Classically medium bodied with a line of pure spice running through rose petals and ripe red berry aromatics. Restrained yet powerful, with superb length and texture.
The fruit comes from two adjacent, family-owned vineyards just outside the village of Murrumbateman in the cool Southern Tablelands of New South Wales. Murrumbateman's elevation is 600 metres above sea level. 'Canberra District' is the official geographical indicator for the winegrowing district around Canberra, Australia's capital city.
The 2017 vintage was built on the wettest winter and early spring on record. The early rain was much needed, given the warm and generally dry summer that followed. After the heat of 2016, the more moderate conditions in 2017 made for an unhurried, steady ripening with layers of aroma and texture being built up along the way. In other words, a typical cool-climate year.
30% whole bunches were used in the ferments with the remaining fruit destemmed and crushed before being added to the fermentation tanks. All parcels were co-fermented with 6% Viognier for a period of 18 to 21 days on skins. The wine was aged for 12 months in French oak, of which 30% was new with the remainder a combination of one, two and three-year old barrels from Taransaud, Francois Freres, Mercurey and Sirugue.
Dr John Kirk planted the Clonakilla vineyard at Murrumbateman, 40 kilometres north of Canberra, in 1971 after his scientific curiosity led him to question why vines were not being grown in this area. His research showed that the soil and climate seemed suited to certain varieties. Clonakilla means 'meadow of the church' and is the name of Dr Kirk's grandfather's farm in County Clare, Ireland. In 1997 Tim Kirk, the fourth of John's six sons, took over responsibility for winemaking. Today, Clonakilla is recognised as one of the leading estates in Australia. Tim was named Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year in 2013.