2007 Hill of Grace release marks the 50th vintage of the HIll of Grace
The 2007 Hill of Grace marks five decades since the release of this iconic single-vineyard wine in 1958. To celebrate, Stephen and Prue held two amazing Hill of Grace-inspired events. The first was a lunch in Melbourne at the renowned Vue de Monde restaurant. Restaurateur and chef Shannon Bennett cooked an inspired menu in his innovative style, which focuses on using organic produce, to match the enviable wine list supplied by Henschke. The lucky 16 guests were treated to five different vintages of Hill of Grace - a representative from each of the decades - among other wines that Stephen brought out from the cellar. A highlight of the lunch was Shannon’s smoked kangaroo, berry and chocolate dish matched with the 1972 and 2009 Keyneton Euphonium.
The second lunch was held at the winery in Eden Valley, ‘the birthplace of Hill of Grace’. The guests arrived at the winery in 1957 Chevrolets, in homage to the decade that first produced Australia’s finest single-vineyard wine. Continuing the homage to the era, beloved Barossa chef Maggie Beer cooked up a retro-inspired menu, which included devils on horseback, vol-au-vent with lamb’s brains and duck à l’orange, all expertly matched to wines from each of the decades. However, it was Justine Henschke who stole the show in the end, in her original 1950s gown.
To bring the celebrations to a close, Stephen and Prue are planning a retrospective tasting later this year, to review all of the vintages over the 50-year history. While most of the vintages have been carefully stored here at the winery, there are two missing vintages: 1959 and 1960. Stephen and Prue are hoping that a collector will be willing to share one of these wines if they happen to have it in their cellar. If you are lucky enough to be the custodian of one of these vintages, please contact the winery on (08) 8564 8223 or Andrew Caillard at Langtons on (02) 9557 9100.
Nicolaus Stanitski, a Henschke ancestor, originally planted the Hill of Grace vineyard during the 1860s above the Barossa Valley. During the 1950s Cyril Henschke took his family concern back to wine and established the Hill of Grace label in 1956. The Shiraz vines – many now over 140 years old – are among the world's oldest genetic Shiraz plant material. It is remarkable that the vineyard remained intact considering the economic uncertainty and the social conditions of the time. The vineyard is planted on red clay soils overlain by sandy and silty loams interspersed with gravels.
There are several blocks including Grandfather’s Post Office Blocks One and Two, Young which is made up of the younger selected material located near the vines of the old post office, and the Church Block, House Block and Windmill Block. Vintage takes place during mid to late April, each parcel vinified separately to maximise blending options. The Hill of Grace style has developed along Grange lines, but by a circuitous route. Vinification takes place in open headed down fermenters with regular pumping over. Towards dryness the wine is drained and pressed. Partial barrel fermentation in a combination of new American and French oak follows to integrate oak and create complexity. The wine is then allowed to mature in the same oak for a period of about 18 months before bottling and further maturation.
HILL OF GRACE
Location: Eden Valley wine region, 4 km north-west of Henschke Cellars at Keyneton, in the Barossa Range, South Australia.
Varieties: Shiraz (on own roots). Vines originate from pre-phylloxera material brought from Europe by the early European settlers. Riesling and Semillon.
Wines Produced: Shiraz – individual vineyard bottling since 1958.
Age: Oldest vines planted in 1860s.
Average Yield: 5 tonnes/hectare (2 tonnes/acre)
Soil: Alluvial, sandy loam over clay.
Trellis: 2 wire vertical/single wire at 70 centimetres.
Planting: Wide planting – 3.1 metres x 3.7 metres. Most are planted east-west, some north-south. Dry grown.
Treatments: Tilled and dodged for many years without herbicide. Only copper and sulphur used for foliage sprays. Now mulched and grassed down. Fungus problems are minimal. Vineyard can be considered 'organic'.
Maintenance Quality: Mass selection carried out over two growing seasons. Establishment of a mother source block.
Rainfall: 520 mm
Altitude: 400 metres
Year Vintage Quality Optimum Drinking
1984 Exceptional 20+ years
1985 Exceptional 15+ years
1986 Exceptional 20+ years
1987 Very Good 15+ years
1988 Exceptional 15+ years
1989 Great 15+ years
1990 Exceptional 20+ years
1991 Excellent 20+ years
1992 Excellent 20+ years
1993 Great 15+ years
1994 Exceptional 20+ years
1995 Excellent 20+ years
1996 Exceptional 25+ years
1997 Very Good 15+ years
1998 Exceptional 20+ years
1999 Excellent 20+ years
2000 Not Produced
2001 Excellent 20+ years
2002 Exceptional 25+ years
2003 Great 15+ years
2004 Excellent 20+ years
2005 Exceptional 20+ years
2006 Exceptional 20+ years
2007 Great 20+ years