Hill of Grace
100% shiraz from pre-phylloxera material brought from Europe by the early settlers in the mid-1800s and grown on the Hill of Grace vineyard in the Eden Valley wine region.
Harvest Date: 19 March-4 April | Alcohol: 14.5% | pH: 3.56 | Acidity: 6.3g/L
Matured in 58% new and 42% seasoned (85% French and 15% American) hogsheads for 18 months prior to blending the separate parcels from the vineyard and bottling.
Over 165 years ago Johann Christian Henschke came from Silesia to settle and build his farm in the Eden Valley region. By the time third-generation Paul Alfred Henschke took over the reins in 1914, the now famed Hill of Grace vines were more than 50 years old. They were planted around the 1860s by an ancestor, Nicolaus Stanitzki, in rich alluvial soil in a shallow fertile valley just north-west of the winery. The red-brown earth grading to deep silty loam has excellent moisture-holding capacity for these dry-grown vines, that sit at an altitude of 400m, with an average rainfall of 520mm. Hill of Grace is a unique, delineated, historic single vineyard that lies opposite a beautiful old Lutheran church, which is named after a picturesque region in Silesia known as Gnadenberg, meaning ‘Hill of Grace’. Cyril Henschke made the first single-vineyard shiraz wine from this vineyard in 1958 from handpicked grapes vinified in traditional open-top fermenters.
The La Niña pattern weakened during the lead-up to the 2012 vintage, resulting in below average winter and spring rainfall. July was the driest since the serious drought of 2003. Spring was mild with few frost events; however, flowering and fruit set were affected by wet drizzly weather in mid to late November, leading to only average yields. Summer was also surprisingly mild with below average temperatures from southerlies off the ocean in January and only two short heat events, at New Year and at the end of February. This provided for slow ripening which allowed for intense fruit flavours, high colour figures, high acidity and mature tannins. Rainfall leading up to vintage was above average, with the heaviest rainfall events in late January and late February, which tied in well with the natural physiology of the dry-grown vines; ie, keeping leaves active at veraison and ripening. Temperatures were mild during harvest through March, warming to an Indian summer in April, allowing for a long window of picking and amazing maturities with the red varieties.
Shiraz was a standout variety showing great purity and spice, colour, intensity and strikingly mature tannins. Yields were average with exceptional overall quality.
PRESS AND REVIEWS