x
  • Country ranking ?

    25
  • Producer ranking ?

    9
  • Decanting time

    3h
  • When to drink

    now to 2045
  • Food Pairing

    Roasted poultry

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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James Suckling / 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 expresso 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.

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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 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 with a return to the Indian summer conditions in early April, it gave us a chance to get the late varieties in Eden Valley over the line, predominantly cabernet sauvignon and merlot, returning us to another great vintage of average yields and fabulous rock solid quality.

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Latest Pro-tasting notes

15 tasting notes

Tasting note

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Written Notes

"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."

  • 98p

Another terrific HoG, the 2013 Hill of Grace Shiraz is dense and rich, thickly concentrated and full-bodied yet not heavy or bulky in the slightest. It's kept lively through a fine dusting of savory spices—allspice, clove, star anise—and juicy, mouthwatering acids, which support the blackberry and plum fruit. The finish, framed by softly dusty and supple tannins, suggests a wine capable of at least two decades of positive evolution.

It was a treat to sit down and taste through the new releases with Stephen Henschke, even as the newest generation of this historic Eden Valley family begins to take over more of the daily business routine. The broad range of offerings and release dates here means that there is always something to talk about, whether it's the latest vintage—"2017 was a spectacular year for whites"—or something a bit earlier, like the 2014 vintage, which he described as "longer, later, slower ripening, with a lot of elegance." As part of my effort to look at some of the 2008s at age ten, we also tried the 2008 Hill of Grace, which showed tremendously well, with another two decades ahead of it. Henschke remains a benchmark for Eden Valley.

  • 97p

Very deep crimson in colour. Rich and beguiling aromas of blackberry, blueberry and dark plum, followed by signature exotic five spice, star anise, and sage, with underlying nuances of beef stock and dark cedar. Intense and layered, the complex palate bursts with a dense, pure core of sweet spiced plum and blackberry, coated by firm yet integrated, fine velvety tannins which draw away to an extraordinarily long finish and lingering flavours of dried, sweet spices.

Deep ruby. Lively and focused on the nose, displaying fresh cherry, blackberry and floral scents and deeper suggestions of pipe tobacco, olive and licorice. Juicy cherry and dark berry and salty olive paste flavors show very good delineation, and a hint of candied flowers emerges on the back half. Fine-grained tannins build slowly on an impressively long, sweet finish.

  • 96p

“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, liquorice and anise fruit, the tannins exceptionally well managed, the oak likewise.”

  • 97p
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Information

Origin

South Australia, Eden Valley

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Inside Information

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate  / Another terrific HoG, the 2013 Hill of Grace Shiraz is dense and rich, thickly concentrated and full-bodied yet not heavy or bulky in the slightest. It's kept lively through a fine dusting of savory spices—allspice, clove, star anise—and juicy, mouthwatering acids, which support the blackberry and plum fruit. The finish, framed by softly dusty and supple tannins, suggests a wine capable of at least two decades of positive evolution.

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