This is Clarendon Hills' flagship wine. It is a member of Clarendon Hills' 'Grand Cru' classification.
Every year, the Astralis vineyard produces the most beautiful wine in our cellar. Despite its non-differentiated treatment in the cellar, it always reveals the most rounded, sublime and seamless expression of syrah which ages like a rock.
The vast wealth of this wine's varietal depth extends beyond the parameters of syrah - beckoning superlatives. Amazingly svelte in its balance of varietal depth with restrained power and super finely integrated extract, it is light on its feet and majestic once in focus. Overriding harmony meets an anarchical expression of Australian classic syrah. Lifted florals dance with rich meats, coffee, cola, chocolate, pan forte, turkish delight, graphite, bitumen, cigar tobacco, black cardamom, good quality soy sauce and crushed rocks. It is dense, yet creamy smooth.
This is a wine that is always the most beautiful in our cellar. We recommend it is always decanted. Only the patient will recoup the full dividend of cellaring this masterpiece.
"It's hard to believe the 2003 Syrah Astralis Vineyard could be better, but it offers riveting richness, intensity, purity, and equilibrium. Structurally, it is similar to the Piggott Range, revealing abundant amounts of sweet, ripe tannin, and huge extract, richness, and depth. Meant for true connoisseurs who are willing to forget it for 5-8 years, it represents what Roman Bratasiuk and Clarendon Hills do so well... show respect for the great traditions of France, but recognize the extraordinary raw materials that emerge from old vines planted in McLaren Vale. This fabulous wine offers both power and elegance, and showcases the extraordinary talent of Roman Bratasiuk. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2030."
The Wine Advocate
"Aristocratic stuff, brimming with lovely blueberry, plum and vanilla flavors, wrapped in a mantle of peppery, cedary oak, finishing with plenty of flavor and a rousing intensity that promises a long, impressive development. A stylish red that shows no signs of quitting. Best from 2008 through 2020. 600 cases made."
"... Still very closed on the nose, showing cassis and black cherry aromas after much airing. Its color is a powerful, almost glowing, purple and its flavors--a vibrant surge of pure black and blueberries--are just as intense. Very concentrated and tight, with a linear, minerally frame underneath its monstrous tannins. Winemaker Roman Bratasiuk recommends aging for a mimum of 6 years before drinking; if you are as foolish as I and insist on opening a bottle today, decant for a minimum of 6-8 hours. Rating may look stingy by the time Bush finishes his second term."
I'll be cellaring this bottle for 10-15 years. I'll let you know then. I've had this wine of different vintages before and firmly believe it is the best wine in the world.
The 2003 Astralis is a wonderfully concentrated, chewy Shiraz made by one of the 4 or 5 best winemakers alive today. Worth looking for!