Tuesday, July 8, 2008

1990 Henschke Hill of Grace

Last night my wife and I had reason for a very special celebration. So we thought we pull out a big one. Look at the gunk in this bottle. This is a $500 bottle now, so it is satisfying to read in my database that I bought this wine in 1993 for $43 only. Not a bad return, but no way I would return this wine.

This surely must be one of the greatest wines produced in Australia in the last 20 years. I talked in my first post about the french way of describing a wine. Well this is a 'female' wine in their vocabulary.

I decided to air and decant the wine, but not for too long, as I was concerned that too much air might affect the flavour. Boy, was I wrong. As we started to drink the wine, it was still quite closed, but after 10 minutes, beautiful aromas started to open up. The fruit flavours were still strong, quite complex. My wife and I had quite different views of what they were. But the overwhelming impression was elegance and silkiness to a degree hardly ever seen in Australian wine. The wine displayed great length and super soft tannins. What a treat.

So is Hill of Grace a Grange challenger? Well, it is a completely different wine. To pick up the french theme again: if the Grange is a masculine wine, the Hill of Grace is a feminine wine. What Grange achieves in fruit concentration and depth, Hill of Grace achieves in elegance and silkiness. Both unrivalled in Australia on these dimensions.

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