2004 Clarendon Hills "Astralis" Syrah Clarendon South Australia

SKU #1109223 98 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 One of Australia’s most prodigious Syrahs, Clarendon Hills’ 2004 Syrah Astralis is fashioned from vines planted in 1920, and spends time in 100% new French oak from the cooper, Cadus. It boasts off the charts intensity as well as an opaque purple color, and notes of spring flowers, blueberries, blackberries, roasted coffee beans, pepper, smoke, and a hint of sweet toasty oak. This full-bodied, rich, intense, backward Syrah needs 2-3+ hours in the decanter if one is going to approach it at this point in its life. Anticipated maturity: 2010-2040+. (RP)  (10/2006)

98 points Wine Enthusiast

 *Cellar Selection* The flagship of the Clarendon Hills line, this comes from a patch of 80-year-old vines that winemaker Bratasiuk claims routinely provides his best fruit. The 2004 is a stunner, yielding up scents of flowers and spice, framed by hints of vanillin oak. It’s dense and amply textured in the mouth, packed with wonderfully expressive blackberry and blueberry fruit, then shows layers of rich tannins on the finish that leave no doubt this needs time in the cellar to show its best. This is a tour de force of Australian winemaking that should be consumed 2010 - 2025.  (12/2006)

97 points Wine Spectator

 Deep, dense and brooding. A smoky, thick Shiraz that feels open and welcoming as the finish expands and persists. Cherry, chocolate and espresso notes mingle harmoniously and hint at loamy earth as the finish sails on and on.  (10/2006)

96 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Inky, bright-rimmed purple. Explosive, captivating aromas of every imaginable red and dark berry, kirsch, spicecake, pipe tobacco and floral essences. Thick and velvety in texture, with a stunning vibrancy to the boysenberry and blackberry liqueur flavors. Chewy and almost colloidal, but there's superb energy and vivacity here as well. A wild, almost overwhelming wine with great intensity and concentration, not to mention sweetness and purity. Does the finish here ever go away? I hope not. (JR)  (8/2006)

95 points James Halliday

 A wine of precision and distinction, with immaculate fruit, oak and tannin balance, a light year away from the original Astralis style.  (7/2008)

Jancis Robinson

 They call it Syrah not Shiraz. Fruit from Clarendon, 250 m above sea level. Dry-grown 85-year-old vines. Matured 18 months in new French oak. pH 3.52, TA 6.6 g/l. Deep and inky with smudgy rim. Very sweet pruney dark fruit nose with the sweetness of blueberry. Smells slightly volatile and there's lots of sweet oak spice. Very firm, dryish tannins but still bright fresh acidity. Quite taut given the ripeness of fruit.  (8/2009)

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Varietal:

Shiraz/Syrah

- One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. One of few black grape varietals frequently vinified on its own, the best examples of Syrah come from the Northern Rhône, particularly Hermitage, but also Côte-Rôtie, Cornas, Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph. These wines are very astringent in their youth, though some Crozes-Hermitage and St-Joseph can be enjoyed young, relatively speaking. Given the requisite patience, though, these wines can reveal amazing complexity and secondary fruit characteristics like plum and blackcurrant as well as subtle hints of smoke and flowers. In the Southern Rhône, Syrah is used to add structure and complexity to wines dominated by Grenache and complemented by Mourvèdre, like the more immediately drinkable Côte du Rhônes, as well as the long-lived wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. In recent years, plantings of Syrah have spread throughout the Languedoc-Roussillon where it is produced on its own or blended with other varietals. Outside of France, the most important Syrah growing country is easily Australia, where it is called Shiraz. Quality levels here depend greatly on yields and geography, and the wines range from bold, fruity and easy-drinking to intense and ageable, like the famed Penfolds Grange. Often bottled on its own, in Australia Syrah is also can be blended with Grenache and Mourvèdre, as in the Southern Rhône, and is increasingly combined with Cabernet Sauvignon. Syrah has also been steadily increasing in popularity in California, thanks to a group of advocates called the Rhône Rangers. Its most successful iterations come from the Central and Sonoma Coasts, where winemakers are pushing boundaries and creating some incredible wines. In recent years Syrah has also found a number of proponents in Washington State, which is definitely a region to watch for this variety.
Country:

Australia

- While it is true that the greatest strides in Australian winemaking have come in the last 30 years or so, commercial viticulture began as early as the 1820s and has developed uninterrupted ever since. The majority of the great wine regions are in the southeastern area of the continent, including Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, McLaren Vale, and Coonawarra in South Australia; Yarra Yarra Valley and Pyrenees in Victoria; and the Upper and Lower Hunter Valleys in New South Wales. Many of the wines from Southeastern Australia are based on Shiraz or Cabernet Sauvignon and various blends including Grenache and Mourvedre. In Western Australia, along the Margaret River, great strides are being made with Pinot Noir as well as Bordeaux-styled reds. There are also many world-class releases of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc from the land Down Under, where Riesling also enjoys international acclaim. While many equate Aussie wines with “value,” there are more than a few extremely rare and pricey options, which never fail to earn the highest ratings from wine publications and critics throughout the world. View a list of bestselling items from Australia.
Sub-Region:

South Australia

Specific Appellation:

McLaren Vale