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Clarendon Hills Liandra Syrah 1998

Syrah/Shiraz from McLaren Vale, Australia
  • WE92
  • RP91
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Winemaker Notes

The depth of color is immediately apparent with a dark blood red, almost black in the center of the glass. The color extends all the way to the rim and the clarity is just removed from brilliance, indicating that the wine has not been filtered.

A very complex and concentrated bouquet immediately greets you. There is aniseed and some floral notes such as violets. In addition there is roasted meats and underlying raspberry, blackberry and plum fruit characters. This adds up to a wine that is quite reminiscent of the Northern Rhone, and certainly a fair way removed from its origins in South Australia. With all the fruit and spice it is hard to detect the oak character such is the concentration of these flavors.

Fabulous mixture of flavors over the palate which has a sweet and savoury taste at the same time. The sweetness is in the form of fruit which is again to the fore with blackberry and plums being most obvious. The savoury components are the herbal aniseed lift and the roasted meat character which is unique to the Shiraz grape variety.

The wine, despite its concentration, is easy and enjoyable to drink. There is chewy texture and plenty of viscosity across the mouth. The structure completes the wine with big strapping tannins combining with sufficient acid to provide a slightly sour counterbalance to the sweet fruit.

This wine is, however, most attractive right now which must be seen as a bonus. If you can be patient put a few bottles away for 10 years.

Whilst drinking the wine in youth select a dish that combines rich flavors with just a hint of sweetness to soften the tannins that are quite aggressive at the moment. Slow cooked Beef cooked in red wine, onions and plenty of herbs would be just about ideal.

Critical Acclaim

WE 92
Wine Enthusiast

RP 91
The Wine Advocate

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Clarendon Hills

Clarendon Hills

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Clarendon Hills, , Australia
Clarendon Hills
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.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Bordeaux White Blends

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Sometimes light and crisp, other times rich and creamy, Bordeaux white blends typically consist of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Often, a small amount of Muscadelle or Sauvignon Gris is included for added interest. This blend was popularized in the Bordeaux region of France (where it also comprises outstanding sweet wines like Sauternes and Barsac), but is often mimicked throughout the New World, particularly in California, Washington, and Australia.

In the Glass

Sémillon provides the background to this blend, with a relatively full body and an oily texture. Sauvignon Blanc adds acidity and lots of bright fruit flavor, particularly white grapefruit, lime, and freshly cut grass. Used in smaller proportions, Muscadelle can contribute fresh floral notes, while Sauvignon Gris is less aromatic but offers ripe, juicy fruit on the palate. These wines run the gamut from unoaked, refreshing, and easy to drink to serious, complex, and barrel-aged. The latter style, usually with a higher percentage of Sémillon, can develop aromas of ginger, chamomile, and dried orange peel. The dessert wines produced by these blends, often with the help of noble rot, can have lush stone fruit and honey character.

Perfect Pairings

Crisp, dry Bordeaux white blends are the perfect accompaniment for raw or lightly cooked seafood, especially shellfish. A more structured, Sémillon-based bottling can stand up to richer fish, chicken, or pork dishes in white sauces. These blends also work well with a variety of vegetables and fresh herbs, like asparagus, peas, basil, and tarragon. Sweet dessert wines are traditionally enjoyed with strong blue cheeses, foie gras, or fruit-based desserts.

Sommelier Secret

Sauternes and Barsac are usually reserved for dessert, but smart sommeliers know that they can be served at any time—before, during, or after the meal. Try these sweet wines as an aperitif with jamón ibérico or oysters with a spicy mignonette, or during dinner alongside hearty Alsatian sausage, poached lobster in beurre blanc sauce, or even fried chicken.

CNC755652_1998 Item# 9215

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