Clonakilla vertical: one of Australia's new classics
Had lunch today with Tim Kirk of Clonakilla, tasting a vertical of Clonakilla's amazing Shiraz Viognier back to 1997. For those of you unfamiliar with this wine, it's one of Australia's new classics. Clonakilla is based half an hour's drive from Canberra. I visited back in 2006, and I really enjoyed both the wines and also meeting Tim and his father David.
The Shiraz Viognier is a blend of cool-climate Syrah and just a little Viognier - typically 5-6% - and it works perfectly. I found the vertical quite thrilling, because these wines have beautiful floral aromatics, complex red fruit characters and terrific acidity and freshness. They're quite elegant, and they age well.
My favourites included the crazy white pepper infested 1999 (made from a second crop after serious frosts took the first shoots), the brilliant 2001, 2002 and 2005, the amazing rare 2007, and the ethereal 2008.
We're lucky to get any of this wine in the UK (UK agent is Liberty). Tim could happily sell his whole production to his mailing list customers in Australia, and get more for it, too.