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.’

“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:

2012 Shiraz Viognier out now

Of all the emails we send you from Clonakilla through the year, this one is the most important and the most highly anticipated.

We hereby release our flagship wines, the 2012 Shiraz Viognier and the 2013 Riesling.

The reviews are fantastic.

Clonakilla 2012 Shiraz Viognier

The bouquet is supremely fragrant, almost flowery/scented, the palate instantaneously imprinting its total harmony and balance; fruit, oak and tannins are all seamlessly interwoven, the length prodigious. 97 points – James Halliday

It’s explosively fragrant, exotically spicy and refreshingly tangy … superfine, impeccably crafted tannins of immense presence. Cellar for a decade and drink with game. 96 points -Tyson Stelzer

Clonakilla 2013 Riesling

There are a few hidden gems among Australian wines, and this is one of them. Clonakilla has been quite rightly acclaimed for its Shiraz Viognier, but in my view the Riesling is almost as great an achievement. The latest vintage is one of Australia’s best. It’s intense and beautifully aromatic, reflecting citrus and stone fruit, and the palate delivers great length and acid freshness. Outstanding – Lester Jesberg – Winewise

Exactingly crafted and beautifully executed, this is a stunning vintage for Clonakilla riesling. Warm, sun-bathed days and cool nights have ripened breathtakingly pristine lemon zest, granny smith apple and lime blossom purity. Decomposed granite soils build chalky, talcy mineral structure. A wonderfully enduring riesling of lemon blossom, crunchy fennel and lime zest persistence. 95 points – Tyson Stelzer

It’s thrillingly (nee painfully) intense. Lime, grapefruit, slate, chalk. It powers through the palate and out through the finish like a locomotive going double the speed limit. Wow. I’d personally find this hard to drink now, in its extreme youth, but given time I suspect this will be sensational. – Campbell Mattinson – The Wine Front

In other news, I am delighted to have been named a finalist for the Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine’s Australian Winemaker of the Year. The winner will be announced at a gala dinner in Sydney on Tuesday September 24. We’ll keep you posted!
Huon Hooke’s write-up of me as a finalist can be found here.

We are in the final stages of planning our 2013 dinner series so watch out for the email announcing the venues.

Warm regards,

Tim Kirk

Celebrating the Savoury

Last month Clonakilla was privileged to be involved with a Melbourne Food and Wine Festival event. Under the banner of ‘Celebrating the Savoury’, Clonakilla, along with Dalwhinnie winery, was asked to provide some of our top vintages to be paired with food prepared by the legendary Jacques Reymond at his restaurant in Prahran. Our own Tim Kirk and David Jones from Dalwhinnie provided the commentary for each of their wines served throughout the evening.

After a splash of champagne we moved into the first course of the evening: deep sea hapuka and ocean trout en croute, a lemon caviar and chive sauce. This was served with a 2011 Dalwhinnie Moonambel Chardonnay and the 2011 Clonakilla Viognier. Both wines delicate and structured enough to enhance the subtle flavours of the seafood.

Below, a selection of photos from the evening by David Reist.


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Celebrating 20 Years of Shiraz Viognier

Encouraged by his son Jeremy to try something new & rare, John Kirk planted the white grape Viognier in his Murrumbateman vineyard in 1986. John’s son Tim, after a transcendent tasting experience in Cote Rotie in 1991, returned to the family winery with a vision for co-fermenting the Viognier with the Clonakilla Shiraz.

The first vintage was 1992. Twenty years on, to celebrate the release of the 20th vintage of this ground-breaking wine, we held a six course dinner at Circa in St Kilda. We tasted all 20 Shiraz Viognier vintages, a selection of Clonakilla Rieslings, and a bracket of the new dark horse, the Clonakilla Syrah.

We were privileged to have a professional photographer in attendance to record the evening. Neil Prieto is a Melbourne based photographer who does a lot of work with Adrian Lander. Below is a gallery of some of the images he produced. Follow this link to view more.