2016 Henschke Hill of Grace
PLEASE NOTE: 1 Bottle Limit Per Customer
From a core of vines planted around 1860 (plus some 100+ and 35+ yo vines) at 400m elevation. Matured 18 months in 85/15% French/ American oak, 29% new. Such effortless grace and caressing elegance, in the presence of commanding endurance that will sustain it for half a century. This is the paradox that defines the legendary fable that is Hill of Grace. 2016 embodies this: the profound depth of black fruits, bathed in the inimitable fragrance and exotic Chinese five-spice that characterises these old vines, set to tannins more finely textured yet more commanding than ever. Resist the seductive temptations of its youth and drink the 2015 first, because the true spectacle of 2016 is decades away. Drink by 2066.
Tyson Stelzer – Australian Wine Companion (January 2021)
Henschke's 2016 Hill of Grace Shiraz is locked up tight behind a stubborn wall of firm tannins. Scents of pencil shavings, mocha, bay leaf, mixed berries and plums appear on the nose, while the full-bodied palate starts off broad, expansive and creamy, then draws to a chewy, drying finish. There's ample concentration, length, complexity and a definitive track record of aging, so put this version away for several years while waiting for it to emerge and show its true glory. If you absolutely must drink it now, decanting for a couple of hours helps soften the tannins and brings the fruit forward. Drink 2025 - 2045.
Joe Czerwinski – Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (April 2021)
This magnificent red is seamless and creamy, with complex details creating a balanced chorus of flavors, showing notes of white truffle, maraschino cherry, succulent apricot, dark roast coffee, salted caramel and toasted cumin seed. Though full-bodied, this is so polished and supple it has an effortless air about it, with a long, epic finish. Shiraz. Drink now through 2036.
Maryann Worobiec– Wine Spectator (April 2021)
“I think the quality of the 15s and 16s are a bit like choosing between your children in a way”, states vigneron Stephen Henschke, Sophie’s Choice and all that. “It was an absolute classic vintage, and then a challenging one, and then one that finished superbly”, says Henschke. More like 2008, perhaps, or stretch back to 1994, 1988, dart across to 2005, Henschke qualifies when pressed, “flavour intense wines with lots of energy. All earlier vintages”. The idea being for drinkers, that this release presents like a richer, riper years, per se. Still with the pedigree. No doubt.
Huge fragrance, all that exotic spice, old spice cupboard, pepper, cinnamon, salted liquorice, dried flowers, dried leaves, blackcurrants, plum. A very epic perfume. Haunting, beautiful, draws you in to find all those details. Intensity is the word for flavours. So powerful yet a sense of restraint, a tension between the concentration and the taut webbing of acidity and fine, suede tannins with exceptional length. The layers here, the grace, the texture. Accessible and formidable now, so much good of everything, though wait for this one too.
Mike Bennie - The Wine Front (March 2021)
This is the (robustly priced) jewel in the Henschke crown, the produce of arguably the most famous old vineyard in Australia with an average age of 70 to 80 years although The Grandfathers block was planted way back, on the deepest, siltiest soil, in 1860. Each of the several blocks apparently has a different character according to soil type. The original Ancestors (vines over 125 years) are now approximately 160 years old and remain the heart of Hill of Grace, along with a small selection of centenarians (vines over 100 years), and vines that qualify as old vines (over 35 years) in the Barossa Old Vine Charter scheme – all planted on their own roots. Picked 9 to 14 March. Matured in 85% French and 15% American hogsheads for 18 months prior to blending and bottling. 29% of the oak was new.
Pretty deep purplish crimson. Not much evolution at the rim (unlike the Hill of Roses). Initially pretty reticent on the nose. Then fumes started to swirl up from the glass as from a cauldron! I'm thinking witches here. Luscious ripe fruit within a stern framework – it really is impossible to spit out. Strong saline quality on the (very long) finish. Just unfurling in the glass but the intensity of the fruit almost masks the tannic charge. I know Stephen Henschke talks about the red and black fruit here but I get lots of mineral stuff. It is a really very unusual combination of lift/freshness with intensity of historic Shiraz. Such throat-soothing persistence! But what a price!! (Though more or less the same as Penfolds Grange 2016.) 24 hours later the colour seems to have mellowed. But the wine is still amazingly luscious and broad with strong mineral and saline notes. Decant this and you could enjoy it immediately. Drink 2021 – 2040.
Jancis Robinson (March 2021)