Macedon LD Cuvée VI named Newcastel Herald- John Lewis
“Forever Blowing Bubbles.
For the first time a Sparkling wine is top of the bunch as we review the top wines of 2006”
“John Ellis, the son of a Methodist teetotaller, began his working life in an inauspicious way by failing veterinary science at university and drifting into casual work as a drink waiter and winery cellar door hand.
That prompted a switch to the winemaking degree course at South Australia’s Roseworthy College, from which he graduated dux in 1971.
Today, John is one of Australia’s premier winemakers and he is the creator of Hanging Rock Macedon LD Cuvee VI – my 2006 Wine of the Year and my sparkling wine of the year.
It’s the first time a sparkler has been my wine of the year, but I believe it is something very special that fulfills John Ellis’s dream of making a landmark Australian wine in the style of the Champagnes of Krug and Bollinger.
The Macedon LD Cuvee VI comes encased in a silver metal cage and, at $110 it is Australia’s most expensive sparkling wine.
It has tiny, long-lasting bubbles and aromas of citrus and freshly baked bread. Delicate melon flavour comes through on the front of the palate and complex elements of ripe strawberries and cream, shortbread biscuits and toasted nuts chime in on the middle palate. Agreeably tight, steely acid features at the finish. John Ellis describes it as his ‘no expense spared piece de résistance’.
The LD on the label stands for Late Disgorged and its production reflects the methods used in the Bollinger RD (recently disgorged) Champagnes. Happily there are still small stocks available at the cellar door at 88 Jim Road Newham Victoria or by mail order 0354 270 542 or http://www.hangingrock.com.au/.
John and his wife Ann, the daughter of the late Murray Tyrrell, established their Hanging Rock operation in Victoria’s cool Mt Macedon area in 1983.
Before that John had worked in South Australia at Krondorf and Yalumba before coming to the Hunter to help establish the Saxonvale Winery at Fordwich in 1974. He then became Rosemount Estates inaugural winemaker at Denman in 1974.
From 1978 to 1983 John drove the Tisdall winemaking operation at Echuca , then he and Ann launched Hanging Rock in the cold, testing environment of Victoria’s Macedon Ranges area.
In the Red wines – Shiraz category, John Lewis nominates the Wolf Blass 2003 Platinum Label Barossa Shiraz as his top pick for 2006. His other 2006 Shiraz favourites include Hanging Rock 2003 Heathcote Shiraz.