Clonakilla Shiraz/Viognier 2021


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“I’ve been chipping away at a bottle of this 2021 Shiraz Viognier all week of a nighttime, and a very interesting and impressive trend has emerged. Despite the wine in the glass being delicate, pristine and almost a little nervous (a product of the cool La Niña year that was responsible for over 1,000 millimeters of rain, when the average is only 630 millimeters), over the course of a couple of days at first, it opened up beautifully, the major impact being on the texture, which has silked right out and has brought all components of the wine into harmony. Onto day three and four, the wine has started to indicate little hints of the exotic spice, cocoa nib and roasted meat rind that it picks up in old age, yet it has not fallen to the ravages of oxygen. This evolution tells me everything I need and want to know about its quality and ageability. So, what’s it like? It has notes of rose petals, raspberry leaf tea, brine, licorice root, redcurrant, tobacco leaf and even a hint of orange rind/bergamot. The palate is shaped by very fine tannins that cascade across the mouth, leaving a trail of cocoa nib, clove bud and again with the orange zest/bergamot suggestion. Such a beautiful wine in youth, it’s no wonder much of it won’t make its first birthday! As seems to be the ongoing trend, this has 6% Viognier inclusion and is lighter in alcohol this year, at 13.2%. Highly collectable. Drink: 2022-2047. 97 points

Clonakilla is an iconic producer in Australia, from a region that is a little off the beaten track. Murrumbateman, in the Canberra District, is a special place that is known for powerful, detailed Shiraz wines, perhaps off the back of the success of Clonakilla. The Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier wines on release are pretty, detailed, fine and persistent, with a structural clarity in the mouth that pins them to the mast and says, “I am Clonakilla.” Their legend has been built on the shoulders of the old wines of the past, and they have proven their ability to repay decades of careful cellaring. Thankfully, the advent of the Stelvin closure will ensure the wines remain pristine for a long time to come. Special wines, collectable wines.”

Erin Larkin, Wine Advocate (10/22)