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Monday 12 July 2021

Wine rivals to the rescue in a time of crisis

Tim Kirk and his winemaking team at Clonakilla are probably the highest-profile producers in the Canberra region - and will celebrate their 50th birthday later this year 

In addition to producing wines made from their own fruit grown at Murrumbateman, they also make wines using grapes from the Hilltops region in New South Wales. 

So why, then, are the two latest releases from Clonakilla, a shiraz and a viognier, crafted from Eden Valley grapes? 

The answer is both simple and sad. 

"In 2020 we suffered the catastrophe of losing our entire crop to smoke taint; a consequence of severe drought and the worst bushfire season in living memory," Kirk says. 

"Generous friends came to our rescue with clean fruit from regions outside New South Wales."

Hence a pair of 2020 releases made from fruit grown by the Hill-Smith family of Yalumba renown in the Eden Valley. 

"We thank Louisa Rose and the Hill-Smith family for making the grapes available to us," says Kirk. 

That's the Australian industry for you: intensely competitive but also collegial in times of need.

The wines are both extremely impressive. The 2020 Viognier ($50) is on the pear/peach side of the viognier spectum and a great match for lightly-spiced Asian dishes, while the 2020 Shiraz ($40) is dark and intense but nicely balanced with youthful allure. Both are well worth trying.


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