“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:

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

Tim wins 2013 Winemaker of the Year

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At a gala dinner at Teage Ezard’s BLACK restaurant in Sydney overnight, Canberra winemaker Tim Kirk was named Australian Winemaker of the Year.

Each year Gourmet Traveller WINE magazine’s tasting panel selects eight finalists who have demonstrated through a track record of exemplary wines that they are worthy to be considered among Australia’s best. One of the eight is then chosen as ‘Australian Winemaker of the Year’.

Chairman of the panel Peter Forrestal singled out Clonakilla’s flagship Shiraz Viognier as Tim’s crowning achievement, noting “how important it is to Australian wine as the benchmark for the style and as a world-class red in it’s own right.”

This year’s finalists were selected from leading Australian wineries around the country, with two each coming from Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia and New South Wales, including Tim Kirk, Chief Winemaker and CEO at Clonakilla winery at Murrumbateman in the Canberra District .

In winning this award Tim Kirk joins an illustrious list of past winners including Vanya Cullen (Margaret River), Jeff Grosset (Clare Valley), Gary Farr (By Farr Wines, Geelong), Yalumba’s Louisa Rose, Rick Kinzbrunner of Giaconda fame and Steve Webber from De Bortoli.

Clonakilla board chairman Kiaran Kirk expressed the delight of the Kirk family in Tim’s success. “We are thrilled to see Tim win this significant award. Tim has built highly effectively on the foundation laid down by our father, Clonakilla founder John Kirk. Under Tim’s leadership, the winery’s flagship Shiraz Viognier is now widely regarded as one of Australia’s great reds, and that is a matter of genuine pride for the family and all the Clonakilla team.”

In accepting the award last night, Tim paid tribute to his father John and the team at Clonakilla, in particular manager of winemaking Bryan Martin and production manager Michael Lahiff. “It is fantastic to work together with committed, talented colleagues to craft wines from the beautiful Murrumbateman landscape, wines that are now sought after by wine lovers all over the world. This award is confirmation that Canberra has indeed arrived as one of Australia’s great wine regions.”

Dinner anyone?

The new Shiraz Viognier and Riesling are out now, so let’s try them over dinner.
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For this year’s theme we have taken our lead from the fact that your correspondent has been named a finalist for the Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine Winemaker of the Year awards (to be announced in Sydney next Tuesday night!).

We will drink the Clonakilla 2013 Riesling and the 2012 and 2006 Shiraz Viognier, along with top wines from the other Winemaker of the Year finalists over five courses at some great restaurants.

The dinners sell out quickly, so if you would like to come along, book now!

Launceston – Stillwater, Wednesday October 9. $175/head. Bookings: 03 6331 4153
Canberra – Aubergine, Wednesday October 16. $165/head. 02 6260 8666
Adelaide – Bistro Dom, Tuesday October 22. $165/head. 08 8231 7000
Brisbane – The Euro, Wednesday October 30. $170/head. 07 3229 3686
Sydney – The Bridge Room, Monday November 4. $170/head. 02 9247 7000
Melbourne – Brooks, Wednesday November 6. $170/head. 03 9001 8755
Perth – No. 4 Blake Street, Wednesday November 13. $150/head. 08 9444 6678

For anyone able to make it to Sydney next week, join me at Icebergs Dining Room and Bar for the fifth in their series of tenth anniversary dinners on Wednesday September 25.

Four courses matched with Clonakilla 2013 Riesling, 2012 and 2008 Viognier, 2007 Hilltops Shiraz and 2012 and 2006 Shiraz Viognier. $170/head. Book on 02 9365 9000.

Wine and time: 2012 dinner series

For the Clonakilla 2012 dinner series we conducted a really enjoyable set of dinners investigating the age-worthiness of Clonakilla wines at some fine dining establishments around the country.

We started each dinner with a glass or two of the 2012 Viognier Nouveau. This has proven to be a very successful wine for us. Built on the (correct) assumption that sometimes you just want a drink, something that is neither heavy nor intense. Just a nice bright fresh glass of wine that hits the spot without asking too much of you.


With the first course we served a bracket of Rieslings. The vintages varied over the dinners but the most common combination was 2002, 2006 and 2012.
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