Reviews

Three new wines!

Three new vintage releases to ease you into the new financial year.

The 2018 Hilltops Shiraz is a gorgeous wine from an epic vintage. A couple of reviews for you:

“This is another beauty. I opened it on a Friday night and as I did so I wondered whether it was “Friday night worthy”. It was and then some. It boasts ample dark cherry/berry fruit, comes inlaid with spice, carries its floral highlights with ease and has a meaty, spicy, clovey finish. It’s juicy throughout and yet it has power; the tannin too has a fine spread-and-run aspect to it. It’s a winner for sure. It will age beautifully as well”. – Campbell Mattinson

“Very deep aromas of raspberries and red plums with subtly spicy notes, leading to a palate that has a super fleshy, juicy and red-fruited core of fine, long tannins. Drink now.” – James Suckling/Nick Stock

If you’re looking for winter whites, here are two, straight off our shiny new bottling line:

2019 Viognier Nouveau

2019 Sauvignon Blanc Semillon

STOP PRESS
A beautiful review for the 2017 O’Riada Shiraz from the great man James Halliday in the just released August/September edition of Halliday Magazine:

“Spice, red flowers, pepper and wood smoke all appear and promptly disappear on the bouquet, reforming in a different order next time around, the ensuing palate a pond without a single ruffle. Red cherry infuses all of one’s senses with a constant framework of spice. The faultless balance will still be sustaining the wine 30 years hence. What value!

Warm regards,

Tim Kirk

Small Batch release 2019

We love the small batch release. It’s a joy to share with you the rarer parcels we have been working on.

2017 Syrah
100% destemmed Shiraz grapes from the top half of the T&L One block. A month on skins, 22 months in French oak puncheons.

A superb vintage for Clonakilla, set to go down among the greatest in the history of this legendary cuvée, capturing every captivating detail of eloquent grace of this fabled vineyard… Every detail is mastered with the utmost fidelity, preserved in perfect harmony on an epic finish. 98 points – Tyson Stelzer

So silky, so fine, the delicacy and prettiness such a charm. It’s a highly perfumed wine that sings with purity and vitality…Epic length, such finesse and elegance. So very beautiful, so inspiring and delicious to drink. Praise be. 96 points – Mike Bennie, Winefront

2017 Ballinderry
Our Bordeaux blend (Cab Franc, Cab Sauv and Merlot), 100% destemmed and 22 months in 225 Litre barriques.

It should not be possible to craft a Bordeaux blend as refined and glorious as this alongside the cooler climate varieties that flourish at Clonakilla, but the sheer class of this cuvée is testament to the wizardry of the Kirks and their epic site. It is consummately floral, perfectly ripe, super finely structured, magnificently persistent and packed with potential. 94 points – Tyson Stelzer

A lovely rendition of the Claret-style red… It feels cool, warm and refreshing at once, anise and mint characters dancing with currants and cloves. Not a bump in sight. 94 points – Campbell Mattinson, Winefront

2018 Pinot Noir
Lovingly made in tiny volumes. 30% whole bunch. Twelve months in tight grain puncheons. Clones 777, 667, 115, Abel, Pommard and the unidentified clone that dad planted in 1978.

This is a particularly elegant pinot for Clonakilla… Its floral flamboyance makes it enticing from the outset, the perfect partner to cuisines preferring a lighter take on pinot. 92 points – Tyson Stelzer

2018 Ceoltoiri
An ode to the Southern Rhone. Six varieties: Grenache, Mourvedre, Shiraz, Cinsault, Counoise and Roussanne. 100% destemmed. Twelve months in older oak puncheons.

The thing that lifts this cuvée off the page of southern Rhône style blends is…the harmonious, seamless, masterful manner in which every detail is effortlessly united with super fine tannins, refreshing acidity and fantastic persistence. Best yet.
94 points – Tyson Stelzer

Another very strong release. Light, perfumed and frisky but with enough substance to satisfy…Everything in right and good order. Class producer, class wine. 93 points – Campbell Mattinson, Winefront

2018 Tumbarumba Chardonnay

Tight and bright in a classically restrained Tumba style. Whole bunch pressed. 11 months in French puncheons.

The wine is tight and refined, tense and reserved, with excellent nerve and vitality through the palate…A very young but very promising chardonnay. This should go on to bigger and better things with another year in bottle. A stunning youngster.
93 points – Huon Hooke

We love the small batch release. It’s a joy to share with you the rarer parcels we have been working on.

A reminder that an order of six of the Syrah will come in our beautiful new packaging (vineyard map printed in the lid!)

Warm regards,

Tim Kirk

Halliday’s Top 100 – 98 points – 2017 Shiraz Viognier

We were delighted to see our 2017 Shiraz Viognier named in James Halliday’s Top 100 a few weeks ago. What made it even better was that it was the second Top 100 list in which the wine has appeared. On Monday last week the 2017 Shiraz Viognier secured a place in James Suckling’s Top 100 – this time up against international benchmarks. On both occasions the wine scored 98 points. James Halliday’s review: “…Tim Kirk nails it when he writes of a line of pure spice running through the bouquet and palate – I would simply add “and the aftertaste” because this has superb length and texture, replete with red berry flavours.” Nick Stock for James Suckling:
“One of the greatest vintages of this wine. It has a super complex array of white and black peppers, hard brown spices, leaves, flowers and fresh wet earth, as well as graphite-like dark stony notes… The palate is delivered with steady elegance and power, showing unwavering build and a seemingly never-ending trail of fresh and spicy fruit flavors. With the most immaculate tannins, too. The real soul of this wine shines through in this perfectly simpatico vintage. Fascinating to drink now, but it is best to give it some time. Try around 2025.”

2017 Shiraz Viognier release

We are thrilled to tell you that for the third time the Shiraz Viognier has been confirmed as Exceptional, one of Australia’s greatest wines, in Langtons Classification VII.

The 2017 continues the long line of beautiful vintages that has established the lofty status of our flagship wine. The reviews are amazing:

One of the greatest vintages of this wine. It has a super complex array of white and black peppers, hard brown spices, leaves, flowers and fresh wet earth, as well as graphite-like dark stony notes.

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A wine of rare beauty

The 2016 Syrah is simply one of the greatest wines we have made.

Long time mailing list members will remember that the first Clonakilla Syrah we released was the 2006.

Our thinking was to have a second great wine that could challenge Hermitage in the Northern Rhone in the same way the Shiraz Viognier now gives good Cote Rotie a run for its money.

The Syrah always comes from the same parcel of vines on our vineyard, a wedge of North East facing vines perfectly positioned to catch the warmth of the sun for most of the day. The warm aspect means the Syrah often carries a darker, more brooding signature than the Shiraz Viognier.

The way we make the wine differs too. We leave out the 20-30% whole bunch addition that is standard in our SV ferments and of course for the Syrah we add no Viognier for co-fermentation. It is simply pure Shiraz grapes, destemmed but not crushed, fermented by their own natural yeasts, left for a full months on skins and then two years in 500 litre fine-grained French oak barrels.

Here is what Huon Hooke had to say about the 2016:

This is a wine of rare beauty. The colour is bright but not dark, and the aroma is spicy, vegetal, foresty and ultra-complex. Medium-bodied, intense and superbly textured, it has soft, gentle tannins and great elegance. Its appeal grows with every sip. It has an effortless natural charm.

Score: 97 ★★★★★