Rare & Small Batch Wines now available

It’s an exciting day for us as we announce the release of our Rare & Small Batch wines for 2015. These wines are keenly anticipated and they tend to sell out quickly. In short, if you are interested in these wines, don’t leave it too long!

Here is what we have to offer you this year:

2013 Syrah

2013 is one of the great vintages. The days were warm and the nights cool. Perfect conditions for the grapes to develop great colour, dramatic aromas and profound texture and flavour. This is as good a Murrumbateman Shiraz as we have ever made. “Deeply scented with heady aromas of blue and red flowers, raspberries, blackberries, redcurrants…spotlessly elegant and supremely balanced shiraz…96 points” Jeremy Oliver

2014 Pinot Noir

Strikingly aromatic with fragrant red berry fruit and that hard to describe Pinot character which sits in the tension between the two poles of sweet and savoury. Supple, silky tannin. More kiss than punch. “I reckon you’ve really nailed it this time.” Max Allen (limit of 4 bottles)

2013 Ballinderry

The days were warm and the nights were cool, making for great colour and fine tannin structure. The fruit characters are beautifully delineated. A blend of 42% Cabernet Franc, 35% Merlot and 23% Cabernet Sauvignon. “firm and ripe and sure to cellar well” 93+ points” Campbell Mattinson

2013 Vintage

A fortified Shiraz from the wonderful 2013 vintage. We made this from some of the ripest Shiraz that came into the winery. We stopped the fermentation with the addition of SVR spirit between 4 and 5 baume. Opulent to say the least. “…rich, dense, and smooth…eminently seductive…I kept wanting more and more. 92 points” Campbell Mattinson

2014 Viognier

There are beautifully defined fruit characters here, the low yields adding an intensity to the aroma with the cool Murrumbateman nights contributing the crisp natural acid. “This release is stunning…a wine of controlled intensity… it rolls as it rips. 95 points” Campbell Mattinson

2014 Tumbarumba Chardonnay

Restrained aromas, classically styled. Tight and bright through the palate with a taut, mineral acid backbone. A lipsmacking example from Tumbarumba. “Apple-like with melon, pear, grapefruit and spice notes…91+ points” Campbell Mattinson

Keep an eye out for the release of the 2013 Shiraz Viognier magnums and the 2015 Viognier Nouveau in a few weeks’ time.

Warm regards,
Tim Kirk

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
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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.’

“The aroma…just bursting off the surface of the wine.” Tim tastes the 2013 SV

“It’s that beautiful rose petal, red berry, ripe plum, cherry perfume which makes this wine such a sensation thing to smell…and taste!”, declares Tim.

The entire Clonakilla team is thrilled to be able to release such a stunning version of our Shiraz Viognier. This has been the most anticipated release of the SV since the exceptional 2009. Hear what Tim has to say about this wine:

Rare & Small Batch Release

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It’s an exciting day for us as we announce the release of our Rare & Small Batch wines for 2014. These wines are keenly anticipated by a number of our customers and they tend to sell out quickly. In short, if you are interested in these wines, don’t leave it too long!

Here is what we have available for you:

2012 Syrah

After a cool and wet late summer the weather turned fine and gently warm through the autumn. The 2012 Syrah comes from the top end of T&L blocks one and two. Great Murrumbateman Shiraz from a great site. “An incredible Clonakilla that proclaims the heights of fragrance and complexity…96 points” Tyson Stelzer (limit of 6 bottles)

2013 Pinot Noir

Made in tiny quantities from young vines (clones 777 and 115) and an old, unidentified clone planted by John Kirk in 1978. Subtle perfumes and tender tannins. “The 2012 was a surprise packet; this 2013 is better again…94 points” Campbell Mattinson (limit of 6 bottles)

2013 Ceoltoiri

Rich and ripe but with a savoury cool-climate edge. It’s a blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Shiraz and a tiny splash of Cinsault. “It’s a sensational release. So polished. So beautifully ripened…lipsmackingly delicious…class act. 95 points” Campbell Mattinson (limit of 6 bottles)

2012 Ballinderry

We picked clean, ripe fruit from our old vines in mid-April. A blend of 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Cabernet Franc and 28% Merlot.

2013 Chardonnay

From the high altitude ‘Revee Estate’ vineyard in Tumbarumba and small parcels of fruit from Clonakilla. Tight and bright through the palate with a mineral acid backbone. “…classic cool-climate barrel fermented chardonnay with varietal fruit to the fore…with very fine texture. 4.5 stars.” Chris Shanahan

2013 Viognier

Classically rich musk, apricot and ginger notes along with some complex barrel ferment characters on the nose. On the palate – richness without heaviness. “Excellent length. Excellent power…Outstanding release. 95 points. Campbell Mattinson

Keep an eye out for the release of the 2012 Shiraz Viognier magnums in a couple of weeks’ time.

A great year

We’ve had a fantastic year.

To begin with, the 2013 vintage was remarkable. Every variety revelled in the warm days and cool nights that Murrumbateman served up leading into harvest.

Just yesterday we finalised the blend for the 2013 Shiraz Viognier and it looks fabulous.
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The 2013s across the board are a delight. The Riesling received 95 points from pretty well everyone who reviewed it including Huon Hooke, Jeremy Oliver, Campbell Mattinson and Tyson Stelzer. Winewise magazine bestowed a rare ‘Outstanding’ rating upon it.

The Viognier Nouveau is all but sold out now with the Riesling soon to follow. As far as the whites go, soon it will be just the Semillon Sauvignon Blanc holding the fort until the 2013 Chardonnay and 2013 Viognier are released in Autumn next year.

The 2012 reds have seen a return to deeper, darker flavours after the fragrant, feather fine 2011s. We were thrilled to see the 2012 Shiraz Viognier garner a series of fantastic reviews, with 97 pointers from James Halliday, Tim White and Chris Shanahan.

A high point for me was winning the coveted Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine ‘Australian Winemaker of the Year’ award. I became a local celebrity for a week, making the front page of the Yass Tribune and spending an hour on air with the lovely Alex Sloan on 666 ABC Canberra. I even made it on to the local edition of ABC television’s 7.30 report.

At the winery there are plans aplenty with the design of our new cellar door and office complex in the last stages of design. We will start building in 2014.

We’re extending our winemaking facilities too, with not one but two new sheds going up to give us more room to move.

Thanks to you for your interest and support again in 2013.

Wishing you and your family every Christmas blessing,

Tim Kirk