In 1983, we planted the first vines in our ‘Jim Jim’ vineyard, situated at 650 metres above sea level, in the very cool Macedon Ranges wine region of Victoria. Our aim was to make a great Australian sparkling wine. We planted Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the same classic varieties used to make champagne. We also trained and trellised the vines in the same manner as the Champenoise.
In 1987 we made our first base wine. Left on lees in stainless steel, it slowly took on the characteristics of thewines from France that we were familiar with. Vintage variations made it clear that the key to our success would be to produce a non-vintage style.
Champagne is so named because it comes from the Champagne region of France. The name “Champagne” is carefully protected with regulations regarding plantings, varieties, viticulture and winemaking. Wine producers in the Macedon Ranges Region have adopted similar rules for their own regional sparkling wine, which is called “Macedon”. So, “Champagne” is from Champagne and “Macedon” is from the Macedon Ranges. In creating Hanging Rock “Macedon” we have unashamedly modelled it on the non-vintage wines of Krug and Bollinger. Both these famous French houses carry huge reserve stocks of past vintages for blending to a consistent style and both ferment and mature at least part of their base wine in oak. We have done all of that.
Macedon XVII - Our seventeenth release is a blend of Vintages, from 2015 back to 2013 inclusive. This is the first of a new style for our Macedon sparkling wine. After 30 years of adding new vintage stock to our ever ageing reserve base wine we decided that the wine needed freshening. This new blend is approximately 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, and the Pinot comprises three distinct clones that each have an important impact on the final balance of the wine. Each year half of each vintage goes through malolactic fermentation and is then barrel aged, the other half is fermented in tank and is added to the reserve wine to make up the most recent blend. This harks back to the way the very first Macedon- Macedon I was made back in 1983.
This release was bottled in May 2015. After approximately 4 years on yeast lees in the bottle, with the second fermentation complete, the bead had become fine and the flavour had developed unmistakeable length due to the yeast autolysis in the bottle. Disgorgement commenced in June 2019, with absolutely minimum liquering (only 2g/l) and with minimal (10ppm) SO2. Undoubtedly it will be described as a rich, flavourful wine.
Palate: The palate is simultaneously full flavoured and yet dry and refreshing; crisp, yet balanced. In short it is the wine of our dreams - a great Australian sparkling wine!
Awards & Reviews: We haven't sent this out to wine writers yet but watch this space!