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Sunday 8 March 2015

Sir Don Bradman, fine Australian art and Henschke Hill of Grace

The Henschke family do not do things by halves. When they unveil a wine, particularly a new release of Australia's iconic single-vineyard shiraz, they do things in style. 

So, for the launch of the 2010 Hill of Grace, how about an invitation to Adelaide Oval for a behind the scenes tour, a tasting of several new releases; a look at the 2010 Hill of Grace alongside the 2002 and 2005 releases, and then lunch in the new Hill of Grace restaurant overlooking the famous pitch?

First stop, the Bradman Collection; a purpose-built museum honouring the greatest batsman in the history of cricket, Sir Don Bradman, and a chance to browse a priceless collection of memorabilia dating from 1927 to 1977, including rare footage and bats used by the great man. 

Next stop the Sheffield Shield Room, which pays homage to South Australia's long cricketing history and a glass of Johanne Ida Selma MD Blanc de Noir from the Adelaide Hills, before a chance to check out the historic old scoreboard, which is still operated by hand, along with a venerable Henschke 1987 Rhine Riesling.

Next up, a tasting of several new and recent releases, including the 2010 Hill of Grace, which will now sell for $699 a bottle. This is a wine of remarkable intensity from a great vintage, destined to be rated with the greatest Hill of Graces. Think ripeness, concentration, balance and a tribute to a remarkable vineyard. 

This is a wise wine, one that is comfortable in its skin even in its youth. 

Other stars across the range included the 2014 Coralinga Sauvignon Blanc ($20), a splendid 2014 Archer's Chardonnay ($30), the 2013 Giles Pinot Noir (a big step up on previous incarnations, $50), the new 2012 Rose Grower (an impressive blend of nebbiolo and barbera, $55), and a sneak peek at the 2014 Johann's Garden ($45), a vibrant blend of grenache, mataro and shiraz with delicious intensity. 

Since 2009, launched last year with a poem by Rupert McCall, each new release Hill of Grace will be matched to an artwork; this year a triptych of old vines by leading Barossa artist Rod Schubert, a distant relation of Grange creator Max Schubert. 

It was unveiled to much applause and a replica of the triptych "A Year Graced By Radiance" will be included in each timber gift box of 2010 Henschke Hill of Grace. which will be released in May. 

The wine is certain to be in huge demand. As was the case in 2000 and 2003, there will be no 2011 Hill of Grace - the wine is only made in fine vintages.    

Then followed lunch at the spectacularly sited Hill of Grace restaurant; an amuse bouche with 2014 Green's Hill Riesling; Inasal duck, mushrooms and pork liver sauce with 2012 Keyneton Euphonium, Suffolk lamb with bunya nut puree, again matched with generous pours of the 2010 Hill of Grace, and a tres leche cake with cumquat marmalade paired with 2013 Noble Rot Semillon. 

It was a quite splendid affair, as you'd expect from the Henschkes, wine royalty who have been making wine since Johann Christian Henschke planted a small vineyard on his diverse farming property at Keyneton, high above the Barossa Valley, back in 1862.

He was one of many Silesians who had fled their European homeland in search of religious freedom, and initially made wine to be enjoyed by his family and friends.

He would be very pleasantly surprised, no doubt, to learn that today the Henschke name is known around the world with the family's flagship Hill of Grace one of the most acclaimed single-vineyard releases, and hugely sought-after by collectors.

Christian Henschke's first commercial release was in 1868, setting the wheels in motion for greater things to come.

Each generation has helped build the business, still owned and operated by the family. Fourth-generation vigneron Cyril Henschke pioneered varietal and single-vineyard wines at a time when blended wines and fortifieds were in vogue.

His greatest legacy was the creation of Hill of Grace and Mount Edelstone in the 1950s, shiraz wines from Eden Valley that have captured the wine world’s imagination.

The Eden Valley, Mount Edelstone, Hill of Grace and Lenswood vineyards are all managed by viticulturist Prue Henschke using biodynamic and organic principles.

Prue works alongside her winemaker husband Stephen and in 2006 the couple made the decision to go fully organic, including the use of some biodynamic practices. Sustainability is their watchword.

The famous Hill of Grace vineyard contains some vines that are over 120 years old, while Mount Edelstone was planted in 1912. 

With each sip of wine you are enjoying a slice of family history. 

# The writer was a guest of Henschke Wines.

1 comment:

  1. Well done guys at Barossa enterprises Clare for making a excellent display boxes for henschke wines fantastic job.