Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 2017
- Medium bodied
- Canberra District
“Clonakilla at its best.”
These are the words Halliday used to sign off his review of this vintage, of what’s considered beyond doubt one of our country’s greatest reds. He follows with: “Tim Kirk nails it when he writes of a line of pure spice running through the bouquet and palate - I would simply add ‘and the aftertaste’ because this has superb length and texture, replete with red berry flavours.”
Now, if you’re like us, $100 is still a bit of money for vino. But when you’re looking over Clonakilla’s shoulder at its international competitors (mostly fancy Côte-Rôtie) up at a few hundred a bottle, it’s incredible value.
2017 for Tim Kirk was a cool and classic year, and the result, as Tyson Stelzer says, is “gloriously fragrant and elegant” and “set to go down as a long-lived Clonakilla.”
My youngest, most rambunctious son was born in 2017. I’ll be buying some of this now, as one of the most irrefutable investments in his future possible. If he doesn’t share all six bottles with me, he’s disowned though.
Jokes. He doesn’t even know about them yet, and I might change my mind. And once it’s in the cellar, it’s a sunk cost. Danger, Will Robinson.
Only time will tell if my patience is a virtue... or temptation wins the day. Lucky there are six.
James Halliday: “A co-fermented 94/6% blend. The hue is good, although not deep - pinotish. Tim Kirk nails it when he writes of a line of pure spice running through the bouquet and palate - I would simply add ‘and the aftertaste’ because this has superb length and texture, replete with red berry flavours. Clonakilla at its best.”
Tyson Stelzer: “A gloriously fragrant and elegant Clonakilla is the blessing of a classic cool year, brimming with rose petal and pot pourri. A delightful core of morello cherry and wild strawberry fruit glides seamlessly through a lingering trail of powder-fine tannins. It’s set to go down as a long-lived Clonakilla. Drink 2022-2037.”
Campbell Mattinson: “Australian Grand Cru Shiraz. It has both lightness and power; it has wooden racks of spice set into deep cupboards of black cherry; it has anise; it has forest berries, it has florals and it has meat, though all of it sits in the one, neat, tidy room. Tannin is so fine and so bright with spice that it sits like gold thread in an evening gown. It’s a wine of shadows and a wine of light; of shadow and of joy. Pour a glass and behold its beauty, for it is rich in that.”
Nick Stock: “The palate is immaculately detailed, long and silky with flavours of blackberries, red cherries, red plums, dark cherries and dark chocolate. The palate is delivered with steady elegance and power, showing unwavering build and a seemingly never-ending trail of fresh and spicy fruit flavours. With the most immaculate tannins, too. The real soul of this wine shines through in this perfectly simpatico vintage. Fascinating to drink now, but it is best to give it some time. Try around 2025.”
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It’s cool, we get it, you want to know absolutely everything about this wine. Well here you go, go nuts.
- Canberra District
- Alcohol by Vol.
- Bottle Vol
- Blend Info
- 94% Shiraz, 6% Viognier
- Serving Temp.
From the producer
Classically medium bodied with a line of pure spice running through rose garden and ripe red berry aromatics.
The 2017 vintage was built on the wettest winter and early spring that any of us can remember. The early rain turned out to be a blessing, given the warm and generally dry summer that followed. After the heat of 2016 the more moderate conditions in 2017 made for an unhurried, steady ripening with layers of aroma and texture being built up along the way. In other words, a typical cool-climate year.
All the way from the green pastures of Ireland, the Kirk family built the legendary Clonakilla winery literally brick by brick. In Murrumbateman, just north of Canberra, John Kirk first planted vines in 1971 as a weekend hobbyist. Some years later, John’s hobby has become one of Australia’s most iconic wineries. Son Tim is now the face of this venture who took inspiration from the great wines of the Northern Rhône and ran with it. Tim has not only been instrumental in elevating Clonakilla, but the evolution of Australian shiraz itself. Fittingly, Tim was awarded the coveted Australian Winemaker of The Year award in 2013, another accolade in a long line of awards and praise, solidifying Clonakilla among Australia’s greatest wineries and certainly the history books.
The rules are there ain’t no rules, but here are some foods we think will work pretty well with this wine...
- olive oil
- 6 rashers higher-welfare dry-cured smoked streaky bacon , sliced 1cm thick
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary , leaves picked and finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic , peeled and finely sliced
- 1 onion , peeled and finely chopped
- 500 g quality British beef mince
- 200 ml red wine
- 1 x 280 g jar of sun-dried tomatoes
- 2 x 400 g tins of plum tomatoes
- 500 g dried spaghetti
- Parmesan cheese
- Preheat your oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4. Put a casserole pan on a medium heat, add a splash of olive oil then cook the bacon, rosemary, garlic and onion for about 5 minutes, stirring now and then, until soft. Add the mince and break apart any lumps with a wooden spoon. Let it cook for a couple of minutes until starting to brown then pour in the red wine.
- Let that bubble away while you drain and blitz the sun-dried tomatoes in a food processor. Add them to the mince with the tinned tomatoes. Stir well and break the plum tomatoes apart a little. Cover with a lid then cook in the hot oven for 1 hour. Remove the lid after 30 minutes, and if it looks a little dry, add a splash of water to help it along.
- About 10 minutes before the time is up, cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions. Drain, reserving a mugful of cooking water, then return the spaghetti to the hot pan with a few spoons of Bolognese, a good grating of Parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Mix it about to coat the spaghetti and to stop it becoming claggy, loosening with a splash of cooking water if needed. Divide the spaghetti between your plates or bowls, add a good spoonful of Bolognese to each one then shave over a little Parmesan before serving.