The 2001 Syrah Astralis Vineyard may be just as compelling as the 2002. Tighter because of being in the bottle, it is an extraordinary effort that offers the essence of graphite, blackberry liqueur, espresso, and acacia flowers, all combining into an olfactory smorgasbord for the senses. Sensationally concentrated, with sweet tannin, but neither weighty nor over the top as might be expected for a wine of such extreme richness, it is an extraordinarily well-delineated Syrah that should hit its prime in 10-12 years, and last for 30-40. Hail Caesar ... I mean Roman!
“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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