The appearance is a dark inky black with just a slight hint of red and purple around the rim. The color does not fade away at any stage, indicating the youthfulness and the level of concentration.
A welter of aromas greets you with the most prominent being the ripe cassis and blueberry fruit. In support there are some herbal characters such as mint and eucalyptus that provide a contrast and relief, almost a delicacy to a wine that is quite intense and powerful.
All of the flavors evident on the bouquet are in force on the palate. Some toast and vanilla are a welcome addition to the multitude of flavors. The fruit characters are still the most prominent with the blueberry seemingly much juicier in the mouth. There is abundant firm but finely grained tannins that will give this wine longevity. You could age the wine safely for 12 years or more if you wish, although at the moment the wine is quite attractive drinking.
Look for red meat dishes with plenty of herbal scent. Lamb with rosemary or mint, beef with thyme or veal shanks with oregano as a major flavoring agent. The herbal characters in the wine will highlight the herbal flavors in these dishes.
Clarendon Hills Winery
Clarendon Hills is a small family-run winery based in Clarendon, South Australia. The company was founded by biochemist, Roman Bratasiuk, in 1990. The story of Clarendon Hills is one of passion, dedication and commitment to exception wine. It all began when this biochemist and wine lover decided to produce his own wine. Though he'd never trained as a winemaker, Roman let himself be guided by his refined palate and scientific knowledge. Following his favorite producers and preferred styles, Roman sought to make a version of the wines he loved.
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McLaren Vale is home to the oldest Australian vineyard, with grapes planted in 1838. It's a coastal area with the Indian Ocean bordering the west, which contributes a cooling factor that prevents the grapes from getting too hot. In all, the climate is a perfect one for the vines.
In McLaren Vale, there are vines as far as the eye can see. As in other parts of Australia, Shiraz and Grenache are the most-planted grapes of the region. While red rules, whites are able to hold their own here too. With the warm yet reasonable Mediterranean climate, white grapes like Chardonnay, Semillon and even some Sauvignon Blanc grow well. The wines are round and smooth and the producers in the region are excellent.
Like the United States, which is about the same size, Australia's winemaking regions are huddled into one or two pockets of the country. The state of South Australia, which produces about 60% of the country's wine, also has the most wineries and sub-regions, including McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Coonawarra and Barossa Valley. New South Wales is home to the Hunter Valley, while the smaller, southern state of
Victoria is best known for theYarra Valley. Head way west to the very large state of Western Australia and you'll find the tiny region of Margaret River at the southern tip.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.