Henschke, `Hill of Grace` Eden Valley Shiraz

Henschke, `Hill of Grace` Eden Valley Shiraz

Vintage: 2019

VintageProduct CodeFormatClosureAvailability
2019HE501T193 x 75ScrewcapContact Us
Producer

The Henschke family have made wine at their estate in the Eden Valley since 1868, with fifth-generation winemaker Stephen Henschke taking over in 1979. Together with his viticulturist wife, Prue, they have taken their two single vineyards, ‘Hill of Grace’ and Mount ‘Edelstone’ and transformed them into two of Australia’s most sought-after wines. Through a combination of Stephen’s winemaking and great viticulture from Prue, who has re-introduced native plants in their vineyards to improve biodiversity, they have built upon their inheritance and turned this traditional producer into one celebrated worldwide. The original 1860s grain barn at the family property in Keyneton, built from field stone and mud by first-generation winemaker Johann Christian Henschke, now houses the Henschke cellar door. The winery occupies the original wool shed, built next to the grain barn in 1952.

Henschke own three vineyards in the Eden Valley and one in the Adelaide Hills, all of which are farmed in line with biodynamic principles. The eight-hectare ‘Hill of Grace’ vineyard is situated in the historic village of Parrot Hill, four kilometres northwest of Henschke Cellars. First planted in 1860, it was purchased by second-generation Paul Gotthard Henschke in 1891. However, it was not until 1958 that fourth-generation winemaker Cyril Henschke made the first single-vineyard Shiraz bottling from the grapes grown here. ‘Hill of Roses’ is produced from a small selection of low-yielding, dry-grown Shiraz vines from the ‘Hill of Grace’ Vineyard. Planted as a nursery block in 1989, these vines are currently too young to be considered for inclusion in the ‘Hill of Grace’. Cyril purchased the nearby 16-hectare ‘Mount Edelstone’ vineyard in 1974, from which he had already been buying fruit and making ‘Mount Edelstone’ Shiraz for over 20 years. The 2019 vintage represents the 67th release of this unique wine, making it Australia’s longest consecutively made single-vineyard Shiraz.

In 1966, Cyril purchased 32 hectares of land on Cranes Range Road, two kilometres west of Henschke Cellars. Here, he planted the Henschke Eden Valley vineyard with predominantly Riesling and Shiraz, although other varieties, including Semillon, were added over the years. Today, the Riesling is the source of the ‘Julius’ Eden Valley Riesling and the Semillon goes into the ‘Louis’ Eden Valley Semillon. The ‘Wheelwright’ Shiraz, only released as a single vineyard Shiraz for the first time in 2015, comes from a 1.6-hectare plot in this vineyard. This is the family’s coolest, most southerly, north-facing site. Planted on sandy soils, not far from the north-western Adelaide Hills, the resulting Shiraz expression is very distinct.

Other parcels of Shiraz are blended with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc to make ‘Keyneton Euphonium’, which Jancis Robinson describes as “an Australian classic at a less than iconic price.” Cyril bottled his first Cabernet Sauvignon from this vineyard in 1976. This cool, elegant wine was named in tribute to Cyril when he passed away in 1979.

In 1981, Stephen and Prue realised the exciting potential of the Adelaide Hills region. They purchased a 13-hectare vineyard in Lenswood, covered in orchards, with beautiful steep slopes and stunning views towards the Eden Valley. They originally established this vineyard for research and development purposes to influence the fruit quality in older Henschke vineyards. Various clones of numerous grape varieties were planted, including Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit quality here led Stephen and Prue to incorporate wines from the ‘Lenswood’ vineyard into the Henschke range. Currently, the ‘Lenswood’ vineyard is undergoing regeneration after the devastating fires in December 2019.

The 2019 vintage was incredibly challenging. Prue and her team worked tirelessly to protect the vines from frost, hail and record summer temperatures. While the quality is outstanding, yields were tiny. Therefore, to complement the 2019 single vineyard release, Stephen and Prue decided to jointly release two museum wines from their cellars: 2008 Hill of Grace Shiraz and 2013 Mount Edelstone Shiraz. As Stephen explained, “while the 2019, 2013 and 2008 vintages all produced excellent wines in their own right, they were all warm, dry seasons that resulted in small, but extremely high-quality yields with an outstanding ability to age.”

In addition to their estate fruit, Stephen and Prue also buy fruit from growers with whom they’ve been dealing for decades. They use this to make their ‘Henry’s Seven’, a blend of Shiraz, Grenache, Mataro and Viognier, and the ‘Johann’s Garden’ Grenache, Mataro and Shiraz. ‘Peggy’s Hill’ Riesling takes its name from a local landmark at the top of the range between the villages of Eden Valley and Keyneton. It is produced from selected Eden Valley growers and displays similar characteristics to the ‘Julius’, yet in a soft, rounder early drinking style.

Vineyards

The eight hectare Hill of Grace vineyard is situated four kilometres north west of Henschke Cellars beside the beautiful Gnadenberg Lutheran Church at an altitude of 400 metres. ‘Gnadenberg’ means ‘Hill of Grace’ in German. First planted in 1860, it was purchased by second-generation Paul Gotthard Henschke in 1891, but it was not until 1958 that winemaker Cyril Henschke made the first single-vineyard Shiraz from the grapes grown here. The red-brown earth over a deep, silty loam has excellent moisture holding capacity for these old, ungrafted, dry grown vines. Organic and biodynamic practices in the vineyard are supported with undervine mulching and permanent cover crops. The original vines, known affectionately as the 'Ancestors' are now approximately 160 years old. They grow alongside a small section of 'Centenarians' (vines over 100 years), and 35 year old vines, which are all planted on their own rootstock.

Vintage

A mild and dry winter was followed by a dry and windy spring with some frost events which disrupted budburst. Hot temperatures in the summer led to the advancement of maturity and early onset of harvest. This warm weather also maintained low disease pressure providing optimal ripening conditions. Despite small yields, 2019 was a high quality vintage with good structure and excellent flavour intensity.

Vinification

Grapes were hand-harvested in the cool of the morning. The fermentations were controlled with pump-overs being performed twice daily. After 7-10 days and just prior to reaching dryness, the must was gently pressed to barrel with the primary fermentation finishing in 90% French and 10% American oak (20% new and 80% seasoned) hogshead barrels. The wine aged for 18 months in oak before assemblage and bottling. It was aged for a further three years in bottle before release.

Tasting Notes & Technical Details

Deep crimson in colour with ruby hues. This wine in intensely fragrant with notes of blackberry, rich plum, and blueberries, beautifully entwined with crushed violets and exotic spices. The palate is velvety with flavours of redcurrant and mulberry with lingering notes of pepper. The concentrated core is balanced by fine tannins which lead to an excellent finish with exceptional length.

Alcohol (ABV)

14.5%

Acidity

5.6 g/l

pH

3.61