x
  • Country ranking ?

    394
  • Producer ranking ?

    55
  • Decanting time

    1h
  • When to drink

    Now
  • Food Pairing

    Lamb

The Tb points given to this wine are the world’s most valid and most up-to-date evaluation of the quality of the wine. Tastingbook points are formed by the Tastingbook algorithm which takes into account the wine ratings of the world's 50 best-known professional wine critics, wine ratings by thousands of tastingbook’s professionals and users, the generally recognised vintage quality and reputation of the vineyard and winery. Wine needs at least five professional ratings to get the Tb score. Tastingbook.com is the world's largest wine information service which is an unbiased, non-commercial and free for everyone.

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The Story

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

 

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Wine Information

Hill of Grace

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. In my opinion vintages before 1978 are a hit and miss affair and are not worth seeking out – unless for reference purposes.

Henschke Vineyard Technical Information:

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

Latitude: 34 degrees 30'

Longitude: 139 degrees 07'

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Vintage 1988

Australia Vintage Report:  Below average rainfall through the growing season and storms and hail in October 1997 led to some yield losses. Parts of Eden Valley were also hit by Spring frosts which affected yields. This was followed by a warm dry summer, “an unhurried vintage” which produced reds of generally good quality but “forward, plain” whites.

In 1988 there were 5,468 hectares of vineyards in Barossa and 43,371 tonnes of wine grapes were crushed in that vintage.

Grape supply turned around dramatically with demand now exceeding supply, forcing grape prices up by an average of 20%. Chardonnay was in strong demand but Riesling demand dropped away.

The wine industry introduced the “Enjoy wine in moderation campaign” to head off health lobby criticisms.

Grant and Helen Burge started their own winery, Grant Burge Wines, in the old Moorooroo Cellars on the banks of Jacob’s Creek. Grant followed a five generation tradition started by English pioneer John Burge in 1855 of grapegrowing and winemaking. He also made the first vintage of Meshach Shiraz in 1988, a full bodied red wine sourced from old vine fruit, which was to become his company’s flagship and a multi-award winner.

In the same year, experienced wine marketer Bob McLean, whose career included brand development at Orlando and Petaluma, joined forces with fifth generation vigneron Karl Lindner and winemaker Stuart Blackwell to revitalise 44-year-old St Hallett Wines at Krondorf. St Hallett Old Block Shiraz was repositioned as a classic Barossa red wine.

Brian Walsh was appointed Chief Winemaker at Yalumba.
Senior management undertook a buy-out of Orlando Wines from Reckitt and Coleman.

Australia’s most successful membership based mail order wine club Cellarmaster Wines Pty Ltd established a winemaking and distribution base at Dorrien and opened Dorrien Estate winery (although there was no cellar door outlet).

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

The 1988 Hill of Grace is medium deep brown in color and replete with earthy and leathery aromas marred by a touch of rancio /aldehydic notes that seem to recover after a few minutes and show some treacle and Indian spice hints. It is an interesting wine, though just a bit flat and tired on the palate with of medium level chewy tannins, crisp acid and a good length on what remains of the fruit. It is mature.

  • 89p

Mid, slightly grey ruby. Low-key nose. Then wonderfully rich, sweetness on the palate. No saltiness in this case! Rich yet delicate and no exaggeration. Grainy finish. Real lift to this wine. And quite a bit of development and complexity – yet there is energy still too. Most impressive. So long!

  • 96p

Crimson with brick red hues. Sweet blackberry aromas are complimented by herbaceous notes of snow pea and green bean with underlying nuances of soy, leather and turned earth. The palate is rich yet elegant with a beautiful balance of concentrated fruit flavours, acidity and fine-grained tannins, that together provide energy and an impressively long finish.

An eventful year: excellent winter rains, hail damage in spring, rains during flowering, very hot summer with week and a half of century heat in January. February was cool and misty. Another 10 days’ heat wave occurred at the end of March.

Excellent winter rains, hail damage in spring, rains during flowering. A very hot summer with a week and a half of century heat in January. February was cool and misty. Another 10 day heat wave occurred at the end of March. Picked March 16-18. Medium crimson/brown. Intense, black cherry, mineral, cassis aromas with some meaty/soy complexity and hints of aniseed. The palate is loose knit and round with red cherry/cassis and meaty/soy characters, slinky fine tannins and underlying oak finishing long and flavoursome. Absolutely at peak and in excellent balance. 18.5 points (93/100).
  • 93p
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Information

Origin

South Australia, Eden Valley

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