Clonakilla 'Hilltops' Shiraz 2019
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The Clonakilla ‘Hilltops’ Shiraz 2019 is Crimson in colour, medium in body and vibrant all round. Dark fruit flavours dominate the palate with with a concentration of raspberry and cherry characteristics. Lightly spiced, with fine tannins and vibrant acidity.
When one thinks of Canberra, it’s possible that what first comes to mind is Australia’s Parliament House, or possibly even Lake Burley Griffin. Yet the region has become just as well known for its wines as its politics – even if the majority of the wineries aren’t actually located within the Australian Capital Territory.
History of Clonakilla
Clonakilla, established in 1971 by winemaker John Kirk, is perhaps Canberra’s most famous winery, located 30 minutes from the city centre. John and family emigrated from the UK in the late 1960s, and he began working at the CSIRO Division of Plant Industry, due to his background in biochemistry and physics. Their first vintage didn’t occur until 1976, due to difficulties with drought and irrigation.
The wines produced were a riesling/sauvignon blanc, as well as a cabernet shiraz, a style synonymous with Australia. In 1991, John’s son Tim visited the northern Rhȏne Valley, where the blending of the red grape shiraz/syrah with the white grape viognier is common, producing wines with intoxicating aromas.
The Clonakilla shiraz viognier quickly gained immense popularity, receiving plaudits from scores of wine critics and judges, helping to show just what was possible in the Canberra wine region- to this day it is still classed as Australia’s best example of this blend. Despite having no formal winemaking education (only what his father taught him), in 2013 Tim was named Gourmet Traveller Wines’ Winemaker of the Year.
Tim is now the chief winemaker and CEO at Clonakilla, though John can still be seen pottering around the vineyard with a pair of secateurs. Clonakilla produce a range of wines at different price points, from the cheaper sauvignon blanc semillon to magnums (yes, 1.5L!) of shiraz viognier. Many of the wines’ names hark back to the Kirks’ origins in Ireland, such as o’Riada, Ballinderry and Ceoltóiri (pronounced ‘keel-toy-ree’, meaning ‘musicians’).
For more information on Clonakilla and their wines visit their website here.
New South Wales is an Australian wine powerhouse, accounting for almost a third of Australia’s output. The state has 16 wine regions, resulting in a huge amount of diversity in the terroir and climate and allowing for a range of varieties to be grown, each with their own distinctive trademark flavours. Although NSW is Australia’s second largest wine producing state, it’s also the most populated state, resulting in more wine being consumed than produced.
If you’re interested in New South Wales Wine find more information here.
New South Wales Wines – White Wine
If you’re seeking a stunning white wine, that search may just end here. With over half of the wine produced in NSW being white grape varieties, it would be hard not to find something palate pleasing. The most famed variety is Sémillon, with a particular focus on produce from the Hunter Valley – the country’s oldest continuous wine region and home to over 150 premium wine producers. An honourable mention goes out to the Rieslings and Chardonnays that flow from the state’s regions.
Speaking of Chardonnay, not only was NSW the state where the first Australian Chardonnay was planted, it’s also the country’s oldest wine region. The grapes were brought over on the first fleet to arrive in the country and planted in Sydney Cove in 1788. Since then, the number of wineries has exploded to over 485, boasting over 330 cellar doors and over 40,000 hectares under vine.