With Richard Slater and Grant Foulkes
2019 Clonakilla Hilltops Shiraz
Young, New South Wales
14% RRP $34
If you believe Shiraz is always brutish and cumbersome- think again! NSW is not a State that comes to mind for Shiraz, although masters like Tyrrell’s produce serious wines from the Hunter Valley. Clonakilla – near Canberra – has magic form, producing exotic, exciting, long-living wines; its flagship Shiraz blend even name-checks Viognier. But the more affordable wine reviewed is from grapes grown around Young (cherry country). Purple and crimson colours front a fragrant spice-packed exuberant fruit melange – violets, pastille, blackcurrant essence. There are fine sandy tannins and the ripe raspberry flavours linger. This complete, delicious, lip-smacking stylish wine absolutely outperforms its price, and rewards further contemplation.
Conclusion – happy times are here with an irresistible modern wine that meshes prettiness with substance. Just about any roast, chop or a schnitzel will partner deliciously. It will deliver pleasure for many years, but is ridiculously compelling already.
2017 Hahndorf Hill Blueblood Blaufrankisch, South Australia
13.5% RRP $45
If you’ve never visited the historic village of Hahndorf, just a short drive out of Adelaide, pop it on the bucket list. It’s utterly charming. Hahndorf Hill specialises in European style wines and were the first producer in Australia to have a crack at Blaufrankisch. Blaufrankisch (sounds more like a
sneeze than a variety of grape) is indigenous to Austria and at the risk of generalising, it’s kinda like a pinot noir. This is definitely a ‘food wine’ and will hold up to a range of gamey meats or even seafood paired with many a pan seared fruits. Chalky and floral on the nose, its fruit undertones are shy upon opening which is rare for an Australian red. But give it some time in a decanter and the air will flesh out crun
chy cherries, cranberries and earthy rhubarb over the palate and finishes with a leafy, stalky herbaceousness. You’re left with a precise, elegant, poised drop that even the wisest of Austrian wine experts would surely give a satisfactory nod.
Conclusion: Pair with sous vide venison fillet on radicchio with caramelised pear, walnuts and creamed celeriac.