95 Points James Halliday
Excellent colour; fragrant, stylish and complex, rippling licorice/anise, spice and black cherry; fine texture and mouthfeel; ripe tannins. Another outstanding wine. Six per cent viognier. Drink to 2012.
Source: James Halliday. August, 2003
The Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier cemented Clonakilla's reputation as one of Australia’s top small wineries, having been named NSW Wine of the Year in 1999, Penguin Wine of the Year in 2002 and one of Australia’s top ten Shiraz (Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine, June/July 2003).
It is ranked Outstanding in the prestigious Langton’s Classification of Australian Wine. It is one of only five Shiraz to receive a perfect 1 rating in Jeremy Oliver’s Australian Wine Annual.
In 1991 winemaker Tim Kirk travelled to the Rhone valley in France. There he tasted a number of impressive Shiraz wines including Marcel Guigal’s single vineyard blends of Shiraz and the rare white grape Viognier. Inspired by those wines Clonakilla began including a small amount of Viognier in its own Shiraz as of 1992. The Viognier component now accounts for between five and ten percent and adds an intriguing floral dimension to the wine.
Clonakilla also started incorporating other winemaking approaches that were unashamedly borrowed from Rhone valley and Burgundian winemakers: inclusion of whole bunches in the ferments, pre-ferment maceration and French oak barrel maturation. More importantly Clonakilla worked harder in the vineyard to open up the vine leaf canopies, limit yields and produce grapes with riper flavour profiles. Its work began to yield some impressive results, with gold medals, trophies and numerous five-star reviews following in succession.