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2009 Clarendon Hills Romas Grenache
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- Cellar 6 - 8 years (2018-2020)
- ABV 14.5%
- Closure: Cork
Many Australians remain oblivious to the superb Reds that come out of a collection of old vine vineyards under the 'Clarendon Hills' label. Miniscule output and premium price tags 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. Bratasiuk'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." Robert Parker describes Bratasuik as "...one of planet earth's greatest winemakers." He has also 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. Since the late 1990's we've reviewed successive collections of these wines, frequently giving them our highest recommendation. 2009 is one such vintage with all varietals showing outstanding form and mid to long term cellaring potential. All the Clarendon Hills wines are sourced from single vineyard sites from vines mostly around 85 years old. Wild ferments and zero fining or filtration are the norm. Bratasuik's sons, Adam and Alex, have now joined the operation.
The Romas vineyard is dry grown in super-compact, iron stone, quartz/gravel soils. Hand picking took place over several passes to ensure optimal ripeness of the fruit. Opaque black crimson colour with deep dark crimson red hue. On the nose top notes of ripe raspberry are followed by some dark chocolate, liquorice, confectionary and spice scents showing good perfumed lift. Very densely structured and concentrated the palate delivers rich mouthfilling flavours of liquorice, black raspberry, spice and confectionary followed by some meaty peppery characters on the back palate. The tannins are firmer, drier and more structured than the Blewitt Springs Grenache, yet still fine grained. Exceptional depth and length with long aftertaste of liquorice, black raspberry, spice and blackpepper.
Cellar 6-8 years (2018-2019)