Current Issue #488

Wine Review: 'Effortless appeal' in Clonakilla's 2017 O'Riada Shiraz

Wine Review: 'Effortless appeal' in Clonakilla's 2017 O'Riada Shiraz

Beautifully composed with its own musical connection, this Shiraz from Clonakilla proves a very drinkable drop straight out of the bottle, says Dave Brookes.

Composition. It’s as important for wine as it is for music. I often think about wine in musical terms, sometimes thinking of them as uplifting or melancholy, a wine’s movement on the palate revolving around a tonal centre, the liquid ebbing and flowing across that point in a series of major, minor and diminished moves before resolving, the minor fall and the major lift, thoughts of resonance and dissonance, of bass notes and higher tones. It’s a nice exercise.

Fitting, in this case, as Seán Ó Riada was an Irish composer who was the single most influential figure in the revival of Irish traditional music during the 1960s. He passed away before his time in 1971, the year John Kirk established Clonakilla Wines in Murrumbateman near Canberra. Seán Ó Riada was John Kirk’s cousin.

When I think of my favourite Australian wine producers, the wines of Clonakilla are always in the mix. Beautifully composed and always delicious; they never disappoint. The 2017 Clonakilla O’Riada Shiraz certainly ticks all those boxes with its effortless appeal and an inherent drinkability that demands attention.

Perfectly weighted with pitch-perfect tension between the fruit and structural elements it is a wine of great clarity and detail. High-toned and laden with exotic spice, pure berry and cherry fruits, it’s pretty much the ideal mid-weight, cool-climate Shiraz.

It’s sapid, succulent and smooth with plenty going on in the glass. Elegant yet sprightly and energetic with just a gentle tug of tannin and an expansive flourish of fruit and spice on the finish. I could drink a lot of this.

CLONAKILLA 2017 O’Riada Shiraz

Photography: David Reist 


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