The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Indulgence -

2004 Hang­ing Rock Heath­cote Shi­raz THE flag­ship shi­raz ($60, 95 points) is up there with the best. It has the usual deep yet bright colour and multi-lay­ered com­plex­ity to the bou­quet and palate. The flavours run through black­berry, spice and cracked pep­per, and the tan­nins are fine and bal­anced. What sets it apart from pre­vi­ous vin­tages is its 13 per cent al­co­hol. John El­lis would love to achieve ripeness at about 13 per cent to 13.5 per cent ev­ery year, but he is not about to pick the grapes if the right flavours haven’t de­vel­oped. Thus the next in line (the ’ 05), an­other good wine, will be back to the usual 15 per cent. The dif­fer­ence is not as dra­matic as one may ex­pect: some wines can carry higher lev­els of al­co­hol with­out ef­fort, main­tain­ing bal­ance and not show­ing the hot or jammy char­ac­ters that mar oth­ers be­yond 14 per cent. The ’ 04 (with a Diam clo­sure) will live for 20 years if prop­erly cel­lared. www.hang­ James Halliday

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