Huon Hooke reviews Heathcote Shiraz The Age Good Weekend Feb 11 2006
Heathcote is a fast growing Victorian region specialising in full bodied reds, mainly from the Shiraz grape. John and Ann Ellis’s Hanging Rock Winery is in the Macedon Ranges, not far from Heathcote. It’s produced a Heathcote Shiraz from bought-in grapes since the late 1980’s and was one of the first producers to widely distribute a continuous line of serious Heathcote Shiraz, for which the Ellis’s always held lofty aspirations. The first was in 1987.
The Ellis’s now part own a vineyard there: Athol’s Paddock (planted by ex Seekers bass player Athol Guy) has provided grapes to Hanging Rock for years. The Ellis’s also buy fruit from other growers on about ten vineyards spread throughout the area from north to south.
As the region has grown and vineyard resources expanded, Hanging Rock now has enough grapes to release three Heathcote Shirazes. And the 2003’s are all very good.
The flagship original, is the Heathcote Shiraz ($60); a dense, blackish coloured blockbuster with mocha/coffee aromas and a solid, chewy, tannic palate. Very impressive. It needs 3 or 4 years and will drink for 20+.
Rowbottoms Shiraz ($33) a single vineyard wine from the cooler southern end near the Heathcote township. It also has arrestingly dark colour and a super-ripe, rich bouquet with a lacing of garden mint and Bonox aromas. It’s a leaner wine, still chewy, but with more lively acidity.
The Cambrian Rise Shiraz ($27) also has vivid colour but smells deeply of blackberry, plum and violet. It’s concentrated, spicy, full bodied and firm in tannins, an excellent red and the value buy of the trio.
All three are sealed with Diam technical corks, which are claimed to be taint free (and I’ve personally never found a cork-tainted wine with a Diam in it)