x
  • Country ranking ?

    149
  • Producer ranking ?

    32
  • Decanting time

    2h
  • When to drink

    now to 2030
  • Food Pairing

    Lamb in mild spices cooked at low temperature

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

The historic property was originally granted to Charles Flaxman by land grant in 1842 for £1 per acre. It was then sold by George Fife Angas to Nicolaus Stanitzki for £480 in 1873. After planting the great Shiraz vines, Carl August Stanitzki sold the property to Paul Gotthard Henschke in 1891. Growing season 1997 began with a wet winter, followed by a mild dry spring, leading to excellent growth, good set and vigor. Frosts brought damage before a mild Indian Summer ensured excellent ripening conditions and accumulation of flavour in the grapes. Shiraz is vinified in traditional open top fermenters, followed by eighteen months maturation in new French and American hogsheads. Alcohol 14.1%

Deep brick red colour. A wonderfully developed bouquet of leather, truffles and prune, seasoned by vanilla and cedar notes, hints of nutmeg, pepper and five spice. The palate is voluptuous, layered with lush fruit flavours, supported by a length of fine velvety tannins.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

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Written Notes

A wet winter with average rainfall during that period. A mild, dry spring, leading to excellent growth, good set and vigour. Late September spring frosts caused significant damage with losses of up to 30%. One of the hottest summers on record with the hottest two-week period in February recorded since 1910. Rain during summer was a godsend to the old dry-grown vines beginning to feel the lack of water, despite causing some splitting and mildew. A mild finish to the season ensuring excellent ripening conditions and accumulation of colour and flavour.
  • 88p
A wet winter with average rainfall during that period. A mild, dry spring, leading to excellent growth, good set and vigour. Late September spring frosts caused significant damage with losses of up to 30%. One of the hottest summers on record with the hottest two-week period in February recorded since 1910. Rain during summer was a godsend to the old dry-grown vines beginning to feel the lack of water, despite causing some splitting and mildew. A mild finish to the season ensuring excellent ripening conditions and accumulation of colour and flavour. Hill of Grace Medium crimson colour. Raspberry/mulberry creamy aromas with plenty of savoury oak and touches of leafiness and chocolate. Well-concentrated palate with raspberry/mulberry/cherry flavours matched with very classy bisquity/malt oak and leafy/chocolatey tannins building up firm and tight. A really well made wine but only a medium term prospect. 18 points (89/100).
  • 89p
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Information

Origin

South Australia, Eden Valley

Vintage Quality

Excellent

Value For Money

Very good

Investment potential

Below Average

Fake factory

None

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Eden Valley Riesling Julius

Eden Valley Semillon Louis

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‘Five Shillings’ Shiraz Mataro

Henry's Seven

Henry's Seven

‘Hill of Peace’ Semillon

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MD Johanne Ida Selma Blanc de Noir

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Noble Gewurztraminer

‘Peggy’s Hill’ Riesling

Percival’s Mill Gruner Veltliner

Pinot Gris Adelaide Hills Littlehampton Innes

Riesling Adelaide Hills Lenswood Greens Hill

Riesling Lenswood Vineyard Greens Hill Vineyard

Shiraz Keyneton Estate

Stone Jar Tempranillo

‘The Alan’ Pinot Noir

‘The Bootmaker’ Mataro

‘The Rose Grower’ Nebbiolo

The Wheelwright Shiraz

Inside Information

The beautiful and ethereal Henschke Hill of Grace, first vintaged by fourth-generation winemaker Cyril Henschke in 1958, is Australia’s most famous single-vineyard wine. Current custodians Stephen and Prue Henschke, together with their elder son Johann, have recently released the 52nd vintage, the 2009 Hill of Grace, a quintessential Eden Valley shiraz with its pristine blackberry aromas, plum, anise and exotic five spice nuances, fine lacy tannins, voluminous freshness and subtle savoury oak complexity.

The historic Hill of Grace vineyard, which takes its name from the adjacent Gnadenberg Lutheran Church (Gnadenberg was a region in Silesia, meaning Hill of Grace), lies in a shallow fertile valley at around 400m, and was originally planted around the 1860s by Nicolaus Stanitzki, a Henschke ancestor. The gnarled old, low-yielding shiraz vines are dry grown and managed using organic and biodynamic principles to preserve soil moistures, optimise vine and soil health and ‘drought proof’ the vineyard.

The vineyard is planted on red clay soils overlain by sandy and silty loams interspersed with gravels. The individual blocks are named after local landmarks and the remains of the 19th-century Parrot Hill village. Several blocks were planted on their own roots using pre-phylloxera shiraz vines brought out from Europe by the early settlers. These include the surviving 1860s plantings known as the Grandfathers, and Post Office Block One a few years after. The Church Block, House Block and Windmill Block were planted with the same clonal material during the 1950s.

The fruit from each block is handpicked at optimum maturity and individually vinified using traditional winemaking techniques, which include the use of open-top fermenters built in the 1950s, together with submerging of the cap and minimal handling. After two years in oak barrels, the wine is blended and bottled without fining, before being matured in the Henschke cellars until release.

The highly refined, beautifully proportioned Hill of Grace speaks profoundly of place, history, generations of effort and remarkable evolution. It’s a story of luck, passion, imagination and drive for quality that has resulted in more recent vintages reaching another plane, by optimising magnificent vineyard resources, superb technical skills and craftsmanship.

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