Australia's wine of the year is Hill of Grace

Winemaker Stephen Henschke in the Hill of Grace vineyard, Photo: Dragan Radocaj

The new 2012 vintage of Henschke Hill of Grace from South Australia has been named the country’s wine of the year by influential wine judge James Halliday.

The accolade was announced at the launch of the 2018 Halliday Wine Companion in Melbourne last night. The latest vintage of Hill of Grace was released in May and costs $800.

Unsurprisingly, it was also named best shiraz.

Australia’s most famous single-vineyard wine, from the Eden Valley, above the famed Barossa region, was first made by Stephen Henschke’s father Cyril in 1958 when the original vines were nearly 100 years old, having been planted in 1860 by the fifth-generation winemaker’s great-great-grandfather.

“Hill of Grace vineyard is a special site. The vineyard is only made up of four hectares of shiraz ranging from 70 to over 150 year old vines. The wine really is history in the bottle,” said Stephen.

Henschke paid tribute to his wife, Prue, as viticulturist, who tends the vines using organic and biodynamic principles.

“Her work is already showing huge benefits in soil health and moisture retention for these pre-phylloxera, dry-grown sentinels. Hill of Grace Shiraz is a reflection of the wonderful flavours and balance this site can achieve,” he said.

Other wines and vineyards recognised by Halliday, considered the godfather of Australian wine writing and judging, included Clare Valley’s Grosset, named best value winery, while Mount Mary in Victoria’s Yarra Valley was named winery of the year and valley neighbours Dappled Wine was best new winery and Boat O’Craigo “dark horse”.

Paul Hotker from Bleasdale in South Australia’s Langhorne Creek was named winemaker of the year.

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