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Clonakilla, Shiraz Viognier 2017
Syrah 94%, Viognier 6%
New South Wales
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. It is medium-bodied with a long, spicy finish.
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 French oak, of which 30% was new with the remainder in combination of one, two and three-year old barrels from Taransaud, Francois Freres, Mercurey and Sirugue.
Clonakilla is one of the leading estates in Australia, with an enviable reputation for Shiraz/Viognier. Clonakilla means �meadow of the church� in Gaelic and is the name of the founder�s grandfather�s farm in County Clare, Ireland. In 1971, Dr John Kirk planted the Clonakilla vineyard at Murrumbateman, 40 kilometres north of Canberra, 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. In 1991, Tim Kirk, the fourth of John�s six sons, travelled to the Rh�ne Valley. There he tasted a number of inspirational wines, including Marcel Guigal�s single vineyard blends. Inspired by these C�te-R�tie wines, he began including a small amount of Viognier in the Clonakilla Shiraz from 1992. Tim took over full responsibility for winemaking at the 12 hectare family farm in 1997. Clonakilla now produces about 12,000 cases per year, which sell out year after year. In recognition of his achievements, Tim was named Gourmet Wine Traveller Winemaker of the Year in 2013. Viognier was first made by Tim in 1998, and this sophisticated, barrel-fermented style shows pear, apricot and ginger characters. The Canberra District Riesling is a refined, steely wine with perfectly balanced acidity, which will be very long lived. The 'Hilltops' Shiraz, made from fruit bought in from other growers, is the baby brother of the iconic Canberra District Shiraz/Viognier. The former is forward and accessible and superbly balanced, while the latter, with its lifted aromas of red berries, cracked pepper and spice, is the standard bearer for the cool climate brigade in Australia.