News

Rare & Small Batch Release

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It’s an exciting day for us as we announce the release of our Rare & Small Batch wines for 2014. These wines are keenly anticipated by a number of our customers and they tend to sell out quickly. In short, if you are interested in these wines, don’t leave it too long!

Here is what we have available for you:

2012 Syrah

After a cool and wet late summer the weather turned fine and gently warm through the autumn. The 2012 Syrah comes from the top end of T&L blocks one and two. Great Murrumbateman Shiraz from a great site. “An incredible Clonakilla that proclaims the heights of fragrance and complexity…96 points” Tyson Stelzer (limit of 6 bottles)

2013 Pinot Noir

Made in tiny quantities from young vines (clones 777 and 115) and an old, unidentified clone planted by John Kirk in 1978. Subtle perfumes and tender tannins. “The 2012 was a surprise packet; this 2013 is better again…94 points” Campbell Mattinson (limit of 6 bottles)

2013 Ceoltoiri

Rich and ripe but with a savoury cool-climate edge. It’s a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Shiraz and a tiny splash of Cinsault. “It’s a sensational release. So polished. So beautifully ripened…lipsmackingly delicious…class act. 95 points” Campbell Mattinson (limit of 6 bottles)

2012 Ballinderry

We picked clean, ripe fruit from our old vines in mid-April. A blend of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Cabernet Franc and 28% Merlot.

2013 Chardonnay

From the high altitude ‘Revee Estate’ vineyard in Tumbarumba and small parcels of fruit from Clonakilla. Tight and bright through the palate with a mineral acid backbone. “…classic cool-climate barrel fermented chardonnay with varietal fruit to the fore…with very fine texture. 4.5 stars.” Chris Shanahan

2013 Viognier

Classically rich musk, apricot and ginger notes along with some complex barrel ferment characters on the nose. On the palate – richness without heaviness. “Excellent length. Excellent power…Outstanding release. 95 points. Campbell Mattinson

Keep an eye out for the release of the 2012 Shiraz Viognier magnums in a couple of weeks’ time.

A great year

We’ve had a fantastic year.

To begin with, the 2013 vintage was remarkable. Every variety revelled in the warm days and cool nights that Murrumbateman served up leading into harvest.

Just yesterday we finalised the blend for the 2013 Shiraz Viognier and it looks fabulous.
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The 2013s across the board are a delight. The Riesling received 95 points from pretty well everyone who reviewed it including Huon Hooke, Jeremy Oliver, Campbell Mattinson and Tyson Stelzer. Winewise magazine bestowed a rare ‘Outstanding’ rating upon it.

The Viognier Nouveau is all but sold out now with the Riesling soon to follow. As far as the whites go, soon it will be just the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc holding the fort until the 2013 Chardonnay and 2013 Viognier are released in Autumn next year.

The 2012 reds have seen a return to deeper, darker flavours after the fragrant, feather fine 2011s. We were thrilled to see the 2012 Shiraz Viognier garner a series of fantastic reviews, with 97 pointers from James Halliday, Tim White and Chris Shanahan.

A high point for me was winning the coveted Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine ‘Australian Winemaker of the Year’ award. I became a local celebrity for a week, making the front page of the Yass Tribune and spending an hour on air with the lovely Alex Sloan on 666 ABC Canberra. I even made it on to the local edition of ABC television’s 7.30 report.

At the winery there are plans aplenty with the design of our new cellar door and office complex in the last stages of design. We will start building in 2014.

We’re extending our winemaking facilities too, with not one but two new sheds going up to give us more room to move.

Thanks to you for your interest and support again in 2013.

Wishing you and your family every Christmas blessing,

Tim Kirk

Tim wins 2013 Winemaker of the Year

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At a gala dinner at Teage Ezard’s BLACK restaurant in Sydney overnight, Canberra winemaker Tim Kirk was named Australian Winemaker of the Year.

Each year Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine’s tasting panel selects eight finalists who have demonstrated through a track record of exemplary wines that they are worthy to be considered among Australia’s best. One of the eight is then chosen as ‘Australian Winemaker of the Year’.

Chairman of the panel Peter Forrestal singled out Clonakilla’s flagship Shiraz Viognier as Tim’s crowning achievement, noting “how important it is to Australian wine as the benchmark for the style and as a world-class red in it’s own right.”

This year’s finalists were selected from leading Australian wineries around the country, with two each coming from Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales, including Tim Kirk, Chief Winemaker and CEO at Clonakilla winery at Murrumbateman in the Canberra District .

In winning this award Tim Kirk joins an illustrious list of past winners including Vanya Cullen (Margaret River), Jeff Grosset (Clare Valley), Gary Farr (By Farr Wines, Geelong), Yalumba’s Louisa Rose, Rick Kinzbrunner of Giaconda fame and Steve Webber from De Bortoli.

Clonakilla board chairman Kiaran Kirk expressed the delight of the Kirk family in Tim’s success. “We are thrilled to see Tim win this significant award. Tim has built highly effectively on the foundation laid down by our father, Clonakilla founder John Kirk. Under Tim’s leadership, the winery’s flagship Shiraz Viognier is now widely regarded as one of Australia’s great reds, and that is a matter of genuine pride for the family and all the Clonakilla team.”

In accepting the award last night, Tim paid tribute to his father John and the team at Clonakilla, in particular manager of winemaking Bryan Martin and production manager Michael Lahiff. “It is fantastic to work together with committed, talented colleagues to craft wines from the beautiful Murrumbateman landscape, wines that are now sought after by wine lovers all over the world. This award is confirmation that Canberra has indeed arrived as one of Australia’s great wine regions.”

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

Dinner anyone?

The new Shiraz Viognier and Riesling are out now, so let’s try them over dinner.
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For this year’s theme we have taken our lead from the fact that your correspondent has been named a finalist for the Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine Winemaker of the Year awards (to be announced in Sydney next Tuesday night!).

We will drink the Clonakilla 2013 Riesling and the 2012 and 2006 Shiraz Viognier, along with top wines from the other Winemaker of the Year finalists over five courses at some great restaurants.

The dinners sell out quickly, so if you would like to come along, book now!

Launceston – Stillwater, Wednesday October 9. $175/head. Bookings: 03 6331 4153
Canberra – Aubergine, Wednesday October 16. $165/head. 02 6260 8666
Adelaide – Bistro Dom, Tuesday October 22. $165/head. 08 8231 7000
Brisbane – The Euro, Wednesday October 30. $170/head. 07 3229 3686
Sydney – The Bridge Room, Monday November 4. $170/head. 02 9247 7000
Melbourne – Brooks, Wednesday November 6. $170/head. 03 9001 8755
Perth – No. 4 Blake Street, Wednesday November 13. $150/head. 08 9444 6678

For anyone able to make it to Sydney next week, join me at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar for the fifth in their series of tenth anniversary dinners on Wednesday September 25.

Four courses matched with Clonakilla 2013 Riesling, 2012 and 2008 Viognier, 2007 Hilltops Shiraz and 2012 and 2006 Shiraz Viognier. $170/head. Book on 02 9365 9000.

Weather alert! NSW/ACT and many other areas across the country are experiencing extreme heat this week. We are delaying shipment of all online orders, unless otherwise advised, until more moderate conditions prevail.