Both the winery principals are of Celtic origin and deeply interested in their heritage. When the opportunity to create a wine brand based on this common ancestry presented itself, they named it "Nine Stones". The Celts left many groups of standing stones including Stonehenge. These standing stones or Druids Circles are believed to have been tribal meeting places. They are circular in aspect for amongst all the Celtic tribes the wheel is the symbol of the Sky-God. Nine is the number of planets thus nine and its derivatives are "lucky" numbers. The stones were also thought to shimmer or dance in the heat on noon and hence "noon" or nine stones. Groups of nine standing stones exist in Devon, Derbyshire, Dorset and Cornwall, as well as at Aberdeenshire in Scotland and Count Carlow in Ireland.
This regional range of wines is made from grapes grown in the highest quality regions of South Eastern Australia. Since Colonial Times most grapes were used to make fortified wine, such plantings being principally in hot climates. A renewed interest in table wines began in the 1980's and has accelerated since, resulting in increased planting in cooler climate areas. Provided careful site selection is practiced, wines from cool climate wines have more interesting flavours and are better structured than those made from grapes grown in hot regions.
THE BAROSSA VALLEY
The Barossa Valley is perhaps Australia's best-known wine growing region, situated 30 miles north of the City of Adelaide in South Australia. The valley is about six miles wide, varying down to two miles at its narrowest, by nineteen miles long. Research has determined that climatically the area is closer to that of Portugal than any other, yet a wide variety of microclimates makes generalization difficult as vineyard altitudes vary from an average of 950 through to 1500 feet. This is an arid area and average annual rainfall is less than 20 inches. Soil types also are variable from brown clay loam with some sand to more sandy soils that tend to dark grey. There are also some patches of Terra Rossa, these being the most desirable vineyard locations. Regardless of the vineyard location the region is eminently suitable for the production of full-bodied red wines.
The wine is powerful with layers of ripe blackberries, dark cherries and luscious chocolate, mocha and macerated fruit characters.
McLaren Vale is just south of the City of Adelaide and bordered by the Adelaide Hills to the east and the Gulf of St. Vincent on the Great Southern Ocean to the west. There is substantial climatic variation within the region although the average altitude is only eighty feet. The close proximity to the ocean ensures the cool nights during the growing season that are essential for premium grape production. Annual rainfall is low, an average of just twenty inches and supplementary water is essential to produce healthy grape crops. Soil types are variable with the dominant composition being red and brown sandy loams. This is an old established Australian viticultural area, with the first grapes recorded as planted at Reynella in 1838.
MCLAREN VALE SHIRAZ
Wines from this region are referred to in winemaking circles as "the middle palate of Australia". The red wine from this area is frequently used in small proportions of various multi-regional blends to give middle palate definition. The best wines from the region display a dark colour and a rich, ripe bouquet, with the blackberry notes brighter than from Barossa wines, with the tannins quickly developing a velvety character. Although seductive at an early stage, the wines have deceptive cellaring potential.
Hilltops is in the South-Western Slopes of the Great Dividing Range, situated around the rural towns of Young and Harden in Southern New South Wales. It is about four hours drive south of Sydney and about one and a half hours from Canberra the national capital. An historically important part of Australia, it has an established reputation as a producer of high quality stone fruit. The vineyards are mostly to the South East of Young, which is known as "The Cherry Capital of Australia" and there are about 1,000 acres under vine in the area. The region sits on a large granite rock, which over millions of years has weathered to produce deep topsoil, red coloured as it has mixed with ironstone sand blown in from the Red Centre of Australia. These deep well-drained soils are perfect for viticulture. An average altitude of 1,700 feet combines with a winter dominant rainfall to ensure a long and even ripening season that produces distinctly full-flavoured, yet not heavy wines. Because of the altitude, the grapes seldom suffer from heat stress and the wines have a consistency of style best described as fruity yet elegant.
Invariably deep coloured with complex aromas and flavours, moderately spicy with plenty of mixed berries, black cherry and a range of chocolate characters.