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The 1997 Astralis Syrah is the most elegant of this quartet. It reveals a similar meaty, bacon fat, blackberry, and black currant-scented nose with hints of earth and pepper in the background. Not as dense as either the 1996 or 1998, it is a more feminine, stylish effort offering a rich, layered texture as well as sweet tannins. It is 1-3 years away from full maturity, and probably will not last as long as the more blockbuster-styled efforts of 1996 and 1998.
“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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