Other than Clarendon Hills’ flagship Astralis Syrah, the only single vineyard Syrah we tasted was the 1998 Syrah Brookman Vineyard, which exhibits abundant aromas of roasted meats, blackberries, earth, and pepper as well as hints of charcoal and smoke. This full-bodied, rich Syrah is in no danger of falling apart, and will easily last another decade. The mini-vertical of Astralis covered four of the older vintages I have in my cellar. All of these wines performed fabulously well, and, as suggested by their early reviews, are wines that will take at least 10-15 years to hit their peak, and should easily last for 2-3 decades or more.
“To my taste, no one makes better Old Vine Grenache in Australia than Roman Bratasiuk, and I doubt anyone in California can compete with him. These immense, super-concentrated, muscular wines appear to mirror the personality and stature of proprietor/winemaker Roman Bratasiuk. Clarendon Hills produces some of my favorite Australian wines and readers looking for flavor, personality, and pleasure should seek out these limited production gems.”
Established in 1990 in McLaren Vale, South Australia, Clarendon Hills was one of the first estates in the country to bottle single-vineyard expressions of wine. Founded by Ukrainian immigrant Roman Bratasiuk, the winery was created as a way for him to demonstrate his passion for French wine. Most of the highly specialized vineyards are located at higher elevations and have mostly older vines. To continue with the Francophile theme, Roman developed a cru-like designation for the wines according to their quality. Clarendon Hills wines are made from low-yielding wines that Robert Parker regularly rates at 95+ points.
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