Tag Archives: clonakilla shiraz viognier

Recent reviews of our September releases

Reviews for the 2013 Shiraz Viognier continue to be written – so many that we can’t fit them on our Shiraz Viognier page! We have also had a few new reviews of the 2014 Riesling. We thought we’d gather them here in one post for you.

2013 Shiraz Viognier

Supremely elegant, supple and willowy, this restrained and deeply layered red has a wild, heady perfume of pristine floral notes, brightly lit small red and black berries, cherries and plums tightly knit with sweet cedar/vanilla oak and backed by musky spices. It’s long and ethereal, with a pure, almost pastille-like presence of fruit underpinned by ultra-fine, dusty tannins and fresh new fine-grained oak, finishing with mouthwatering freshness. Perhaps more obviously new World than some recent vintages, and likely to build perfume, depth and structure in the bottle. 96 points. Jeremy Oliver The Australian Wine Annual 2015
2013 Shiraz Viognier_artlabel
Tim Kirk is one of the nicest men in the wine industry and, following in the footsteps of his father, Dr John Kirk, has pioneered the shiraz viognier blend in Australia. The wines have always been of outstanding quality, and eminently cellar worthy, but this would have to be one of the best over the past two decades. A blend of 95% shiraz co-fermented with 5% viognier it is gloriously fresh and vibrant with a fragrant nose leading to a palate that is like a ballet in your mouth; all subtle changes of direction, silky softness and fine tannins with an understated muscularity. From a very fine Canberra region vintage, this is a triumph and would make a wonderful present for anyone who loves wines of style and subtlety. 98 points if I scored. Winsor Dobbin

Medium to full red/purple colour, light for shiraz. But the aromas are superb: very fragrant and lifted, clean and pure, with lovely fine texture and seamless balance. The tannins are smooth and fine-grained, gentle and caressing rather than grippy. A delicious wine and extraordinarily complex for such a young shiraz. The finish and aftertaste linger very long. A beautiful and utterly amazing young wine. It has a long, bright future. Huon Hooke

There have been many Clonakilla Shiraz Viogniers that have been acclaimed for their striking elegance and compelling drinking, but 2013 is surely a cut above. Tim Kirk is often excited about his wines, but his enthusiasm for ’13 is palpable. It’s a wine of exotic, potent fragrance, red fruits and spice with a core of brooding, graphite-like minerality. The texture is appropriately svelte and the finish incredibly long with supreme balance and poise. Mike Bennie Dec/Jan Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine

2014 Riesling

Pristine, brightly lit and perfectly clear, this restrained but deeply flavoured riesling has a zesty, racy bouquet of lime and lemon pith lifted by fresh floral notes and backed by chalky nuances. It’s long and restrained, with perfectly focused, crystal-clear citrusy flavours extending over a fine dustiness towards a long and tangy finish of bright lime juice acids. It finishes with a pleasing balance and lingering suggestions of delicate dried herbs and lemongrass. 93 points. Jeremy Oliver The Australian Wine Annual 2015

Winemaker Tim Kirk says an October 2013 frost wiped out much of Clonakilla’s riesling, located on low-lying land. Kirk, however, topped up his own small crop with fruit from the Parker family’s nearby Long Rail Gully vineyard and a few other sources, including Phil Williams’s vineyard at Hall. The resulting wine shows appealing floral and citrus-like aroma with a powerful, though delicate, palate, [with] a very small amount of residual sugar. The sugar fattens the wine without adding detectable sweetness. Four stars. Chris ShanahanThe Canberra Times

And to finish, an excerpt from Mike Bennie’s excellent article on the Canberra Region in the Dec/Jan edition of Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine:

‘There’s a welcoming feel to the rustic cellar door where Tim Kirk is often present to pour wines. Of course, shiraz viognier is the wine that sets the pace, but there are now a host of expressions that line up behind the imperial standard bearer including the gravelly, deeply savoury O’Riada Shiraz, one of Australia’s finest, mineral-laden and refreshing viogniers and a riesling that sets a cracking pace for its vitality, tension and impossible length of citrus-driven flavour.’

A Rhone-fest at the Kirk’s place

A while ago Lara and I invited our occasional Clonakilla tasting group to our place for a Rhone and Friends tasting. I thought it might be interesting to investigate the question ‘How do Rhone reds Age?’ Well, the tasting confirmed the answer that has resonated with me for years: very well indeed.

We tasted older and more recent vintages from four important Northern Rhone appellations: Cote Rotie, Hermitage, Saint Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage, and naturally we threw in a couple of Clonakillas to see how the home brew stood up against the French heavy weights. There were some fascinating interlopers at the end too.

If, like me, you love the wines of the Northern Rhone, diving into some fully mature examples and comparing them to their youthful siblings in the company of wine loving friends is a fantastic way to spend a Saturday evening. A really memorable night.

Here is how I saw the wines:

FIRST BRACKET

2009 Coursodon St. Joseph
Warm ripe spices, ripe plum notes, juicy fruit, ripe vintage notes.
Middle weight, gentle fruit. No great impact but really quite pleasant.

2009 Ogier Cote Rotie
Altogether more aromatic, really jumps out of the glass, musk sticks, florals; so bright and joyful. Bacon fat (smoked ham?) Clove. A very good Rotie from a generous vintage. Given that this is the entry level, I am looking forward to seeing Stephan’s top wines from 2009.

1999 Jaboulet Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage
Hay bale, complex, macerated plum, iron, rust, blood. Great aged notes, autumnal indeed.

2009 Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier
Potent, intense fruit, black to red, soaring really. I have said before that this might just be the best Shiraz Viognier we have made. It looked exuberant yet restrained tonight. Decades ahead of it.

2009 Yann Chave Hermitage
Dense, black fruit, intense plum skin, rhubarb and graphite.
This Hermitage from the lesser known Chave has a very distinct, potent personality. Dark and profoundly ripe with an authoritative presence about it. I’m glad I have a few of these in the cellar.

SECOND BRACKET

1999 Gaillard Saint Joseph
Warm fruit, potent, lovely, perfectly framed by oak. Perfectly poised palate. Savoury notes (rhubarb again?), showing the class I have come to adore in this great Rhone vintage.

1995 Clonakilla Shiraz Pinot Noir Viognier
Timeless, this hasn’t changed. Gentle florals, compost, warm earth, really beautiful fragrance. Perhaps a whisper of brett, but no alarm. This has always been a highly fragrant wine. I remember the fruit when first de-stemmed was 12.2 baume. It soaked on skins for three days before fermentation kicked off and by the end of that time the baume had crept up to 13.0, the result of the shrivelled berries slowly releasing their sweeter juice. 10% each Viognier and Pinot Noir. A tough bracket to sit in but standing up well.

1983 Jaboulet Hermitage La Chapelle
Stunning aroma, ethereal, glowing embers, raison, herbs simmering in the casserole, exuberant, almost muscat like. This is a very good bottle of the ’83 (they do vary). A contender for wine of the night with the signature element of great Shiraz: an ethereal glow at the centre; a warm heart.

1983 Guigal Brune et Blonde Cote Rotie
Looking terrific; dark chocolate, deep spice, herbal in a wonderful way, authoritative but tender too. The Guigals put some of their best fruit into this wine in those days, fruit that would now find its way to the Chateau D’Ampuis. It shows. 29 years old and singing brilliantly tonight.

1990 Jaboulet Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage
Still very vibrant. No sign of decay. Milk chocolate perhaps, mulled herbs, baked biscuits, warm, generous palate. Mushrooms in butter. This wine proves that Crozes-Hermitage given the hands of a competent maker and a great year, can age with gravitas. The greatest Crozes ever made?

SOME INTERLOPERS

2009 Bilancia ‘La Collina’
Delicious warm spice, elegant and alluring, beautifully ripe. Oak present but integrating well. High tones, even floral, but subtley so. Acids and tannins fused brilliantly to produce that sought after savoury impact. Bravo.

2009 Benetiere Cote Rotie “Cordeloux”
This came across as bretty at first, but over the course of the evening improved and brightened. Very tight, stemmy and a little reductive. Not a ripe, slinky wine as you might expect from 2009. Smokey bacon aromas, always hard tell how much of this is oak derived. The tannins are dense, but ripe. Best leave this in the cellar a while to give it time to unpack.

1991 Wendouree Shiraz Malbec
Dense red, brooding, black fruit nose, the faintest suggestion of eucalypt, together with the fact that Alistair brought it, has me thinking Wendouree. You have to love the warm, persuasive authority of this wine. This, along with every other wine on the table tonight, has a warm energy at the centre. 21 years old and a lifetime to go. A great Australian.