Wine: Henschke “Hill of Grace”
Region: Eden Valley
Hello once again to all you wine lovers!
With Christmas now just around the corner, I will stick with the high priced luxury wines and have a look at the single region South Australian wine that is the top echelon of what is single varietal wine in Australia. This wine is known as the “Hill of Grace”. This vineyard is located in the Eden Valley, which is about a fifteen minute drive out of the Barossa Valley. The Hill of Grace vineyard is 400m above sea level, and on the lip of the Flinder’s Rangers. Due to this location, the Shiraz it produces is not as rich in fruit as that of the Barossa, but it enables to add more complexity to the wine, with the introduction of herbs and spice notes.
More information about the Hill of Grace vineyard can be found here
Therefore, tonight’s wine is only on a small little 8ha plot of land, and this wine commands the price tag close to that of the world renown Penfolds Grange. (Thanks to the small amount of Shiraz fruit and the age of the vines.) Never-the-less, unlike Penfolds, this wine actually reflects more upon the region than on the absolute necessity of being a massive wine with great cellaring potential.
Onto the wine, and at 700 dollars a bottle, I was expecting something huge.
On the nose, this wine gave me, plum, blackberry, star anise, and cured meats. With undertones of, blackcurrants, licorice and sage. Maturation in French Oak gave off a nice smell of soft ceder wood. Thanks to cooler climates and clay soils, which are good at retaining moisture; this wine shows more of the spices associated with Shiraz, alongside the fruit. Rather than the big fruit drive, which is offered to us from the Barossa Valley.
On to the palate, and this wine gives some nice generous fruit upfront. It was nowhere as big as I was expecting it to be. I was thinking more full bodied, but this wine is quite delicate and you would categorise it as a medium bodied wine. However, upfront we are given plum and blackberry working alongside some beautiful fruit and oak spice. (Think Chinese 5 spice here.) This wine works into traces of leafy herbs with the spice still pushing in, and then tails of into blackfruits, with licorice and the ever persistent oak related spice. This wine carries licorice and ceder wood which lasted in my mouth for ages and ages.
This is not a big bold wine. Yet, is has this charming complexity about it. I was expecting more from the get-go. However, I got treated a a luxurious wine that just kept unraveling itself in my mouth. It is silky and beautifully balanced. If you are looking for a bold wine then I would suggest going along with the Grange, at near enough to the same price. If you’re looking for a wine that offers something luxurious, then this is more the wine for you.
Owning a bottle of Grange is like owning a muscle car. Full of power and an absolute raging brute. Owning a bottle of Hill of Grace is like owning a Rolls Royce. Refined, dignified and promotes elegance and class. Never-the-less, both are not everyday wines. These are the type of things associated with nice weekends.
When it comes to telling you which is better, it is like comparing chalk and cheese. Both are fantastic wines, and if you have a wine lover in your family and are thinking of the ultimate Christmas gift, then either one of these wines will do nicely. (Heck, someone put a bottle of either under my Christmas tree!)
Drink: Now- 2040
The SA Wine Guy