Wine review — Hanging Rock, McWilliams Mount Pleasant Lovedale & Rochford

Hanging Rock Heathcote Cambrian Rise Shiraz 2003 $27
Winemaker John Ellis calls this the ‘son’ of Hanging Rock’s flagship $55 shiraz reviewed last week – and it is very much a chip off the old block. At half the price, it offers great value as it has the rich flavour, silky smoothness and finesse of Heathcote shiraz, albeit without the extraordinary concentration of its parent. It’s a blend from various vineyards sprinkled along the red soils — supposedly of Cambrian origin – on the eastern slopes of the north-south orientated Mount Camel Range – heart of Victoria’s Heathcote region. Cambrian Rise should drink well and evolve for up to ten years if well cellared.

McWilliams Hunter Valley Mount Pleasant Lovedale Semillon 2000 $45
One year before Max Schubert created Grange Hermitage, Maurice O’Shea made the first semillon from the Lovedale vineyard – a flat, sandy and unprepossessing site, planted in 1946. Known variously, over the years, as Lovedale Riesling, Anne Riesling and, finally, Lovedale Semillon, the wine has become a long-lived benchmark of the unique, idiosyncratic Hunter style. This new release, from the very cool 2000 vintage, seems to be particularly slow maturing. Less than a year ago it showed the grassy, sauvignon-blanc-like character of the cool year. It’s now slipped into a more lemony, taut, typical and glorious Hunter semillon mode with decades of life ahead.

Rochford Macedon Ranges Pinot Noir 2003 $29
This is a step up in price and quality from the very good Rochford Latitude pinot noir reviewed a few weeks ago. At $19 it offered a convincing introduction to pinot noir. For an extra $8 a bottle this one — sourced from mature vines located 600 metres above sea level in Victoria’s Macedon region – takes the experience another step or two towards the real excitement offered by Burgundy’s classic red variety. The pale colour belies the heady, seductive perfume, great fruit depth and tight but very fine structure of a truly delicious red made to savour over the next 3 to 4 years.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2006 & 2007