At the top of the pyramid is the 2005 Syrah Astralis Vineyard. It is sourced from a vineyard planted in 1920 and is one of the Syrah cuvees in which 100% new oak is utilized (along with Brookman, Hickinbotham, and Piggott Range). It delivers an ethereal bouquet of smoky oak, violets, espresso, black pepper, blueberry, and blackberry liqueur. Densely packed and tightly wound, all it needs is time. The wine is totally harmonious, impeccably balanced, and exceptionally long. When it fully unwinds, even my high rating will appear conservative. Its only competition comes from the likes of Guigal, Chapoutier, Chave, Krankl, and Ringland.
Supple, graceful and pointedly focused, offering a whoosh of blackberry, cherry, dusky spice and clotted cream character that zings across the palate, picking up hints of espresso and mineral as the finish rockets on and on. Impressive for its deceptive power and harmony. Syrah. Best from 2010 through 2020. 500 cases imported.
“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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