1998 Henschke "Hill of Grace" Shiraz Eden Valley South Australia

SKU #1012536 97 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 It is hard to find a more compelling red than Henschke’s 1998 Shiraz Hill of Grace. Made from 100% Shiraz (from vines averaging 52-144 years of age), and aged in primarily new American and French oak for 18 months, it is unquestionably profound. Its dense ruby/purple color is followed by a gorgeous perfume of blackberries, graphite, and subtle wood. Dense and full-bodied yet extraordinarily well-defined and layered, it remains young and backward, with tremendous potential. It is the finest Hill of Grace I have ever passed over my palate and down the gullet. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2020+.  (8/2003)

96 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright red-ruby. Explosive if idiosyncratic aromas of tobacco, pepper, black olive, mocha and hot stones. Pungent and penetrating, with compelling flavors of raspberry, tobacco, black olive, dried rose, mocha, herbs and spices, plus a strong underlying minerality (I was variously reminded of Lafite, Haut-Brion and Ausone!). Suave and perfumed in the mouth; wonderfully ripe but dry. Finishes with noble tannins and great palate-staining length and grip. This wine is not for everyone-and a good thing, too, since it's extremely limited-but it certainly flipped my switch.  (8/2004)

95 points Wine & Spirits

 *no tasting note given*  (10/2003)

94 points Wine Enthusiast

 Hill of Grace has a smell that reminds me of my grandmother’s handbag--cloth, with a wooden handle,-- says Stephen Henschke. Strange but understandable. I thought it smelled like an odd but nice mix of green olive, eucalyptus and eggroll wrapper. It’s a beautiful wine, with a base of red plums on the palate, dusted with mulling spices. Finishes with a flourish of clay and chalk.  (2/2004)

93 points Wine Spectator

 A rambunctious wine, brimming with personality. Round and earthy, with a distinct barnyard note that cuts through the rich black cherry, blackberry and leathery, leafy, almost rustic flavors that persist on the finish...  (9/2003)

Jancis Robinson

 Still quite purple and youthful-looking. Intense, ripe, briary nose with some notes of a decongestant. Quite high-toned with decided lift. A real baby with extraordinary amounts of tannin tucked in beneath satin-smooth overlay of carefully vinified fruit. Very fine tannins and a very dry finish. 18.5/20 points.  (9/2005)

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Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.
Country:

Australia

- While it is true that the greatest strides in Australian winemaking have come in the last 30 years or so, commercial viticulture began as early as the 1820s and has developed uninterrupted ever since. The majority of the great wine regions are in the southeastern area of the continent, including Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, and Coonawarra in South Australia; Yarra Yarra Valley and Pyrenees in Victoria; and the Upper and Lower Hunter Valleys in New South Wales. Many of the wines from Southeastern Australia are based on Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon and various blends including Grenache and Mourvedre. In Western Australia, along the Margaret River, great strides are being made with Pinot Noir as well as Bordeaux-styled reds. There are also many world-class releases of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from the land Down Under, where Riesling also enjoys international acclaim. While many equate Aussie wines with “value,” there are more than a few extremely rare and pricey options, which never fail to earn the highest ratings from wine publications and critics throughout the world. View a list of bestselling items from Australia.
Sub-Region:

South Australia

Specific Appellation:

Eden Valley