In Food + Drink

5 Henschke Wines To Try If The 2014 Henschke Hill Of Grace Is Out Of Budget

The Henschke family are Australian wine royalty and have been making wine for over 150 years, first in the Eden Valley in South Australia and more recently in the Adelaide Hills.

The new 2014 Henschke Hill of Grace, Australia’s most lauded single-vineyard wine, was released recently with a recommended retail price of $845 a bottle – and demand will exceed supply. The tiny four-hectare vineyard from which the grapes are sourced was planted in 1860 – and some of the original vines still remain.

The 2014 vintage of Hill of Grace Shiraz is the 56th release of the icon wine, first created in 1958 by Cyril Henschke.

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Image: 2014 Henschke Hill of Grace / supplied

“We describe Hill of Grace 2014 as a vintage graced by beauty,” says fifth-generation winemaker Stephen Henschke. “We were captured by the beauty of the matured wine; with its complexity, interwoven layers and incredible length.

“We are incredibly fortunate in Australia as a relatively young winemaking country to be able to make wines from some of the oldest vines in the world,” he says. “Our dry-grown, gnarled vines – were planted by my maternal great-great grandfather Nicolaus Stanitzki.”

Those same vines, opposite the historic Gnadenberg Church in the Eden Valley, have been tended by Prue Henschke, Stephen’s viticulturist wife, for close to 40 years. The Hill of Grace is made using organic and biodynamic principles in the vineyard.

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Image: Prue and Stephen Henschke / Facebook

Because the Henschke family’s icon wine is so rare and expensive – sought after by collectors around the world – and the range includes other expensive wines in the Cyril Henschke Cabernet and Mount Edelstone red blend – it is a common misperception that all the wines in the Henschke range are too expensive for mere mortals.

Here are five remarkable value wines from the same family, whose sixth generation are now all involved in the family business.

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Image: 1997 Henschke Hill of Grace / Facebook

Henschke 2017 Five Shillings, $33

This very impressive blend of shiraz and mataro from vineyards in the Barossa and Eden valleys comes in at well under $35 – and you get a lot of quality for your cash. The ungrafted, biodynamically grown shiraz sings and the rustic mataro plays a support role with quality oak (95 per cent older French and American vessels).

The wine pays tribute to Paul Gotthard, the second-generation Henschke winemaker of the early Barossa Lutheran pioneers of South Australia. Deeply flavoured with dark fruits to the fore, this also has floral and spice elements that come together in a soft, smooth package with some earthy elements. Downright delicious with a gourmet burger.

Henschke 2017 Innes Vineyard Pinot Gris, $37

This is one of the star wines from the Henschke family’s expansion from the Eden Valley to the Adelaide Hills. The fruit is grown in Littlehampton and a vineyard with an aspect that has proved outstanding for pinot gris.

The wine is fermented in tanks and then held on lees for six months, with regular stirring to add complexity. Prue Henschke says pinot gris can be a “ho-hum” variety unless it is grown in the right place and this one shines with bright nectarine and stone fruit characters and plenty of palate weight. Great with sushi and sashimi.

Henschke 2017 Henry’s Seven, $37

This is a classic Barossa blend of shiraz, grenache and mataro with 5% of the white grape viognier added to the blend, as is often the case in France’s Rhone Valley. It is all about the fruit quality with just 10% new oak. The other varieties lift the shiraz and the blend offers juicy fruit flavours and some spicy characters.

This is drinking well now but could easily be cellared for 20 years if you like your reds more savoury and less vigorous. Pair this with a hearty winter casserole like osso bucco.

Henschke 2017 Croft Chardonnay, $50

Very serious chardonnay from the Henschke Lenswood vineyard in the Adelaide Hills. The Henschke family purchased the cool vineyard in 1981 and the fruit is whole bunch pressed and fermented in oak. It is matured in mainly older French barriques for 10 months before blending and bottling.

This is a wine with a strong core – think a ballerina; powerful but elegant. Given its citrus and white peach notes, it would be terrific now with pork dishes but will mellow over the next few years.

Henschke 2017 Giles Pinot Noir, $55

Making elegant pinot noir is a very different proposition to producing old-vine reds but the Henschke team has got it right with this lovely wine using fruit from the Adelaide Hills.

Think aromas of black cherry, wild raspberry and red currant with palate notes of wild red berries, cherry and white pepper alongside plenty of acid drive and soft tannins. This would be perfect with a duck pancake or two.

(Lead image: 1997 Henschke Hill of Grace / Facebook)

Published 15 July, 2019