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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

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

Small batch limited release

We are pleased to present to you our new collection of small batch limited release wines.

2012 Chardonnay
We took fruit from Steve Morrison’s high altitude ‘Revee Estate’ vineyard in Tumbarumba and tiny parcels of fruit (one barrel each) from Clonakilla and one other Murrumbateman vineyard. Whole bunch pressing, warm fermentation, lees stirring and 11 months aging in French oak were used to produce this vintage. “…intense, grapefruit-like varietal flavour and taut, acidic backbone…beautiful wine” – (Chris Shanahan – Canberra Times – 4 1/2 stars)

2012 Viognier
The Viognier is at its expressive best this year, low yields having worked to concentrate the flavours. Nectarine, apricot and ginger notes along with some complex barrel ferment characters on the nose. A balanced palate which achieves richness without heaviness.

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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