Wednesday, 5 May 2021

New-release Australian benchmark red wine shines


Arguably Australia's most collectible wine, the 2016 vintage of Henschke Hill of Grace Shiraz is released today - and it will delight lovers of bigger red wine styles.

Henschke Hill of Grace is a single-vineyard wine grown in a shallow alluvial valley just north-west of the Henschke winery in South Australia's Eden Valley.

The name comes from the beautiful Gnadenberg Lutheran Church overlooking the ancient vineyard, where a congregation gathers weekly; Gnadenberg translating from German to ‘Hill of Grace’.

The oldest vines, known as the ‘Grandfathers’, were planted circa 1860 by Nicolaus Stanitzki from pre-phylloxera material brought from Europe, and are estimated to be just over 160 years of age.

As Henschke winemaker for four decades, Stephen Henschke now walks these ancient vines with his wife Prue, one of Australia’s most talented and dedicated botanically trained viticulturists.

The vines are managed with organic and biodynamic practices and grow within the native landscape; an ecosystem of local grasses and flowering plants.

“My philosophy is a holistic one; to ensure that the created environment sits in a healthy balance with the natural environment,” says Prue.

This is the 59th vintage (55th release) of Henschke Hill of Grace. Every vintage from the single vineyard is a limited release, however some are more limited than others.

There was no Hill of Grace made in 1960, 1974 and 2000. Just one barrel was produced in 2003; no vintage in 2011 and extremely tiny vintages for 2013, 2014, 2019 and 2020.

“The 2016 vintage will be recognised for deeply coloured, plush, dark-fruited wines, which are concentrated, complex, vibrant and energetic, with beautifully layered mature tannins; overall characterised by average yields of small berries and exceptionally high quality,” says Stephen.

“They are very much akin to high-quality vintages such as 1988, 1994 and 2008, all of which have shown exceptional ageing potential in ideal cellaring conditions.”

The new Hill of Grace is a big, rich, deep, serious wine that I am sure will cellar well - but I showed it to eight people and they all loved its plushness.

The Henschke family have also released the Mount Edelstone Shiraz 2016 alongside Hill of Grace.

Mount Edelstone was first produced in 1952 by fourth-generation winemaker Cyril Henschke, one of Australia’s leading pioneers of dry table wines, from 16 hectares of shiraz planted in 1912 by Ronald Angas, descendant of English landowner George Fife Angas. This is the 64th release.

A sibling wine to Hill of Grace; Hill of Roses Shiraz 2016, a young-vine wine produced from a mass selection of the best performing shiraz vines on the Hill of Grace vineyard, has also been released. It is a bit of a blockbuster.

Henschke Hill of Grace 2016, Mount Edelstone 2016 and Hill of Roses 2016 are available now through fine wine retailers, restaurants and the Henschke website and cellar door.

Henschke Hill of Grace Eden Valley Shiraz 2016 RRP $890.00

Henschke Hill of Roses Eden Valley Shiraz 2016 RRP $415.00

Henschke Mount Edelstone Eden Valley Shiraz 2016 RRP $225.00

Henschke, one of Australia’s oldest family-owned wineries, has been making wine for over 150 years.

Established in 1868, Henschke is resolute in its desire for complete integration of vineyard and winery, through six generations of family grape growing and winemaking tradition in the Eden Valley and Barossa Valley.

For more information, visit the Henschke website at henschke.com.au

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