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2004 Clonakilla Shiraz-Viognier

April 30, 2011

2004 Clonakilla Shiraz-Viognier, at Prive on 29 April 2011. Opened at the restaurant and aired in bottle for around 20 minutes before being consumed over the next two hours. This wine is made in the style of a northern Rhone, where a small fraction of viognier is co-fermented with shiraz (syrah). The benefits are immediately apparent. Already showing a more evolved color than usual, the initial impression was that of a rather effusive nose of aged red fruits, plum and orangey citrus that led to a medium-bodied wine, soft at the edges, rounded and fleshy, remarkably well-balanced with excellent depth and structure, and much more aromatic compared with a straight shiraz, no doubt contributed by the viognier. Over time, more secondary notes of cinnamon, cedar and violets began appearing, growing in complexity, the wine gelling into a seamless whole with an even greater glow of cherries, blueberries and a hint of glycerin, finally developing a mild spicy accentuation at the finish. Compared with the 2002 vintage, which is still dense and backward, the 2004 is evolving at a more rapid pace, already into its drinking window where I have no doubt it should easily hold for several more years. The remarkable thing is, if tasted blind, everyone would have said Old World. No wonder this label has made it into the top rung of Langton’s Classification. Absolutely superb.

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