I tasted the 2010 Brookman Merlot back in 2020. I’m a huge fan of this winery so when I see it- I buy it. This version is inky and opaque in the glass. On the nose- rich plum compote, cassis and singed alder. The palate is rich, mouth-coating and delicious. Layers of plum, blackberry, charred oak and coffee hit me. There is no room for the tannins to make themselves known, it’s a fruit driven explosion. They appear on the midpalate but are very well ingrained. The dark fruit theme continues and now I get the structure- the grip is medium in intensity and there is a nice balanced acidic component. The finish is where the acidity takes over, very juicy but I still get good primal fruit. This wine is young at 9 years, it will hopefully develop some tertiary notes and the tannins should meld in the next few years. Drink till 2030 with rich steaks, heavy sauces or a big bowl of Pasta. 92 points from me and for $25 it’s a home run with 5 stars. Salut….
I love this winery, they make very Old World style Syrah in Australia that is very rich, extracted but not jammy. This one happens to be a younger version of the 2006 Syrah.
It’s very inky and opaque in the glass. The nose is brooding, and the 14.5% alcohol is evident. Black plums, dark fruit melange and spicy oak are all present. With a good deal more swirling I get violets, Boysenberry and a charred note. On the palate it is very juicy right off the bat. Figs, blackberry and espresso hit my palate alongside some slightly green tannins and a nice acidic cut. The mid palate is quite focused on that tartness alongside a blueberry meets plum note. Tannins take a step back while the acidity plays lead. The finish is long, mouthwatering and modestly dry. Black fruits dominate the back end with some Mocha, licorice and that burnt wood note. I think I preferred the 2006, but this is a very tasty wine that I feel is acid dominated and slightly off balance. Drink till 2026. For $100, it’s quite pricy which gets 92 points and 4 stars from me. Salut….
A slightly murky purple in the glass, which I find normal for this winery and their older vintages. The nose is interesting, if not a touch gamy. Ripe plums, violets, blackberry ganache and bacon fat. On the palate it’s much more ‘normal’. Mature purple fruits, black cherry kirsch, oak and stewed plum. I also get some smoky wood notes that carry me into the mid palate where I’m greeted by some tame tannins that just add a nice touch of dryness to the gums. More black fruits and tobacco. The finish is quite dry but not astringent. The fruit fades quickly and the wine does show a balance of acidity. It’s all black tea, dry gums and some blackberries. Overall it’s tasty but lacks technical merit. At 10 years of aging it should be showing stronger, perhaps this vintage peaked early. I’m a huge fan of this winery, this being the first Merlot I have tried from them. It’s a bit of a disappoint but still gets 90 points from me. I was hoping for a showstopper. Drink till 2025. $28 and 3 stars. Salut….
It was three years ago that I reviewed the 2006 Piggott Range Syrah from Clarendon Hills. I was blown away and am continuing to enjoy their wines. I bought a bunch of different wines from the winery and have been watching their evolution for some time now.
This time around this wine still shows a nearly inky black color, with no signs of aging. On the nose I get -“Oh my”. Seriously, my first whiff was heavenly. Thick plums, blackberry syrup and a touch of oak. It’s making my mouth water before I have even tasted it.
On the first taste- super smooth introduction to some delightful plums, cassis and blackberry pie. This wine is powerful, yet not jammy. I have always said that Clarendon Hills does Aussie wines in a French style, hence the name Syrah versus Shiraz on the label. The latter from Downunda usually indicates a big jammy thing. The Syrah style is more elegant, less in your face, but they can still be powerful wines- like this one. The extraction is near perfect here with lots of fruit, but not overly done. The mid palate is more cassis but with a touch of enticing heat popping up. The finish is a continuation of the black fruits with a touch of tannins. This wine is 11 years young and shows no sign of letting up. The transformation has begun and there are tertiary flavors starting to evolve. This wine has the backbone and structure to last a fair while, probably till 2030 in my mind. I’m serving it up with Filet Mignons and grilled leeks plus a creamed Kale dish. It would certainly rock a leg of lamb grilled to a pink center with a charred edge. I think this wine has improved and I am giving it 95 points, my previous tasting being so different! The pros range this one from 92-98, an amazing score. It’s currently running $150, which is an astronomical price, but it is a holiday weekend and I am grilling Filets! 5 stars because this wine is just so awesome. Salut….
As you may know I am a huge fan of the Clarendon Hills winery. They make smooth, polished, refined wines that ooze class and refinement. This one was no exception to the formula. Starting with pencil lead, blueberry and oregano on the nose followed by a fresh and bright intro with young tannins that coat the mouth. Blueberry, plum and a dash of pepper make for interesting notes on the palate while star anise on the finish really pops out. This is a very young wine that has not filled out yet. 2017-2025 would be a better window unless you like a tannic monster for a juicy steak. 92 points now but the potential to go up in my opinion. This wine is extracted and precise. Priced originaly at $75, it’s most likely a Sunday roast wine rather than an everyday drinker. 4 stars. Salut….
Ps. I noticed that it had a double back label. Someone has very precisely laid the label on top of the original. I wonder if that was a labeling issue or if they needed to change it for import reasons. I tried to slice it off but the sticker merely tore in my hands, intriguing.
Yet another tremendous effort from Clarendon Hills that had me refilling my glass quicker than usual. I planned a rather extravagant night last weekend before I left town. This bottle was the opener, going up against some Hanger Steaks, a piece of Flat Iron Beef and some peppercorn sirloins. The match was perfect.
Purple jam and tar sprung out of the blackish-purple glass that really intrigued me. The Clarendons are usually slightly restrained and refined, not bombastic. More on this later… A plum core with blackberry and spice box introduced me to the wine where I then got some oak and leather notes with bramble on the mid palate. Well masked 14.5% alcohol is a becoming a regular feature of this winery. I made note of the smoothness with a racing acidity and well integrated tannins. This particular cuvee has full extraction but is restrained in style. The winemaker has really worked these grapes to achieve depth and character with tremendous complexity yet still sticking to their Rhone style of making Aussie Shiraz. I gave it 93 points which aligns with the pro’s and would drink this wine between 2014-2018 with no problem. Pricey at $70 or so bucks it will make you look a star on a big dinner date when paired with some grilled meats. 4 stars from me. Salut….
If you have read any of my Clarendon posts you will know that I love this winery and can’t get enough of their subtle yet complex Syrahs, Cabernets and Grenaches. This particular Mclaren Vale offering was opened to go along with my new favorite grilled meat- Chorizo. I loaded up two giant Ribeye steaks (the butcher had labelled them Delmonico’s, all hoity toity) some onions and a half dozen of the Mexican sausages on the charcoal grill and opened this beauty to sip while I got the rest of dinner ready.
Thick purple color is always a good start for Cabernet Sauvignon. Fresh blue fruits with some mint greeted my flaring nostrils- perhaps a touch of alcohol was coming off the glass. Unique plum compote and blueberry coulis flavors were my initial impression but I began to think the wine is still primal with full fruit and a whiff of heat attacking the mid palate. Moderate tannins and cutting acidity belie a still young wine waiting to mature. Eucalyptus and mulberry came into being on the back end with cassis and red fruits adding to the long finish. The 14.5% alcohol was hidden after a while, blown off from it’s early attack. The wine is structured, balanced and a joy to drink. I would imagine it could cellar for another 15 years easily. $75 and 94 points from me make this a treat of a wine that gets 5 stars for a special occasion. Salut….
I am tasting my way through the Clarendon Hills portfolio, and I’m loving it. This particular Syrah was nearly black in the glass. It opened with plums and blue berries on nose with some pencil lead hints. My first impression was powerful and juicy with delightful tannins. I noticed that the wine sports a 14.5% alcohol which is well hidden. Chocolate and figs on the mid palate added to the complexity of the blue fruits. The wine has a layered elegance and smoothness that is fabulous. I like the way this winery makes Syrah style wines, very nice and atypical. It later hit me that this wine is very plummy, probably explains the denseness and extraction. I noted ‘Tight tannins that are well integrated.’ I would give this wine a span of 2014-2025 with evolution hopefully coming through with some secondary flavors evolving. I got a good deal on this bottle but even at it’s SRP of $75 it is an excellent value for money if you have a big dinner planned, running at 93 points for me and 4 stars. Ps. I served it with well seasoned Flank steaks but this Aussie wine was made for a leg of lamb, just my opinion. Salut….
When I decided to fire up the grill and roast a leg of lamb I needed a Syrah/Shiraz to go with it. What better than a nicely aged bottle from Australia? I have become a huge fan of the Clarendon winery, they produce amazing wines in a style that I adore. This one was exceptionally good and the pairing was amazing.
It started out with Plum jam, blackcurrants, nutmeg and a touch of heat on the nose. Initially there was a dark core of black currants and plum compote with a hint of licorice. The mid palate gave way to red raspberries after some time which was fascinating. I noted ‘Extremely smooth with beautiful fine-grained tannins and an edge of acidity’. This wine rocked. It’s 14.5% alcohol was evident when the bottle was first opened but seemed to blow off with time and became a non-event. Complexity and finesse are what this winery is good at. They tend to be more Rhone-like versus typical Aussie Shiraz. I prefer the subtlety and refined approach on occasions and this wine allowed the meat to showcase it’s herbs and spices without overpowering it. The pro’s went from 89-95 on this one, but I agree with WS- it’s a solid 93-94 point wine in my opinion but at $75 is rather pricy. 4 stars however and a cellaring potential up to 2027 if you ask me. Salut….
From Mclaren Vale comes this elegant Syrah that performed well with the pro’s. I must say I am enjoying a resurgence of Aussie Syrah, versus the more typical Shiraz style of making this varietal. This one started off with Asian plums and black cherries on the nose. Rich and thick come to mind when I was sipping this beauty. The 14.5% alcohol is neatly hidden to detract from it’s potency, yet the extraction is generous. This wine has a great Rhone style with good vanilla notes preempting the young tannins. Bell peppers appear on the back end with some tight black berries coming through with plums and spices for the finish. The wine is complex and layered, as would be expected from a $75 wine. The scores came in from a high of 95, to 90. I am thinking this wine is a 93 effort but it needs time to meld. I would imagine a drinking window of 2016-2024. I am really starting to like this winery, they produce high quality wines made in a style that appeals to me- finesse with plenty of complexity and depth. 4 stars if you are keen for a special wine. Salut….