Hanging Rock Winery - Celebrating 30 Years of Shiraz with an Australian Icon- Winehunters
Few, if any living people can lay claim to having achieved as much in Australian wine as John and Ann Ellis. The Ellises founded Hanging Rock in 1983 with little more to hang their hat on than Ann’s pedigree as a fourth generation Tyrrell and John's intangible but formidable experience working with Yalumba, Rosemount Estate (as its first winemaker), and Victorian wine forefather, Peter Tisdall. What they built on dreams, passion, experimentalism, and winemaking acumen would permanently shape the Australian wine industry.
34 years later, Hanging Rock, more than any other winery, has put the Macedon Ranges firmly on the AUS wine map. The best of the innumerable AUS Pinot Noirs we have ever tasted came from right here. And Hanging Rock would be among the top two or three producers of traditional method cool climate sparkling wine (a style they were instrumental in kickstarting) in all of Australia today. We and the industry have recognised these indisputable truths. But what's most impressive to us is that all of this was built from the ground up, on passion and unwavering dedication.
Hanging Rock recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of their first Shiraz. As with every undertaking upon which Hanging Rock embarks, their Shirazes are beyond any reproach. Their 2013 Heathcote Shiraz is one of the best current release Shirazes on the market today. (Hanging Rock astutely sources Shiraz fruit from their vineyards in Heathcote.)
The anniversary event was a rare opportunity to taste through 30 years of one house's Shiraz. Literally, vintages from 1987 right through to the unreleased 2017 were poured. How to describe such a thing? We won't even try. Instead, a couple insights we learnt:
* A well-made Shiraz drinks just fine even at 30 years! True, past 25, these wines have probably yielded some of their former character and complexity, but they are silky smooth and enjoyable.
* For wines of this calibre, 11 to 19 years old was the sweet spot range for us. The wines within this range exhibited the perfect balance of smoothness and power. Take note the next time you are trying to decide how long to cellar your favourite red!
* Our favourite vintages of all were 1998, 2000, 2005, 2006, and 2010 - we'd place all of these squarely between 97 and 100 points. If ever you see one of these, buy it (or better yet, just tell us where you saw it).
Reflecting back on this joyous celebration, one is tempted to say "you would have to have been there." But that is not entirely true. Pick up a bottle of their 2013 Heathcote Shiraz - all of the history and passion that have built Hanging Rock are right there in that bottle. And while John and Ann may have stepped back, the Hanging Rock tradition continues strong with fifth-generation daughter and son duo Ruth and Rob Ellis (marketing and winemaking, respectively) leading Hanging Rock into the next era.
Hanging Rock is #WhyWeLoveWine
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