Clarendon Hills Hickinbotham Vineyard Syrah, McLaren Vale
Low-medium yielding, dry grown vines are hand picked thereby culturing whole berry, wild yeast fermentation. This increases the retention of the grape’s varietal essence and minimises bitter tannin extract. All pressings are returned to the barrel and bottled onsite without fining or filtration.
The 2006 Syrah Hickinbotham Vineyard combines a voluptuous flavor profile with enough ripe tannin to evolve for 6-8 years. Drink it from 2015 to 2031.
Roman Bratasiuk’s Clarendon Hills is one of the world’s great wine estates. The wines are all 100% varietal, produced from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Grenache, and Syrah. The vineyards are all ungrafted, planted on their own roots, most of them with very old vines. Only French oak is utilized, seasoned barrels for the Grenache, 100% new for the Merlot and Cabernets, and 50-100% new for the Syrahs depending upon the vineyard. The wines typically spend 18 months in oak prior to bottling without fining or filtration. All of the above 2006 bottlings were reviewed from barrel samples in Issue 173. The vintage was an excellent one, not quite as exceptional as 2005, but there may be cases in which selected 2006s may eventually outshine their 2005 counterparts. All of the 2006s fell within their predicted ranges (mostly near the high end) so I will keep my comments brief. Clarendon Hills 2006 Syrahs are superb. They appear to be less structured and more forward than the 2005s and will be more approachable early on.
97+ points, Wine Advocate (February 2009)
Opaque violet. Initially brooding nose quickly opened to display powerful raspberry, kirsch and violet scents. Vivid red and dark berry flavors are corralled by nervy minerality and silky tannins, with anise and rose pastille notes building on the back end. Blends depth, sweetness and finesse with a deft hand, finishing with mounting sweetness but no candied character. Pretty cool stuff.
94 points, Josh Raynolds, Vinous (September 2008)
Decidedly more serious and structured, the spectacular 2006 Clarendon Hills Syrah Hickinbotham is 100% Syrah that comes from ungrafted, dry farmed bush vines and clay and limestone soils. Aged for 18 months in 85% new French oak, it delivers a knockout array of focused black fruits, bay leaf, smoked bacon, licorice, pepper, and black olive that flows perfectly to a full-bodied, balanced, and incredibly fresh palate. Nothing is out of place, it has gorgeous concentration, and integrated, clean acidity that shines on the lengthy finish. Count me a fan, and this powerful, yet elegant Shiraz has the fruit to shine now, yet will continue to evolve for another decade or more. Don’t let any Aussie bias keep you from trying this wine!
96 points, Jeb Dunnuck (June 2012)