Matthew Jukes reviews Clonakilla wines

Matthew Jukes, UK wine writer, was recently in Canberra to help promote the inaugural Touch Football Vinnie-Yard – a charity event for the St Vincent de Paul Society.

Matthew writes: “I am thrilled to be launching my wine and touch footy event in Canberra and cannot wait to learn more about the wines from this fantastic and unique part of Australia as well as uniting the wine community and wine lovers in order to raise much needed funds for the plight of the homeless.”

As part of this campaign there was a dinner held at Old Parliament House where numerous regional wines were paired with food prepared by Janet Jeffs at Ginger Catering. It was here Matthew was able to sample a wide range of Canberra District wines. He was impressed. Here are Matthew’s tasting notes on four of our wines.

2012 Riesling
Riesling pioneers Clonakilla managed to build layers of complexity into this seemingly innocent wine. Alongside the time honoured, I noted a lime juice core and you will find faint hints of rhubarb, wild flowers and even a touch of musk.

“This perfumed beauty lunges across the palate like a glittering toboggan”

and the finish takes minutes to subside. You are so lucky to be able to buy this wine – can’t get my hands on any in the UK!

2011 Viognier
Clonakilla is one of the finest exponents of this heady grape variety on the planet. Unlike some of the warmer climate regions this Viognier is crisp, vital and its exoticism is tempered by nerve tingling acidity.

“This is one of the grandest wines in the region and you should fight for every bottle you can get.”

Alongside the peach skin and apricot blossom aromas sit beautifully judged patisserie notes coming from the perfectly balanced oak treatment.

2011 Hilltops Shiraz
It is no surprise to learn that the challenges which the 2011 vintage gave most wine makers have merely glanced off the perfectionists at Clonakilla. This is a more forward wine than usual with a seductive blackberry juice theme studded by white pepper and violet notes.

“merely glanced off the perfectionists at Clonakilla”

Already drinking beautifully but with another five glorious years to roll on this is a highly successful wine from a conundrum of a vintage.

2011 O’Riada Shiraz
When you sink your teeth into this drop dead gorgeous Shiraz Viognier blend you will be rewarded with not only a wine that could teach the French a thing or too but also

“a study in celestial marriage that is these two wondrous varieties”

The only clue as to the vintage of this wine comes in the form of its drinkability. You do not have to feel guilty for once when you open a young Clonakilla wine.