Lark Hill Shiraz Viognier 2014
Clonakilla has done amazing things for Canberra. A region that once was once small and insignificant, is now the premier cool climate red wine region in NSW – and I’d argue that Clonakilla’s Shiraz Viognier is the one of the reasons why it got there.
Of course that’s a generalisation, but no doubting the umbrella effect that comes from such a prominent ‘regional hero’, and Clonakilla’s star burns brightly.
Saying that, it is possible that Clonakilla’s Shiraz Viogner hyper-reputation has peaked. The cool climate Shiraz market that was previously uncrowded is now looking rather congested, and there just isn’t the cult-winery-like fervour for the wines (which is reflected in recent auction results) as there was say five years ago.
Still, the latest Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier is very very good. Benchmark good. What has changed, however, is that there is now a whole squad of exciting Canberra District Shiraz/Shiraz Viognier in Clonakilla’s wake.
Enter this 2014 Lark Hill Shiraz Viognier. The latest Lark Hill releases have impressed muchly, with a balance and delicacy that is on a whole new tier – next level good. This is the first time I’ve been really moved by one of this biodynamic pioneer’s reds though.
Sourced from Murrumbateman’s Dark Horse vineyard – which was purchased off Ravensworth in 2011 and since converted to biodynamics – this Shiraz includes 4% cofermented Viognier, though the V weed isn’t obvious. There’s maybe a little more Viognier purple in colour, but it’s very much a Shiraz message, the nose a mix of dandelions, meat, some plummy red fruit and just a little chocolate. A beautiful nose. The rich, yet medium weight, slightly herbal palate is also smart, topped with deliciously fine, bony tannins.
An essay in Canberra via the northern Rhone, the joy here is just how vibrant, fresh and yet ripe this tastes, all spicy redcurrant deliciousness in all its glory. Yes from me. Best drinking: 2016-2025. 18.5/20, 94/100. 13%, $40. Would I buy it? On a list this would be a go-to. Especially with rabbit or something gamey.