“The aroma…just bursting off the surface of the wine.” Tim tastes the 2013 SV

“It’s that beautiful rose petal, red berry, ripe plum, cherry perfume which makes this wine such a sensation thing to smell…and taste!”, declares Tim.

The entire Clonakilla team is thrilled to be able to release such a stunning version of our Shiraz Viognier. This has been the most anticipated release of the SV since the exceptional 2009. Hear what Tim has to say about this wine:

2012 Shiraz Viognier out now

Of all the emails we send you from Clonakilla through the year, this one is the most important and the most highly anticipated.

We hereby release our flagship wines, the 2012 Shiraz Viognier and the 2013 Riesling.

The reviews are fantastic.

Clonakilla 2012 Shiraz Viognier

The bouquet is supremely fragrant, almost flowery/scented, the palate instantaneously imprinting its total harmony and balance; fruit, oak and tannins are all seamlessly interwoven, the length prodigious. 97 points – James Halliday

It’s explosively fragrant, exotically spicy and refreshingly tangy … superfine, impeccably crafted tannins of immense presence. Cellar for a decade and drink with game. 96 points -Tyson Stelzer

Clonakilla 2013 Riesling

There are a few hidden gems among Australian wines, and this is one of them. Clonakilla has been quite rightly acclaimed for its Shiraz Viognier, but in my view the Riesling is almost as great an achievement. The latest vintage is one of Australia’s best. It’s intense and beautifully aromatic, reflecting citrus and stone fruit, and the palate delivers great length and acid freshness. Outstanding – Lester Jesberg – Winewise

Exactingly crafted and beautifully executed, this is a stunning vintage for Clonakilla riesling. Warm, sun-bathed days and cool nights have ripened breathtakingly pristine lemon zest, granny smith apple and lime blossom purity. Decomposed granite soils build chalky, talcy mineral structure. A wonderfully enduring riesling of lemon blossom, crunchy fennel and lime zest persistence. 95 points – Tyson Stelzer

It’s thrillingly (nee painfully) intense. Lime, grapefruit, slate, chalk. It powers through the palate and out through the finish like a locomotive going double the speed limit. Wow. I’d personally find this hard to drink now, in its extreme youth, but given time I suspect this will be sensational. – Campbell Mattinson – The Wine Front

In other news, I am delighted to have been named a finalist for the Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine’s Australian Winemaker of the Year. The winner will be announced at a gala dinner in Sydney on Tuesday September 24. We’ll keep you posted!
Huon Hooke’s write-up of me as a finalist can be found here.

We are in the final stages of planning our 2013 dinner series so watch out for the email announcing the venues.

Warm regards,

Tim Kirk

Celebrating the Savoury

Last month Clonakilla was privileged to be involved with a Melbourne Food and Wine Festival event. Under the banner of ‘Celebrating the Savoury’, Clonakilla, along with Dalwhinnie winery, was asked to provide some of our top vintages to be paired with food prepared by the legendary Jacques Reymond at his restaurant in Prahran. Our own Tim Kirk and David Jones from Dalwhinnie provided the commentary for each of their wines served throughout the evening.

After a splash of champagne we moved into the first course of the evening: deep sea hapuka and ocean trout en croute, a lemon caviar and chive sauce. This was served with a 2011 Dalwhinnie Moonambel Chardonnay and the 2011 Clonakilla Viognier. Both wines delicate and structured enough to enhance the subtle flavours of the seafood.

Below, a selection of photos from the evening by David Reist.


Read more

Celebrating 20 Years of Shiraz Viognier

Encouraged by his son Jeremy to try something new & rare, John Kirk planted the white grape Viognier in his Murrumbateman vineyard in 1986. John’s son Tim, after a transcendent tasting experience in Cote Rotie in 1991, returned to the family winery with a vision for co-fermenting the Viognier with the Clonakilla Shiraz.

The first vintage was 1992. Twenty years on, to celebrate the release of the 20th vintage of this ground-breaking wine, we held a six course dinner at Circa in St Kilda. We tasted all 20 Shiraz Viognier vintages, a selection of Clonakilla Rieslings, and a bracket of the new dark horse, the Clonakilla Syrah.

We were privileged to have a professional photographer in attendance to record the evening. Neil Prieto is a Melbourne based photographer who does a lot of work with Adrian Lander. Below is a gallery of some of the images he produced. Follow this link to view more.

Spring release wines now available

Today is a day I look forward to every year: the release of the new vintage of our flagship. This year’s release is especially momentous: The 2011 is our twentieth Shiraz Viognier.

2011 was a challenging season, cooler and wetter than average, and we were particularly tough in selecting barrels from the estate batches to put this wine together. There is less than half the normal volume this year so we don’t expect it to be around for long.

The 2011 captures the essential features of the line: feather fine tannins and a floral, spice-driven aroma interwoven with red berry notes. There’s a thoroughgoing savouriness here, but with the ethereal, haunting dimension that is the Clonakilla hallmark.

‘Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier is my Grange, if you like; it’s the wine I look forward to tasting the most each year. It’s also the only wine I buy every year… Cool and savoury, with ripe tannin and good length. It’s an insistent wine, in the way Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier so often is. I’ll be buying again.’ – Campbell Mattinson, Winefront, August 16, 2012

‘a beautifully and exactingly crafted Clonakilla … 95 points’- Tyson Stelzer, Wine Taste Weekly, August 24, 2012

‘the perfumed bouquet of predominantly red fruits leads into a superfine palate with some darker fruit nuances …95 points’

– James Halliday’s Wine Companion 2013

It is not just the Shiraz Viognier that’s new, of course.

The 2012 Riesling is a cracker. ‘This is world class, and also laughably cheap. It’s tightly structured with Granny Smith and lime flavours, intense acid backbone and zingy freshness’. – Winsor Dobbin

The 2011 O’Riada Shiraz is also picking up some great reviews. ‘…the highly fragrant bouquet has generous amounts of spice running through the predominantly red fruit characters…94 points’ – James Halliday’s Wine Companion 2013

The new release 2012 Viognier Nouveau and 2012 Semillon Sauvignon Blanc again demand attention as a good option for drinking through the warmer months.

Warm regards,

Tim Kirk