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.
Sean O’Riada is one of the heroes of modern Ireland. A talented musician and composer, he is credited with taking traditional Irish music out of the kitchens and pubs of Ireland and putting it on the concert stages of the world. He died, prematurely, in 1971, the year Clonakilla was established by John Kirk. He was John’s cousin.
O’Riada was always the one ‘we’ missed at the Canberra Regional Wine Show, in my tenure there. Savoury, firm tannin, charming rusticity, a distinct style. This one hits the mark too. So savoury, but fresh too, and all that hazelnut and clove seems very fruit derived, with layers of spice, game meat and faint herbal inflection. Texture is bright, crisp almost but for the slinky, roughed up but silky tannins. Succulence to finish, a kiss of ripe fruit and the spice trails long away. Such a beautiful wine. Wow stuff. Tasted: May 2021 Alcohol: 13%; Price: $45; Closure: Screwcap; Drink: 2022-2035+; Rated: 95 Points; Mike Bennie; The Wine Front
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