the mid-summer crackle of bushfire howled past neighbouring lands, but within days a welcome ocean of clouds carried a cacophony of thunder and rain that lashed across the Eden Valley, quenching the dry land and balancing the ripening fruit on our ancient vines. Autumn brought sweet light and warmth. The full moon cycle put Easter late in the season, making this one of our longest vintages. We hand-harvested the grapes. Listened as yeast transformed juice into wine in open-topped fermenters built by our ancestors. Five years later we marvelled at the beauty of the matured wine; the interwoven layers delivered by the earth’s hand to ours, and heard again the vivid music of its creation. From a year of both challenging and beautiful refrains, we are delighted to share our 2014 vintage of Henschke Hill of Grace.
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.