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2006 Clarendon Hills Sandown Cabernet Sauvignon
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- Cellar 5 - 8 years (2013-2016)
- ABV 14.5%
- Closure: Cork
Despite producing some of the finest red wines in Australia, few Australian's will have ever tasted the superb Reds that come out of a collection of old vine vineyards under the 'Clarendon Hills' label. A sub-district, Clarendon lies 10 km north east of the McLaren Vale township and is 250 metres higher above sea level. Consequently, the region picks 2-3 weeks later than McLaren Vale and generally enjoys longer, milder ripening conditions. Miniscule output and premium price ranges are secondary to this vineyard's apparent alienation, which is actually a self-imposed predicament that says more about owner-winemaker, Roman Bratasiuk, a former biochemist for the Australian government. "Australians don't know what to do with my wines" he claims, "because they don't taste like everyone else's" which equates to approximately 98% of annual production being exported. Batasiuk's highly individualistic philosophy is certainly reflected in his wines which draw inspiration from the Classed Growths of Bordeaux and the great Shiraz and Grenache wines of the Rhone Valley. Also notable is a complete absence of American oak. "My Syrahs are not typically Australian; they are not over-laden with American oak and aren't jammy...In McLaren Vale there are many winemakers with academic degrees who are making recipe wines with American oak like those made by everyone else. I make wine intuitively, by instinct and imagination, not with a textbook." Bratasiuk has been described as brash, even arrogant. Regardless of one's attitude towards the man, there is no denying the extraordinary achievement that Clarendon Hills is: His wines possess an uncanny and universal ability to incite superlatives.
The 2006 vintage in Clarendon experienced a 'Mediterranean finish' to what was otherwise a typical Australian summer. The earlier onset of Autumnal coolness slowed ripening towards the end of the harvest season and enhanced colour development and skin thickness. All the Clarendon Hills wines are sourced from single vineyard sites from vines mostly around 85 years old. Hand picking occurs over several passes to ensure optimal ripeness of the fruit. Fermentation takes place using wild yeasts, followed by extended maceration. All the wines were aged for approximately 18 months in new and used, tight grained French oak barrels and finished without fining or filtration.Totally opaque black crimson purple colour with black purple hue. Perfumed nose with impressive lift of violets, blackcurrant, spice, liquorice and cherry. Explosive palate with mouthfilling flavours of black cherry, liquorice, black pepper and cedar. Fine grained tannins, perfect balance. Very long aftertaste of blackcurrant, spice and black pepper.
Cellar 5-8 years (2013-2016)
The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Sandown Vineyard, sourced from a 75-year-old vineyard and aged in 100% new oak, is purple-colored with a stylish perfume of smoke, toast, plum, black currant, and blackberry. It is more structured than its siblings and will easily evolve for 6-8 years given its superb balance.
Dr Jay Miller – The Wine Advocate #173, October 2007