One of the great names in Shiraz, Clonakilla generally make wines that are three times the price of this superb blend. Too much Aussie Shiraz can fall into the trap of over-ripeness and end up 'flabby' so the quest was really to find an example that had the purity of rich fruit but was still bright and precise. We think this hits that nail clean on the head.
Established in 1971 by scientist Dr John Kirk, Clonakilla has grown to be one of the leading wineries in Australia. John Kirk, originally from Ireland, always had a passion for wine and following a job offer based in Canberra, John and his family relocated to Australia. It was John's scientific curiosity that led him to Murrumbateman where his research found that the soil and climate seemed to suit certain varieties of vines. He questioned why they were not being grown in the area and in 1971 he bought a 44-acre farm near Murrumbateman which is 40km north of Canberra.
In 1977 John and his sons built the winery by hand and named it Clonakilla. Clonakilla means 'meadow of the church’ and is the name of John's grandfather's farm in County Clare, Ireland. Fast forward 20 years and Tim Kirk, the fourth of John's six sons, took over responsibility for winemaking. Tim was named Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year in 2013.
The grapes for this Shiraz were selected from four vineyards in the Hilltops district around Young in New South Wales, the Canberra District’s closest neighbouring wine region. The altitude is marginally lower than Canberra so the grapes tend to be harvested around two weeks before those grown on the estate. Soils are deep red loam over light clay, giving distinctive blackberry and blackcurrant notes to the wine. The 2019 vintage was a warm, low yielding year producing some of the darkest colour and blackest fruit character Clonakilla has seen from the district.