Now is the perfect time to get your hands on a rare red wine

Henschke has released the latest vintages of its revered single vineyard shiraz, Hill of Grace and Mount Edelstone.

While neither wine is ever in abundance, you'd better move especially fast if you're looking to get your hands on a bottle of the flagship.?

Another low yielding vintage means that like the 2013 before it, Hill of Grace 2014 (RRP $845.00) is particularly scarce, according to winemaker Stephen Henschke.

Villainous elements

The culprit this time was black frost, "cold polar air that burns off everything during springtime and there's nothing you can do about it".

"It all has to reshoot and you tend to get secondary buds reshooting that are only 30 per cent viable compared to the primary buds," says Henschke.

"The quality can be just as good, sometimes even better. But you're sacrificing a lot of fruit.

"That means we have to allocate it very carefully so that everybody gets a very small amount.

"Historically we used to just put people on a one bottle per person allocation."

A touch of grace

The 2014 vintage of Hill of Grace Shiraz is the 56th release of this wine, first created in 1958 by Cyril Henschke, following the success of his first single-vineyard wine created in 1952, Mount Edelstone Shiraz.


Yields may have been challenged but the 2014 growing conditions have still brought a wine of outstanding quality.

"It was quite a cool season, so the wines showed those cooler climate aspects in terms of its aromatics and flavour," says Henschke.

Hill of Grace is held back an extra year before release, so Mount Edelstone 2015 (RRP $225.00) is the new vintage of that wine released alongside Hill of Grace 2014.

A better season

The 2015 season brought much higher yields of both Hill of Grace and Mount Edelstone – about three times greater in both cases.

"The '15, we call that a fairytale sort of vintage. It was really perfect and you see that with the perfume and the spice in the Mount Edelstone," says Henschke.

Both are made from Centenarian vines (over 100 years of age), Hill of Grace planted in about 1860 and Mount Edelstone in 1912.

And last year, Henschke premiered The Wheelwright 2015 (RRP $130), a third single vineyard Eden Valley shiraz made from vines planted in 1968.

Regional flavour

In spite of sharing the Eden Valley Geographical Indication, the contrasting altitude, geological make-up and aspect of the three vineyards produces wines of vastly different character.

The most southerly of the three vineyards, Henschke says The Wheelwright's signature aromatics are herbs and spices, "some sage, pepper, bay leaf and tarragon sort of notes and then red fruits through to blue fruits".

"As you go north and it gets warmer, the Mouth Edelstone has more blue and black fruits and spices. It's very perfumed, with lovely concentration and intensity and layers of flavour and beautiful acidity," he says.

Further north again is Hill of Grace, which Henschke says is unique for its "almost five spice exotic aroma".

"You don't see as much black pepper in Hill of Grace, but there's still some pepper and sage and herbal qualities in there with dark fruits and plums," he says.

The trinity

Yet all three have just as much in common as they do setting them apart, being medium-bodied wines with elegance, texture and complexity that for the uninitiated, will challenge preconceptions of South Australian shiraz.

"There aren't too many wineries that have three single vineyards like this," says Henschke.

"It really makes an interesting study into the influence of vine age on flavour and complexity."

James Atkinson is creator of the?Drinks Adventures podcast?and a previous editor of Australian Brews News and drinks industry publication TheShout. A Certified Cicerone? and 2017 winner of the Australian International Beer Awards media prize, James regularly contributes to other publications including Halliday, Good Food, QantasLink Spirit and more.