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The Henschke family have been making wine at their estate in the Eden Valley since 1868. Fifth-generation winemaker Stephen Henschke took over running the winery 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 great viticulture from Prue, who is at the forefront of re-introducing native plants into their vineyards to improve biodiversity, and winemaking from Stephen, they have built upon their inheritance and turned this traditional producer into one that is recognised by savvy wine drinkers throughout the world.
The eight-hectare Hill of Grace vineyard is situated four kilometres northwest of Henschke Cellars beside the beautiful Gnadenberg Lutheran Church. ‘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, which sit at an altitude of 400 metres. Organic and biodynamic practices in the vineyard are supported with undervine mulching and permanent cover crops.
Henschke’s Hill of Grace is made from 100% hand-picked, old-vine Shiraz. It was vinified in traditional open-top fermenters and matured in 86% French and 14% American (one-third new, two-thirds seasoned) oak hogsheads for 18 months prior to blending and bottling on-site.
Deep rich red in appearance with a touch of purple on the rim, the 2005 Hill of Grace has a nose full of red fruits (cherry, raspberry and red currant), spice (cloves and a hint of cinnamon) and orange zest. It combines elegance with great intensity. The full richness of the fruit and spice elements are underpinned with firm, but not obtrusive, tannins and lively acidity. The finish is very long.