The three most important – for want of a better word – pillars of Australian shiraz are arguably Penfolds Grange, Henschke Hill of Grace and Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier, with apologies to Tyrrell’s and Mount Pleasant, among others. Given the extraordinary run of quality of Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier over the past (nearly) 20 years it made me wonder, as I consumed a glass or two of this soon-to-be-released 2016, just how far Clonakilla is likely to reach into the mainstream Australian psyche. Will Clonakilla SV ever reach Hill of Grace status in mainstream fame terms? On quality, it should do so. On style, I suspect not. It’s just not big and obvious enough.
The three most important…pillars of Australian shiraz are arguably Penfolds Grange, Henschke Hill of Grace and Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier
Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier has lost none of its charm or power over the years, but it has become a lighter, more elegant and more finely drawn wine. The subtle change is clearly evident with this 2016. For a long time we’ve played with the term Burgundian Shiraz, especially in relation to Clonakilla, but the phrase is becoming increasingly apt. This wine is light on its feet,
perfumed, exotic, marshalled with fruit and spice
and tannic. It doesn’t wallop you upfront; it saves itself for the finish. It’s not an impetuous wine. There are candied notes here, dry spices, woody anise, a whisper of peppercorn. I would almost describe this wine as crisp, such is its lack of gloop, its finesse, its cleansing run of flavour-infused acidity. This release will age magnificently.