The color is foreboding, with deep purple red turning into black. The depth of the color is amazing with the description of "inky" almost being inadequate.
The fruit flavors are all there, trademark Cabernet Sauvignon with black currant, blueberry and plums. The oak is evident with toasty cedar aromas. There are some other characters lurking in the background, like bitter chocolate and earthy, briary notes. All of these flavors add to the sheer presence of the wine. It is very powerful.
Tasting the wine at the moment is sheer joy mixed with a tinge of sadness. The joy is the sheer wealth of fruit flavor mixed with the vast array of complexing flavors. The sadness is the fact that you are trying the wine now and not in another 15 to 20 years. This wine surely has the power and intensity to develop and improve over this extended time period. The structure is incredibly powerful with very firm gripping tannins. Still evident as well as the fruit flavors are the bitter chocolate and cedar notes. It's a tough choice to make, when to drink the wine as it is very attractive even as a big angular youngster it is at the moment.
If you can't wait, select a dish with big intense flavors to try and match the wine. The sauce or cooking juice should be slightly sweet to soften the firm and drying effect of the tannin. It is definitely a red meat wine. As an alternative a creamy cheese like a ripe white mould or an aged Reggiano with some fruity accompaniments would be ideal.
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.