Henschke Tappa Pass Barossa Shiraz 2018
The vines for the Tappa Pass grapes were planted in the 1940’s and ‘50’s, their roots gnarled deep in soil more than 542 million years old. Contemplating this reminds me of staring out into a darkened night at a sky of stars and feeling that I’m a speck of inconsequentiality: why am I here on earth? What is my purpose? What does it all mean? And it is all going to be okay?! And then I cradle this glass of vibrantly garnet, heady shiraz and marvel at its aromas of black forest gateau, its cocoa and black cherry notes and the richness of spiced blackberries. This wine is textural, ripe with flavour and weight, with integrated oak just a savoury spice note. Each youthful sip is delicious, and somehow comforting, allowing me to believe that somehow, everything is right with the world. Just for a moment anyway.
Henschke Mount Edelstone Eden Valley Shiraz 2016
This veritable mountain of a wine is from centenary vines ungrafted and dry-grown, and one of the first ever single-vineyard Australian wines. It’s mouth-wateringly expressive in the glass, with intense ripe fruits of forest berries and grilled plums, and also savoury elements of eucalypt, sage, dried oregano, tea leaf, earth and black liquorice. The wine has impressive weight, it has texture and tannin grip, it is multilayered and moreish and makes you want to leap forward ten years and decant in time for a plate of Greek 12-hour lamb shoulder with garlic and rosemary potatoes. Book me in!
Henschke Hill of Roses Eden Valley Shiraz 2016
The vines of the Hill of Roses grapes are from the Hill of Grace vineyard, but as they are only (only!) 27 years old are not quite yet worthy of Barossa ‘old vine’ status. This sister wine, though, is worthy of its big brother’s pedigree already: intense aromas of bright black cherry, ripe blackcurrants, black plum compote and bramble, some floral notes interwoven and then savouriness with a bouquet garni of herbs: bay, thyme and sage. It has calm power and richness, with the signature Henschke creamy mouthfeel, elegant structure, fine acidity and silky tannins. A wonderful wine and worthy in its own right.
Henschke Hill of Grace Eden Valley Shiraz 2016
What to say about Hill of Grace? This is a historic icon of a wine, grown in a single vineyard of pre-phylloxera Grandfather vines planted in the 1860’s and lovingly tended using biodynamic and organic principles by the Henschke family for six generations. Am I worthy to taste it? This wine is exquisite. The aromas are of the sun’s afternoon heat on a summer blackberry bush, with blueberries and redcurrants layered with dried thyme, charcuterie and Valrhona chocolate notes. It is intense, it is ripe, it is complete and delicious, with a super creamy texture, massive concentration and seamless tannin. It changes in the glass as I write, now it’s meaty and plush, and velvety and powerful but as graceful in its youth as it undoubtedly will be in ten, twenty or thirty years. It is such an amazing wine. Hill of Grace is a creation to be proud of as Australians, and all of us are most definitely worthy to taste, drink and celebrate it.