It’s the little things, the flutter of wings, that count. When I heard recently that new Adelaide Crows coach Phil Walsh had been asked to pay John Worsfold’s consultancy fee in wine, rather than in money, I was pretty sure I knew what that wine would be. Aussie sporting heroes and high profile business folk always trade in Grange. Cricketer Ricky Ponting was even promised 41 bottles of Grange when he retired; one for each test century. Grange isn’t so much an invincible as an indisputable. It’s Australia’s most bragworthy wine.
Except that John Worsfold, specifically, asked for Henschke Hill of Grace Shiraz. Or so it was reported.
And he did so shortly after, or around the same time as, high profile business writer Alan Kohler wrote in The Australian that: “The Barossa Valley’s Henschke family have decided they want their iconic Hill of Grace Shiraz, generally regarded as the second best Australian wine, to sell at a higher price point than Treasury Wine Estate’s Penfolds Grange, and thus become seen as Australia’s best.”
Indeed in this same article Kohler seemed to both egg Henschke on, and promote the idea that people in the know already think Hill of Grace is an inherently better wine.
“Most, if not all, of the great wines of the world are single vineyard, like Hill of Grace,” he wrote.
Of course neither Henschke Hill of Grace nor Penfolds Grange hold the title of Australia’s most expensive new-release wines – Kohler seemed to suggest that the title mattered – and in any case, many wine enthusiasts would argue that Henschke’s less expensive Mount Edelstone Shiraz is the family winery’s best Eden Valley wine. Quibbles aside, the romance of the single vineyard wine is leaking its way into the world of the moneyed suits. This isn’t a world interested in truth, or nuance, or shades of grey; this is a world where the snappy, decisive, dismissive sound bite is a powerful thing. Henschke Hill of Grace is a better wine because it’s single vineyard and all the world’s best wines are single vineyard. Now, about that idea you floated earlier …
This isn’t about being right; it’s about being convincing. Settling any argument.
Which puts Henschke in a nice place indeed.
Though in the bottle, in the glass, the latest-release 2010 puts it in the best place of all.
Alcohol : 14.5%
Price : $650
Closure : Screwcap
Drink : 2020 - 2040
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