By Deborah Jackson, editor National Liquor News

Australian wine legend, Chris Hancock, has released the first wines under his own label, Hancock & Hancock, along with his brother John, based at their McLaren Vale South Australia vineyard, La Colline.

The two red wines released this month comprise a Shiraz Grenache and a Cabernet Touriga from the 2014 McLaren Vale vintage.

Winemaker Hancock told TheShout, they plan to take on the crowded wine market by producing interesting blends that are immediately drinkable.

“We’re looking for something a little bit out of the mainstream,” he said.

“There’s not much point in just putting another straight Shiraz, or another straight Cabernet, or another straight Chardonnay into the market which is already well and truly crowded, so we were looking for wines that would peak interest.”

Hancock is no stranger to the McLaren Vale, having started his career in 1962 as a student winemaker, working a vintage in the region.

After graduating as Dux in Oenology at Roseworthy Agricultural College in 1963, Hancock worked for the Penfold family, with Max Schubert, initially as a winemaker before taking up senior production and executive roles, producing a number of early vintages of Grange at Magill. He is currently the deputy executive chairman of Robert Oatley Vineyards, having joined Oatley at Rosemount Estate in 1976.

Hancock told TheShout: “I’ve spent really the whole of my working life trying not to do my own label, but the management group here [at Oatley Family Wine Merchants] thought that it was about time. My brother and I have had a vineyard in McLaren Vale now for the better part of 10 years so it was one of those sorts of things that was eventually going to happen.”

The label will have an on-premise focus but will also be available through Oatley Family Wine Merchants to specialist wine stores and will retail for $23.99.

Hancock told TheShout the label will eventually look at producing whites and some really high quality wines, but nothing has been settled on just yet.

“The first thing we want to do is get these two wines established and embedded in the marketplace and just see how it goes before we get too ambitious.

“For me, after all of the time that I’ve been in the industry it’s very exciting and I’m totally determined that these wines are going to be successful, so they are going to be the best possible wines that we can make and that’s the challenge that we’re addressing on it.”

McLaren Vale Shiraz Grenache 2014: Restrained and supple, lots of ripe dark plum, pepper and spice of Shiraz with the rose petal perfume lift and red cherry taste of Grenache. Lovely lightness and brightness to the back palate makes it terrific immediate drinking but will cellar nicely for five to 10 years.
McLaren Vale Cabernet Touriga 2014: Blackcurrent and crushed leaf flavours of Cabernet Sauvignon are the dominant varietal characters here with perfume of violets and savoury, slightly rustic touch of Touriga, also providing a little bit of grip. A unique and satisfying red to partner food now and over the next decade.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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