The Henschke family’s presence in the South Australia’s Eden Valley spans six generations of winemaking dating back to 1868.
Stephen and Prue Henschke have continued that tradition for nearly 40 years, producing one of the country’s most famous and acclaimed wines, Hill of Grace, made from from shiraz grapes from 153-year-old vines.
About this time of the year, the new vintage HoG normally lands – last year’s 2012 was lauded by Huon Hooke as sublime and the most impressive vintage he’d ever tasted, while James Halliday declared it his 2017 wine of the year.
But the Henschkes have decided to do things a little differently for the 2013 Hill of Grace, in part because this year marks an incredible 150 years since Johann Christian Henschke produced his first vintage in the Eden Valley, so the release date will be September 3, 2018.
Stephen says 2013 vintage of Hill of Grace is one of the smaller vintages in recent years. Minimal rainfall resulted in “beautiful though tiny yields” from the 4 hectares of dry-grown vineyard, so there won’t be a lot the wine to go around.
Last year the 2012 HoG retailed for $825. He hasn’t yet set a price for the 2013.
But the good news is to that the six generation family plans to release a new red, The Wheelwright, produced from 50-year-old low-yielding, ungrafted, biodynamically-grown shiraz vines planted by Stephen’s dad, Cyril, about the time he created Hill of Grace.
The Wheelwright 2015 Shiraz was fermented matured in 5% new and 95% seasoned (75% French, 25% American) oak hogsheads for 20 months before blending and bottling. It will be priced at $130 a bottle.
Henschke says 2015 was “an exceptional quality vintage in the Eden Valley”.
“The wine expresses signature characteristics of blue and black berries, violets, anise and bay leaves, with excellent palate structure and fine velvety tannins,” he says.
The wine’s name is a tribute to the winery’s founder, Johann Christian Henschke, who was also a skilled stonemason and wheelwright.
The wine will be released alongside the 2013 Hill of Grace on September 3.
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