During our recent holiday in Australia we once strayed from our home turf. We went west towards Bendigo. On our way back from a visit in Castlemaine, we came through the Macedon Ranges wine region where we had never been before. This was a perfect opportunity to get to know some of the wines there. I had always dreamt of visiting the famous Hanging Rock Winery (www.hangingrock.com.au) whose webpage I had visited before. Visiting ‘virtually’ is one thing, but nothing beats the real thing. So we pulled up for a tasting. The winery is situated near the small settlement of Woodend. From the cellar door one has a wonderful view of the famous Hanging Rock, a major tourist attraction of the region.
The Hanging Rock seen from Hanging Rock Winery
It was a grisly day and we were cold when we entered the cosy tasting room. Andrew showed us some of the outstanding wines produced at the Jim Jim Vineyard . The Macedon Ranges is a cool climate region, producing some of the finest sparklings in Australia. We also tasted wines made from grapes from the Heathcote area, another well known wine region of Victoria. In sharp contrast to the Macedon Ranges, Heathcote is hot and therefore ideal for red varieties such as Shiraz.
We talked about all kinds of things; among others the challenges of the Asian, especially the Chinese, wine markets. We had a great time and bought a few wines, from the Rock range, the premium range (yellow label) and the super premium range (black label). Some days later, together with friends, we decided to sample the 2003 Heathcote Cambrian Rise (which won a gold medal at the 2007 Korea Wine show). It is indeed a very impressive wine.
From a brochure called milestones, I learned many interesting facts about the winery and its owner, John Ellis, and his family and friends. 2007 is a special year for the Ellis family and Hanging Rock. It marks the 25th anniversary of the winery and the 40th year of John Ellis in the wine industry. There are more causes for jubilation among them the 21st vintage at Jim Jim Vineyard and the 20th for the Heathcote Shiraz. In 2007 John Ellis was also elected the Chairman of the Small Winemakers Committee of the Winemakers federation of Australia.
Lucy, Charlotte and Margit with a case of treasures from Hanging Rock
We did not try the sparkling (we were in red wine mood, I reckon) but the Rock Macedon Cuvée XI and the Macedon LD Cuvée VI were rated by James Halliday’s 2007 Wine Companion at the top of his “Best of the best” rankings. Congratulations. The winery is certainly worth a visit. Its not far from Melbourne. Have a great time there and say hello to Andrew.