Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier 2019
The Shiraz Viognier is Clonakilla's flagship, a careful selection of the best of the Shiraz Viognier parcels we craft each year from our Murrumbateman vineyard. Deeply aromatic, opulent and powerfully ripe. Plush tannins and layers of dark fruit deliver a robust palate and serious cellaring potential.
Enjoy Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier with roasted chicken and sauteed mushrooms.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Clonakilla’s Shiraz-Viognier was one of the first of its kind, ushering in a new era of more delicately aromatic and succulent Shiraz Down Under. It remains a benchmark of the style. The color of cherry juice, it’s beautifully perfumed, with aromas of rose petals and white pepper atop earthier, meatier notes. Warm stone undertones back fresh squeezed raspberry, cherry and cranberry juice. In the mouth there’s a succulence to the brambly fruit that comes like the pop of a fresh red berry in the mouth. Crunchy acidity and the raspy power of sappy, fine tannins add structure and complexity. This is finely crafted and distinctly cool climate Aussie wine that drinks well now.
The 2019 Shiraz Viognier is from a low-yielding (down around 15% to 20%), warm and dry year with some well-timed summer rain that allowed the vines to produce bright, lively fruit. The warm year brought higher alcohol with it (14.6% alcohol as opposed to the 13.2% of 2021), but the same 6% Viognier inclusion remains. The wine was matured for 18 months in French oak. Where the 2021 is bright, delicate and lacy, this 2019 is denser, muscular and layered with dark, brooding, exotic spices, cocoa nib, licorice root, roasted meat rind and tobacco leaf. In the mouth, the tannins are the most pertinent feature: still powdery fine and shapely, earthy (black) and savory. At no point does any feature of the wine break ranks. There are no strays, no breakaways; this is seamless and contained from all angles. It is an astounding wine and proof that very quickly after release these wines morph into shades of what they will become in older age. Rating: 95+
John Kirk planted his vineyard in 1971, 25 miles north of Australia’s capital city of Canberra. The vines, growing on sandy clay loam over decomposed granite, were the first in the region. Later, his son Tim traveled to Côte Rôtie and came back with the idea of cofermenting a small amount of viognier with his 1992 shiraz. The wine quickly attained legendary status in Australia, and this 2019 will quickly make it clear how the site is graced. This is a fragrant, subtle and welcoming wine, a shiraz of elegance, polish and textural complexity. The dark fruit is infused with energy, so it feels juicy without weight, layering scents of fenugreek, curry, violets and mushrooms over the cool tones of the fruit. The wine’s stamina shows as it keeps gaining supple depth with each passing day.
Effusive, polished and elegant, showing plush flavors of blood orange, raspberry and blueberry at the core, with details of Earl Grey tea, cumin, cloves and white pepper that linger on the long, expressive finish, where the tannins firm up.
Clonakilla was established in 1971 by John Kirk, a Canberra based research scientist. Of Irish descent, John came to Australia with his young family in 1968 to work with the CSIRO Division of Plant Industry. To his surprise despite the suitability of the environment their was no wine industry in there cool southern table lands of NSW around Canberra. To remedy this situation, in 1971 he bought a 44 acre farm near the village of Murrumbateman in New South Wales, 40 kilometres north of Canberra. The soil consisted of sandy clay loams over a friable clay subsoil and, with a climate not dissimilar to the Bordeaux region and Northern Rhone valley in France, he held high hopes for its wine producing potential. He proceeded to plant 1.2 acres each of Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling. He named the property Clonakilla (‘meadow of the church’) after his grandfather’s farm in County Clare.
A picturesque region brimming with energetic producers, Canberra’s boutique wineries are set among a backdrop of the Snowy Mountains. Similar to its northern neighbors of Hilltops and Orange, Canberra has an extreme continental climate with a hot, dry growing season and cold winters. The region produces outstanding Riesling, Chardonnay, Shiraz and Pinot Noir and is under a new wave of innovative young winemakers unafraid to explore alternative varieties.
With bold fruit flavors and accents of sweet spice, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre form the base of the classic Rhône Red Blend, while Carignan, Cinsault and Counoise often come in to play. Though they originated from France’s southern Rhône Valley, with some creative interpretation, Rhône blends have also become popular in other countries. Somm Secret—Putting their own local spin on the Rhône Red Blend, those from Priorat often include Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In California, it is not uncommon to see Petite Sirah make an appearance.