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Berton Reserve Barossa Shiraz 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2015 vintage was awarded 95 points and a Platinum Best In Show at the Decanter World Wine Awards (www.decanter.com(see blue link below).

Berton Reserve Shiraz 2015 - August 2017 Decanter review

Established by Bob and Cherie Berton in May 1996, Berton Vineyard's estate covers 30 hectares of land located on gently rolling hills at 450 metres above sea level, in a subregion of Eden Valley in South Australia. The superb Reserve Shiraz and Reserve Chardonnay wines are still sourced from this plot. In 2007, Bob purchased the Yenda winery in the heart of the Riverina. This state-of- the-art facility has the capacity to process 20,000 tonnes and enables Berton Vineyard to produce value for money wines which sit alongside their premium single vineyard offerings.

The grapes come from the Barossa Valley, in South Australia. Situated at a latitude of 34° South, the region is made up of rolling hills and valley floors. The growing season often sees hot, warm weather with temperatures of 35°C, which can result in vine stress, helping to concentrate the flavours in the berries. The wide diurnal temperature differences help to retain balancing acidity. Some of the grapes come from Berton's original vineyard in the Eden Valley, where the climate is cooler. The vine age is varied, but all vines have been spur pruned and are generally trained on a single wire cordon trellising system. The vines are planted at approximately 1.8 metres apart with 3.6 metres between the rows, to allow machinery access. The soil styles in the vineyards are varied, ranging from clay, to limestone and sandy soils, with each terroir adding its own characteristic to the final wine.

The wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks with regular skin submersion in order to extract the required colour and flavour from the grapes. After fermentation, the wine was pressed off into stainless steel tanks where it completed malolactic fermentation in the late autumn. The wine was then racked off into both French and American oak barrels resulting in a rich, spicy complex Shiraz.

Shiraz 93%, Durif 4%, Cabernet Sauvignon 3%.

The Reserve Shiraz is deepest dark red with a very youthful and vibrant garnet hue. The aromas are powerful and complex with a wealth of fruit ranging from ripe black cherries and blackberries with hints of eucalypt and spice. The rich and full palate displays soft flavours of plum skin, mulberry and hints of vanilla and blackberry, These abundant flavours are underpinned by fine vanilla from the oak and defined by exciting spicy tannins.

£14.25

Berton Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 96 points and rare Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their April 2017 edition review of New World Cabernet Sauvignons (see blue link below) in which it emerged as the runaway Number One.

Berton Reserve 2014 - April 2017 Decanter review

Established by Bob and Cherie Berton in May 1996, Berton Vineyard is one of Hallgarten's most important partners. The estate covers 30 hectares of land located on gently rolling hills at 450 metres above sea level, in a subregion of Eden Valley in South Australia. The superb Reserve Shiraz and Reserve Chardonnay wines are still sourced from this plot. In 2007, Bob purchased the Yenda winery in the heart of the Riverina. This state-of- the-art facility has the capacity to process 20,000 tonnes and enables Berton Vineyard to produce value for money wines which sit alongside their premium single vineyard offerings.

Good winter rainfall was a perfect start to the 2016 growing season. Above average temperatures resulted in early budburst with most varieties. The mild to warm and dry conditions continued with good rainfall in both November and December producing ideal conditions for véraison. February saw the arrival of hot dry weather and with no rainfall or disease pressure, ripening accelerated rapidly resulting in an early harvest for the reds. The 2016 reds are stand outs - rich ripe juicy wines with great length and great depth of colour.

The grapes come from two parcels of fruit within the same vineyard, in the prized Terra Rossa region of Coonawarra. One block is on a slightly more elevated area of the vineyard, which produces more subtle fruit characters. The warm days are moderated by off-shore breezes and the rich red loam over free draining limestone soil is the foundations for the Coonawarra's justified reputation for producing premium quality Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

The grapes were fermented in stainless vertical sweep arm fermenters for 10 days between 22 ° and 28°C on premium French oak until dry. Each parcel of wine was then pressed at 0.5 Baumé through a bag press and clarified via centrifuge into stainless steel storage tanks. The parcels were then transferred into new and old French (90%) and American (10%) oak barrels for 12 months. Only the best parcels were selected and carefully blended to arrive at this exceptional wine.

Cabernet Sauvignon 99%, Shiraz 1%.

This shows intense and generous black fruit aromas with hints of chocolate, eucalyptus and mint. The Reserve Coonawarra Cabernet has an impenetrable black colour with a vibrant garnet hue. The aromas are powerful and complex with a wealth of fruit ranging from ripe blackcurrant and blackberries with hints of nutmeg and cinnamon. The rich and harmonious palate displays abundant flavours of prune, plum jam and mint, underpinned by fine toasty French oak and defined by a soft yet dense tannin profile.

ABV = 14.5%.

£12.85

Berton Vineyard Limited Gundagai Shiraz 2016 (1x75cl)

Bob Berton showed a trio of sub-regional Shirazes, from a group of six which he made, earlier this year in London and it was a tremendous exercise. Heathcote, Coonawarra and Gundagai were the regions he picked and they all looked very accurate and distinctive. My favourite was the Gundagai and while Bob sells these in his cellar door only, he has agreed to ship over a few cases for those merchants who want to stick up their hands. We don’t see many Gundagai Shirazes in the UK so this is a superb chance to taste this remarkable wine. Bounded on the northeast by Hilltops, the east by Canberra District and the south by Tumbarumba, Gundagai is high country and the fruit is tight, dark, spicy and juicy and I always sense a mouth-watering, black olive tang in the background of the flavour. Spot on in every department, this is another expression of Australian Shiraz to add to the already diverse flavour palette”. 

Matthew Jukes, 100 Best Australian Wines 2018/19

Established by Bob and Cherie Berton in May 1996, Berton Vineyard is one of Hallgarten's most important partners. The estate covers 30 hectares of land located on gently rolling hills at 450 metres above sea level, in a subregion of Eden Valley in South Australia. The superb Reserve Shiraz and Reserve Chardonnay wines are still sourced from this plot. In 2007, Bob purchased the Yenda winery in the heart of the Riverina. This state-of- the-art facility has the capacity to process 20,000 tonnes and enables Berton Vineyard to produce value for money wines which sit alongside their premium single vineyard offerings.

Abundant winter rainfall was a perfect start to the 2016 growing season. Above average temperatures resulted in early budburst in most varieties. The mild to warm and dry conditions continued with good rainfall in both November and December producing ideal conditions for véraison. February saw the arrival of hot dry weather and with no rainfall or disease pressure; ripening accelerated rapidly resulting in an early harvest for the reds. The 2016 reds are stand outs: rich, ripe, juicy wines with great length and wonderful depth of colour.

The vineyard is situated on rolling hills overlooking the Murrumbidgee River and Jugiong village. At 350 metres above sea level, it is considered high country New South Wales. The average annual rainfall here is 706 millimetres, classifying the region as having a continental climate. The terroir is rich quartz speckled through alluvial soils; it nourishes the clone BVRC30 vines, which were planted on their own rootstocks in 1997. Drip irrigation ensures they receive the optimal amount of moisture.

The must was cold-soaked for two days at 12°C. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks with two daily pump-overs to ensure optimum extraction of colour and flavour, while imparting structure. Maceration lasted for eight to 10 days and then the young wine was pressed off its skins, clarified and transferred for malolactic fermentation. It was racked off its lees into oak barrels; approximately 70% of these were of old oak (of which 35% was American and the remainder French), for a period of 13 months.

100% Shiraz.

Rich, intense aromas of blackberry, black cherry and vanilla oak are echoed on the velvety smooth palate, opulent and stylish. A deliciously smooth wine which delivers rich, intense aromas of blackberry, black cherry and subtle hints of toasty oak. Opulent with juicy berried fruits, a unique mineral character and subtle nuances of vanilla and cedar box, the palate is velvety soft with beautifully integrated tannins and a long, elegant finish.

£13.50

Berton Winemakers Reserve (The Black) Shiraz 2017 (1x75cl)

Established by Bob and Cherie Berton in May 1996, Berton Vineyard is one of Hallgarten's most important partners. The estate covers 30 hectares of land located on gently rolling hills at 450 metres above sea level, in a subregion of Eden Valley in South Australia. The superb Reserve Shiraz and Reserve Chardonnay wines are still sourced from this plot. In 2007, Bob purchased the Yenda winery in the heart of the Riverina. This state-of- the-art facility has the capacity to process 20,000 tonnes and enables Berton Vineyard to produce value for money wines which sit alongside their premium single vineyard offerings.

2017 in Padthaway saw a wet and slightly warmer winter, which resulted in later bud burst than usual. The ripening period was slow and gradual with perfect weather conditions to allow flavours and colour to develop to full maturity.

Predominantly sourced from the vineyards in Padthaway, South Australia, where the soils are sandy loam over clay, formed on old lagoon sediments. These sandy soils lead to poor nutrient and water retention which helps to concentrate the flavours in the fruit. The vines are grown on single wire trellises, ensuring an open canopy. Drip irrigation is used in the vineyards to manage the water supply and reduce evaporation, as water is applied directly above the roots.

The parcels of fruit were fermented in stainless steel vertical fermenters for four to six days at temperatures maintained between 26 to 30°C. Wine was then bag pressed at 1° Baumé and left to ferment until dry. It was then racked onto French oak for malolactic fermentation. The wine was clarified via centrifuge into stainless steel storage. Once all parcels were completed, the final cuvée wascarefully blended and prepared for bottling.

Grape Shiraz 92%, Durif 8%.

Densely hued, this is a rich and fleshy Shiraz with generous minty blackberry, chocolate and mint flavours over hints of cedar oak. The Winemakers Reserve Black Shiraz is an extreme example of this Australian Shiraz with deep colour and aromas of blackberry and plum over toasty coffee and spicy oak. The palate is full flavoured and intense with rich plum, blueberry and mocha notes. The tannins are ripe and dense imparting great structure and length to the palate.

ABV = 14.5%.

£10.20

Bonsai Shiraz Cabernet High Eden Berton Vineyard 2016 (1x75cl)

Established by Bob and Cherie Berton in May 1996, Berton Vineyard is one of Hallgarten's most important partners. The estate covers 30 hectares of land located on gently rolling hills at 450 metres above sea level, in a subregion of Eden Valley in South Australia. The superb Reserve Shiraz and Reserve Chardonnay wines are still sourced from this plot. In 2007, Bob purchased the Yenda winery in the heart of the Riverina. This state-of- the-art facility has the capacity to process 20,000 tonnes and enables Berton Vineyard to produce value for money wines which sit alongside their premium single vineyard offerings.

Good winter rainfall was a perfect start to the 2016 growing season. Above average temperatures resulted in early budburst with most varieties. The mild to warm and dry conditions continued with good rainfall in both November and December producing ideal conditions for véraison. February saw the arrival of hot dry weather and with no rainfall or disease pressure, ripening accelerated rapidly resulting in an early harvest for the reds. The 2016 reds are stand outs - rich ripe juicy wines with great length and great depth of colour.

The vineyard was planted in 1996, with vines planted 1.5m apart and with 3.3m between the rows. A single wire trellis system is used which ensures good ventilation and minimal disease. The canopy is typically quite sparse allowing maximum sunlight penetration. The vines are spur pruned and grown in "Podsolics" an old grey soil formed over yellow clay, which is sandy and slightly sodic.

The grapes were fermented in stainless static fermenters for approximately eight days at temperatures of between 22°C and 28°C on premium French untoasted and toasted oak. The grapes were pressed at 0.5 Baumé into stainless steel tanks and fermented until dry. The wine then went through malolactic fermentation and each parcel was clarified via centrifuge. Each parcel was transferred into new and used French oak barrels for approximately 20 months. The best parcels of each of the Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignons were carefully barrel selected.

This Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon impresses with impenetrable violet hues and delivers intense aromas of blueberry, plum, liquorice and toasty oak. Subtle fine tannins marry perfectly on the soft, elegant palate of dark cherry, leather and cigar box. Perfect with roast beef, marinated veal or full-flavoured cheeses.

£22.15

Chaffey Bros, Battle For Barossa La Conquista! 2016 (1x75cl)

Brothers-in-law Daniel Chaffey Hartwig and Theo Engela are the latest generation of the Chaffey family to ply their vinous trade in Australia. The original Chaffey brothers (Canadian Hydro Engineers) were true iconoclasts. They arrived in Australia in 1886 and proceeded (along with a number of their descendants) to make an indelible mark on the Australian wine landscape. 

This wine, say the brothers, is the vinous rematch of the 1811 Battle at Barrosa Ridge where Spain fought off attacking French forces. La Conquista! pitches Tempranillo and Garnacha on the attack, ruffling feathers amongst the Barossa Old Guard varieties of French descent. The original Spanish spelling of Barrosa honours the original name given to our Barossa Valley by Colonel Light who fought in the 1811 battle.

See also: La Resistance!

This wine is made using Tempranillo from Gomersal on the Western Ridge and Williamstown in the Barossa’s southern hills. Each selection of grapes were individually matured for seven months, in seasoned American and French puncheons and hogsheads, then blended with Garnacha from 50 year old vines in the Lyndoch foothills. These were picked in late February, giving the ripe, juicy fruit needed to help out the structure of Tempranillo’s complex and savoury fruit. The final blend is 66% Tempranillo, 30% (old-vine) Garnacha, 4% Graciano.

Cherry and cola aromas mingle with hints of chocolate and spicy orals. a dark yet luminous crimson colour hints at the rich semi-savoury dark cherry and cola palate that finishes with a hint of grenache red cherry juiciness. Drink with rare lamb or homemade pizza.

£14.85

Chaffey Bros, Battle for Barossa La Resistance! 2016 (1x75cl)

The 2014 vintage was awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their March 2016 edition review of Australian GSM (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre) blends (see blue link below)

Chaffey Bros Battle For Barossa La Resistance! 2014 - March 2016 Decanter review

Brothers-in-law Daniel Chaffey Hartwig and Theo Engela are the latest generation of the Chaffey family to ply their vinous trade in Australia. The original Chaffey brothers (Canadian Hydro Engineers) were true iconoclasts. They arrived in Australia in 1886 and proceeded (along with a number of their descendants) to make an indelible mark on the Australian wine landscape.

This wine, say the brothers, is a vinous rematch of the famous 1811 battle at Barrosa Ridge where Spain and France collided. La Résistance! takes up the fight for the traditional French varieties of the Barossa and pitches gnarly old vine Grenache, Syrah & Mourvèdre into defence against the invading foreign marauders.

See also: La Conquista!

Grenache makes up 55% of this wine, delivering a Grenache-centric GSM, with elegant Syrah (33%) and spicy Mourvèdre (12%) adding tell-tale definition and structure. The majority of the Grenache is from an old cool Williamstown vineyard, on the border of the Adelaide Hills, which is blended with Grenache from a special Krondorf Road parcel. Early harvest Syrah is from a 69 year old Ebenezer vineyard and from the Heinrich vineyard in the Lyndoch foothills, which unites with the lovely blue-fruit characters of Syrah from a small Northern Eden Valley vineyard on the outskirts of Angaston. The remainder of the blend is powerful, spicy Mourvèdre.

12 months elevage in seasoned (3-8-year-old) French oak hogsheads has provided the perfect framework/support to the deep-fruited, dark cherry, strawberry and mineral laden (graphite/ferrous) palate with a lovely savoury lick of supple fine-grain tannin. Gentle refreshing acidity gives great line and drives the brooding and delicious fruit through to a lingering finish.

This is definitely a Grenache-driven GSM! Subtle seasoned oak and caramel lead to a deep-fruited, dark cherry and strawberry palate with supple fine-grain tannin.

£15.65

Charles Melton `Grains of Paradise` Shiraz 2014 (1x 75cl)

Charles Melton Wines has produced premium Barossa red wines since 1984. At that time, Charlie and a small band of Barossa winemakers turned their winemaking efforts to what were then considered a couple of unfashionable varieties: Shiraz and Grenache. These wines were initially styled on those from the Rhône but are now considered leading examples of the varieties in their own right.

Fruit from one of the vineyard's finest Barossa blocks makes up the majority of this wine. The single vineyard, which is located in the heart of the Barossa Valley, dates back to the early 1900s. It is a more elegant style than traditional Barossa Shiraz but still retains the warmth and generosity of the Barossa. No chemicals have been used for over five years.

There was a fiery start to the 2014 vintage, with one of the warmest summers since 1908. Fortunately, mid-February brought 90 millimetres of rain which refreshed all the vines and brought the fruit back into superb balance. The next eight weeks saw the most temperate, sublime autumn harvest weather seen for many years.

During fermentation, a mix of hand plunging and pump over techniques in the traditional style influenced this wine. The wine is finished in barrique with all the press wine included. American oak is sent to France for a 36-month European seasoning before being coopered into barriques using the immersion bending technique. The wine is then aged ‘sur lie’ to give an interpretation of the traditional Barossa style with a contemporary twist.

100% Shiraz.

A wonderful expression of the traditional Barossa style. Deep in colour and softly perfumed with excellent melding of vanillin and cedar oak aromatics and rich Barossa Shiraz fruit. Intense coffee and mocha flavours are supported by firm tannins and richness of mouthfeel.

£35.85

Charles Melton Nine Popes 2015 (1x75cl)

Charles Melton Wines has produced premium Barossa red wines since 1984. At that time, Charlie and a small band of Barossan winemakers turned their winemaking efforts to what were then considered a couple of unfashionable varieties: Shiraz and Grenache. These wines were initially styled on those from the Rhône but are now considered leading examples of the varieties in their own right.

The Grenache in this blend comes from old bush vines in the Barossa, many of which are over 80 years old. The Mataro is also from a small parcel of bush vines in the Eden Valley, whilst the Shiraz is trellis grown. The blend is made up primarily of grapes from Charles Melton's prime vineyards plus some from the vineyards of a small number of trusted partner growers. None of the vineyards are irrigated, they are all dry grown. This coupled with the low yielding old vines leads to great concentrations of flavour in the grapes.

The perfect balance of a little rain in January and sunshine in February got the 2015 vintage off to a flying start. This was one of the earliest starts to a growing season ever, and mild conditions in March and April ensured the ripening period was problem free. More than 60% of the crop was harvested in the first seven days with the total harvest lasting 50 days.

Charlie Melton uses a range of different techniques in the production of the Nine Popes. The fermentation was carried out with indigenous yeasts at relatively cool temperatures (18-23ºC) to retain elegant fruit flavours. With both traditional pump overs and hand plunging. A portion of whole bunches were used in the Grenache ferments, some of which were co-fermented with the Shiraz. After the fermentation, the wine was left in contact with its lees and underwent periodic lees stirring. It was aged in predominantly French oak barriques and foudres for two years. Before bottling, the wine was racked but no fining agents were used.

49% Grenache/Garnacha , 48% Syrah/Shiraz, 3% Mataro.

This wine is deep red in colour with a hint of an amber edge. The nose is intense with ripe red fruit flavours intermingled with sweet spice and salted caramel. Beautifully balanced with a plump mouthfeel and soft tannins, it culminates in a long savoury finish.

ABV = 14.5%.

£42.65

Charles Melton Voices of Angels Adelaide Hills Shiraz 2015 (1x75cl)

Charles Melton Wines has produced premium Barossa red wines since 1984. At that time, Charlie and a small band of Barossa winemakers turned their winemaking efforts to what were then considered a couple of unfashionable varieties: Shiraz and Grenache. These wines were initially styled on those from the Rhône but are now considered leading examples of the varieties in their own right.

This wine is sourced from the Mount Pleasant vineyard which sits on the boundary of Eden Valley and the Adelaide Hills. Technically, this wine is from the Adelaide Hills, but spiritually the fruit is Eden Valley.

2015 saw one of the earliest ever starts to vintage with over 60% of Charlie's Barossa fruit picked in the first week of February. The Voices of Angels vineyard is typically one of the last to be picked, as the elevation and more southerly location give more moderate temperatures and higher rainfall. The grapes from this vineyard were harvested on 18th March.

10-15% of the grapes are fermented as whole bunches. 5% of Riesling, from the same block and of the same vine age as the Shiraz is added to the blend, giving the wine its stylistic consistency. The wine is aged sur lie for the full maturation period in 100% new French oak. This builds the structure and mouthfeel of the final wine.

This wine is made using 95% Shiraz, 5% Riesling.

Nice deep warm crimson tones. A definite cool site quiet pepper / spice nose. Not overly assertive at this stage but tight knit and dark chocolate fruits. The finishing post ferment maturation of 15 months in 100% new French oak is seamless. It is there but doesn’t stand out as a separate component. The palate is poised, more mid weight than blockbuster but with real density and roundness.

ABV = 14.5%.

£41.15

Clarendon Hills Blewitt Springs Grenache, McLaren Vale 2005 (1x75cl)

Winemaking: Low yielding, dry grown vines planted in 1920 are hand picked and a wild yeast fermentation is cultured thereafter. Typically ferments run for a few days and all pressings are the returned to the barrel and bottled onsite without fining or filtration.

Maturation: 18 months, within a hierarchy of 1-5 year old tight-grained, first-class French oak barriques that are specially produced for Clarendon Hills. Racking occurs as required. Each barrique is individually examined repetitively to gauge the site’s expression and organic evolution.

Nose: Lifted and layered. The evolving nose reveals at first, fresh forest berries with a mixture of softly perfumed rose petal aromas, whose mixture of Turkish delight and strawberries and cream is truly attention grabbing. On decant, a vineyard-unique salty/brine character begins to nuance with subtle anise and earthy notes to create an entirely more dramatic and sophisticated expression. An entirely hedonistic perfume whose suggestion of effortless power and wealth becomes apparent with time.

Palate: Layers of playful cherry, boysenberry and red currant fruit play throughout a long, orchestral finish. The extremely fine boned, talcum like extract presents itself as it appears to ‘tap the brakes’ across the mid-palate before finishing across a long, creamy finish. Mouth-watering, bright natural acidity highlights the exquisite fruit quality whose balance of savoury, raw fruit like, character is neither sugary or jamy. Its just sweet.

Clarendon Hills state, of their current 2013 Blewitt Springs, "The remarkably concealed yet omnipresent super fine tannin will safely sustain this gorgeous 95-year-old, single-vineyard example for another decade" (ie from 2018). The 2005 vintage in McLaren Vale was incredibly strong (and its ageworthiness greater still). See the Parker vintage guide here (click blue link below) which rates 2005 as the best McLaren/Barossa year of the 40 listed there and 'ready to drink'.

South Australia vintages, Parker

... so, in 2018, this sits very well within a similar 15-year, quality drinking window.

We would make the point that this is an aged New World Grenache: its aged flavours are distinct and not for everyone, but this is a bottle very much in condition for those that appreciate aged Grenache, and, at that, one of the greats of the New World. We greatly recommend decanting and a few hours of breathing. 

ABV = 14.5%.

£36.00 £27.00

Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz 2017 (1x75cl)

The 2016 vintage was awarded 92 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their February 2018 edition article 30 Great New World Buys under £30 (see blue link below).

Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz 2016 - Feb 2018 Decanter review

The 2016 was also awarded 89 points and Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their July 2018 edition panel review of Australian Shiraz (see blue link below)

Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz 2016 - July 2018 Decanter review

Dr John Kirk founded Clonakilla vineyard at Murrumbateman, 40 kilometres north of Canberra, in 1971 after his scientific curiosity led him to question why vines were not being grown in this area. His research showed that the soil and climate seemed suited to certain varieties. Clonakilla means 'meadow of the church' and is the name of Dr Kirk's grandfather's farm in County Clare, Ireland. In 1997 Tim Kirk, the fourth of John's six sons, took over responsibility for winemaking. Today, Clonakilla is recognised as one of the leading estates in Australia. Tim was named Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year in 2013.

The grapes for this Shiraz were selected from four vineyards in the Hilltops district around Young in New South Wales, the Canberra District’s closest neighbouring wine region. The altitude is marginally lower than Canberra so the grapes tend to be harvested around two weeks before those grown on the estate. Soils are deep red loam over light clay, giving distinctive blackberry and blackcurrant notes to the wine.

Winter rains set up an ideal growing season which sustained the fruit through a warm summer and classic cool climate ripening period. Harvest took place in March 2017.

The majority of grapes were destemmed, with a small portion of bunches left intact. Separate batches were fermented in open-top vessels of various sizes, some containing up to 20% whole bunches to add complexity and texture. The wine spent 2-3 weeks on skins before being pressed to barrel. The wine was matured for 11 months in Allier oak barriques and puncheons, 15% of which were new; the remaining barrels varying from 2-5 years old. The wine was racked once during its maturation in oak, blended in November and bottled in late February the following year.

This wine is 100% Shiraz.

The wine has signature 'Hilltops' ripe, dark fruit flavours with a deep, concentrated cherry and blackberry character. It has fine-grained tannins and a racy acidity, which allow it to be enjoyed now but also be aged for up to 10 years.

ABV = 14.0%.

£21.55

Clonakilla Shiraz/Viognier 2016 (1x75cl)

Dr John Kirk founded Clonakilla vineyard at Murrumbateman, 40 kilometres north of Canberra, in 1971 after his scientific curiosity led him to question why vines were not being grown in this area. His research showed that the soil and climate seemed suited to certain varieties. Clonakilla means 'meadow of the church' and is the name of Dr Kirk's grandfather's farm in County Clare, Ireland. In 1997 Tim Kirk, the fourth of John's six sons, took over responsibility for winemaking. Today, Clonakilla is recognised as one of the leading estates in Australia. Tim was named Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year in 2013.

The fruit comes from two adjacent, family-owned vineyards just outside the village of Murrumbateman in the cool Southern Tablelands of New South Wales. Murrumbateman's elevation is 600 metres above sea level. 'Canberra District' is the official geographical indicator for the winegrowing district around Canberra, Australia's capital city. 

The 2016 growing season saw above average rainfall late in the winter, followed by more in early spring, increasing soil moisture. This, combined with warmer than average October temperatures, resulted in higher than normal vigour. The growing period was milder, which favoured the earlier ripening varieties. Overall, it was a long and cool vintage which resulted in leaner, more elegant wines with excellent complexity.

30% whole bunches were used in the ferments with the remaining fruit destemmed and crushed before being added to the fermentation tanks. All parcels were fermented with natural yeast for a period of 18 – 21 days on skins. The wine was aged for 12 months in one third new French barriques from Taransaud, Francois Freres, Mercurey and Sirugue. 5% of the Shiraz was co-fermented with the Viognier.

94% Syrah/Shiraz, 6% Viognier.

On the nose, this wine is intensely aromatic from fine musky florals to white pepper, with an incredibly exuberant explosion of fruit, boysenberry, raspberry, cherries and plums. On the palate, there is ripe red cherry, raspberry and red plum flavour, chocolate and a dusting of white pepper.

99 points, jamessuckling.com, Nick Stock, 14 Apr 16 “Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier is now every bit as important to the story of great Australian wine as Henschke Hill of Grace and Penfolds Grange”.

98 points, James Halliday's 2017 Wine Companion, James Halliday, 03 Aug 16 "Tim Kirk is continuing to refine and explore the myriad of possibilities from this great site. Increasingly turning to higher proportions of whole bunches in the fermentations, he is getting greater and greater detail in his flagship wine. It is a thinker's wine, it stops you, draws you in and captivates. Incredibly detailed and floral-scented, the sumptuous and finely poised palate is a masterpiece".

ABV = 14.0%.

£79.00

Clonakilla Shiraz/Viognier 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 98 points and Exceptional status by Decanter in their November 2019 edition expert tasting (by Matthew Jukes) of Australian Premium Shiraz (see blue link below).

Clonakilla Shiraz/Viognier 2017 - November 2019 Decanter review

Dr John Kirk founded Clonakilla vineyard at Murrumbateman, 40 kilometres north of Canberra, in 1971 after his scientific curiosity led him to question why vines were not being grown in this area. His research showed that the soil and climate seemed suited to certain varieties. Clonakilla means 'meadow of the church' and is the name of Dr Kirk's grandfather's farm in County Clare, Ireland. In 1997 Tim Kirk, the fourth of John's six sons, took over responsibility for winemaking. Today, Clonakilla is recognised as one of the leading estates in Australia. Tim was named Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year in 2013.

The fruit comes from two adjacent, family-owned vineyards just outside the village of Murrumbateman in the cool Southern Tablelands of New South Wales. Murrumbateman's elevation is 600 metres above sea level. 'Canberra District' is the official geographical indicator for the winegrowing district around Canberra, Australia's capital city. 

30% whole bunches were used in the ferments with the remaining fruit destemmed and crushed before being added to the fermentation tanks. All parcels were fermented with natural yeast for a period of 18 – 21 days on skins. The wine was aged for 12 months in one third new French barriques from Taransaud, Francois Freres, Mercurey and Sirugue. 5% of the Shiraz was co-fermented with the Viognier.

On the nose, this wine is intensely aromatic from fine musky florals to white pepper, with an incredibly exuberant explosion of fruit, boysenberry, raspberry, cherries and plums. On the palate, there is ripe red cherry, raspberry and red plum flavour, chocolate and a dusting of white pepper.

99 points, jamessuckling.com, Nick Stock, 14 Apr 16 “Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier is now every bit as important to the story of great Australian wine as Henschke Hill of Grace and Penfolds Grange”.

98 points, James Halliday's 2017 Wine Companion, James Halliday, 03 Aug 16 "Tim Kirk is continuing to refine and explore the myriad of possibilities from this great site. Increasingly turning to higher proportions of whole bunches in the fermentations, he is getting greater and greater detail in his flagship wine. It is a thinker's wine, it stops you, draws you in and captivates. Incredibly detailed and floral-scented, the sumptuous and finely poised palate is a masterpiece".

£80.50

Cullen Mangan East Block 2014 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter (www.decanter.com) in their January 2019 review of Festive Wines (see blue link below).

Cullen Mangan East Block 2014 - January 2019 Decanter review

Cullen Wines is a certified biodynamic, carbon neutral and naturally powered estate, with their philosophy summed up in three simple words; ‘Quality, Integrity and Sustainability’. It is one of the oldest and most awarded family wineries in Wilyabrup, in Western Australia’s famous Margaret River region. First established in 1971 by Dr Kevin and Diana Cullen and now run by their daughter Vanya, the winery has built an outstanding reputation for fine certified biodynamic wines that receive critical national and international acclaim. All wines produced are sourced from grapes grown on the Cullen and adjoining Mangan Estates. Both are certified biodynamic, to allow the soil to be nurtured and the wines to reflect their sense of place.

The Mangan vineyard is dry farmed and maintained using a biodynamic approach to viticulture. Soils are old, granite and gravely sandy loam, overlaying lateric subsoils. The vineyard is located adjacent to the Cullen vineyard in Wilyabrup. The vines are cane and spur pruned.

The growing season was excellent with perfectly timed rainfall – good spring rains and none during the harvest season. Another great vintage with small yields producing concentrated, richer wines with plenty of character.

The grapes were hand harvested from the prime sections of the eastern blocks of the Mangan vineyard. Fruit was then destemmed and vinified with the emphasis on accentuating the fruit character of the grapes. It was naturally fermented, basket pressed and then matured for 17 months in seasoned French oak.

72% Petit Verdot, 28% Malbec.

Vibrant deep purple, with violet floral notes complemented by dark fruit and spicy notes. On the palate this wine is structured and dense with plums, bitter chocolate and a hint of sweet spice. Fantastic refined tannins carrying a very long finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£27.45
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