Henschke Hill Of Grace 2006
The Henschke family has been making wine since Johann Christian Henschke planted a small vineyard on his diverse farming property at Keyneton in 1862. He was one of many Silesians who had fled their homeland in search of religious freedom, and he arrived from Kutschlau in 1841. The wine was initially intended for consumption by family and friends, but with the first commercial release in 1868, believed to be principally riesling and shiraz, the wheels were set in motion for greater things to come.
Open fermented, with header boards to keep the cap submerged, and matured in new French (70%) and American (30%) hogsheads from several coopers for 18 months, having completed the final stages of fermentation in barrel. Bright red-purple; highly fragrant spice, cedar, red and black berry aromas, oak evident but not excessive; it has a silky, velvety texture and mouthfeel to a beautifully balanced medium-bodied palate brimming with black fruits; wonderful length and finish. Surely one of the best Hill of Graces. Shiraz. Release July 2010. Screwcap, 14.5% alc; Rating: 97 points; Drink: to 2026; James Halliday; Weekend Australian
OK, it's not exactly a giveaway price but it deserves its place amoung the great wines of the world. Lovely spicy concentration of fruit with lifted aromas that are floral and pure. Palate is intense and very powerful with a silky smooth tannin and oak-infused texture. It has real power and concentration. It's lively, robust and showing great intensity. Wonderful balance and poise and a wine that will cellar for many years. The spicy characters and quite profound. Perfect with roast lamb on the weber. 97 Points; Ray Jordan, West Australian
A complex and lively rendition of Australia’s most famous single-vineyard wine, it makes a confident impression dressed in a mix of cedary French and sweeter-smelling American oak. There are plenty of red fruits on offer already, some pepper and the trademark five-spice complexity of the Church Block parcel, moving into earthy savoury elements borne of the leanersoiled components. The acidity stands up early on the palate and there is a sweep of dense, fleshy, dark-plum and blackberry fruit flavour through the middle, setting up a soft, rolling wave of tannins and a sturdily structured palate. Beautifully balanced, this will age slowly and profoundly. It’s still very much a wine in the making. Nick Stock, Australian Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine
I never quite understood the Hill of Grace style, shrouded, as it was for some years, under a cloud of brettanomyces (barrel yeast infection). I had a return to Grace with the 2005 vintage, and its successor has confirmed it. This is a pure expression of Australia’s most famous single vineyard, with a bouquet that erupts with all manner of exotica – game, five spice, beef stock and black fruits. There is a mood of restrained power to the palate, as concentrated pepper, black plum and mulberry fruit rise and swoop. The mouth feel is silky and supple, riding on tannin texture resembling the finest plum skins, giving the wine an appealing approachability and at the same time great longevity. Amazing Grace. Vintage: 2006; Points: 96; Alcohol: 14.5%; Region: Eden Valley; Tasted: April 2010; Closure: Screw cap; Tyson Stelzer, Clear About Wine
So what’s it like then, this most expensive of all new release Australian wines? There’s plenty of tasteful malty nutty oak, a little minty fragrance, spice and pepper with rich black and blue fruits. It’s full bodied with a slippery seductive texture - the tannins super fine but fully supportive of the rich fruit. Savoury oak shows a firm hand at this early stage, but is in harmony. I noted a slight saltiness and warmth too, but not as negatives. Combines intensity and abundant flavour without being heavy or leaden. Superb long peppery finish. It’s surprisingly approachable now, and with a good decant will make a satisfying drink for the rich and/or hasty, although obviously its best days are ahead of it. Rated : 96 Points; Tasted : Mar10; Alcohol : 14.5%; Closure : Screwcap; Drink : 2016 - 2026+ Gary Walsh; The Wine Front
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