Wine reviews – Clonakilla, Hay Shed Hill and Pikes

Clonakilla Canberra District Sauvignon Blanc Semillon 2015 $22–$25
We know Clonakilla best for its cutting edge shiraz-viognier blend, shiraz, riesling and viognier. But like many small vignerons, the Kirk family grows many other grape varieties – some planted in the early years to test the region’s potential, and others to meet consumer demand. Sauvignon blanc and semillon fall into both categories and today provides the Kirks, and their followers, with an affordable white quaffer for early drinking. The bone-dry wine brims with vibrant, herbaceous varietal fruit flavours, cut through with refreshing, tingly acid.

Hay Shed Hill Margaret River Pitchfork Cabernet Merlot 2013 $14.25–$16
Pitchfork cabernet merlot offers outstanding drinking for its modest price. And its maker, Michael Kerrigan, explains what’s behind it: “100 per cent Margaret River grapes sourced from a small group of growers that I have worked with for many years. I am determined to give the customer a bottle of wine that exceeds their expectations so they come back for more. The reds are barrel aged for about 10 months in French oak barriques, not tank matured chip or plank treated wines”. This is a lovely, drink-now Margaret River style, based on bright, ripe regional–varietal flavours and structure.

Pikes Clare Valley Eastside Shiraz 2013 $23.75–$28
Riesling, from Germany’s cool Mosel and Rhine rivers, and shiraz, from France’s climatically variable Rhone Valley, may seem strange vineyard partners. Yet they thrive side by side in several Australian regions, notably Canberra, Clare Valley, Eden Valley and Great Southern. If riesling scales the greatest heights at Pikes in the Clare Valley, shiraz offers rich, satisfying flavours, albeit not with the stellar qualities of riesling. In the warm 2013 vintage, their Eastside shiraz offers deep, chewy fruity–earthy flavours mingled with solid but soft tannin.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 15 August 2015 in  and the Canberra Tmes