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It has been a remarkable journey for Clonakilla. When John Kirk planted the first vines in 1971 he had no idea that his vineyard would one day be celebrated as one of the best in the country. Along the way there have been trials and tribulations as well as moments of unprecendented success. Over time something important has become clear: Murrumbateman and Shiraz are one of those rare combinations in the world of wine that can produce something truly exciting.

From five vineyards in Young, largely 1654 and PT23 clones, 2-3 days cold soak, mostly open-fermented with pneumatic pigeage, some whole bunches included, cultured yeast, 5-8 days post-ferment maceration, matured in French oak (15-20% new) for 11 months. The usual (if that be the right word) Clonakilla signature of perfectly balanced fruit, tannins and oak, always complex yet always with great mouthfeel, black fruits to the fore, with a gentle sprinkle of spice and pepper. Rating: 94 Points & Special Value Star; James Halliday; Wine Companion

Over time it has established a reputation as one of the most reliable go-to wines on the Australian wine landscape. I’ve become less of a fan of Hilltops shiraz over the years – with exceptions of course – but this wine is almost always a hit. It’s a little bit arms and legs at present but it’s getting there. Strings of tannin, herb notes, juicy stone fruit characters and assorted spices/peppers are all attractive in themselves, but aren’t yet pulling properly together. They will do. Indeed if anything this release is more complex than usual; more Clonakilla in a way. The fruit comes across as fresh, the cherried characters at the blacker end of the spectrum, the tannin fine and a little chalky. It’s going to turn out very well. Even another 12 months in bottle will do it a lot of good. Rating: 93 Points; Campbell Mattinson; The Wine Front



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