The lyrical and beautiful Clarendon Hills Astralis Syrah is a highly complex and well concentrated wine with dark liquorice, blackberry, mocha aromas and touches of chamomile, earthy, bitumen, herb garden notes. It is a changing kaleidoscope of aromas and flavours with dry, slinky tannins, plenty of fruit richness and underlying savoury oak. With age the wine develops paneforte, dark chocolate, cedar, spicy aromas and superb chocolaty textures. The wine is generally more muscular than standard McLaren Vale Shirazes with a compelling buoyancy, energy and flavour length. Vinification takes place in variable capacity, open stainless steel fermenters and is then matured in new 'Burgundian' pièces for 18 months.
Sumptuous, sensual and hedonistic, this definitive expression of ripe, concentrated McLaren Vale Shiraz leaves nothing to the imagination. Dense and smoky, its heady bouquet of brambly dark fruit, smoked meats, pungent oak and exotic spices precedes a luscious palate deeply stained with black and blue fruit and effortlessly balanced by a powerful but pliant extract of fine tannins. It finishes slightly warm, with a remarkably persistent core of fruit backed by lingering nuances of licorice, mint, menthol and five spice.
97 points, jeremyoliver.com
A big wine, but amazingly supple, graceful and pure, offering cascades of wild blueberry, black cherry and plum fruit that play against spices such as cardamom, clove and black pepper. It's all seamlessly integrated with fine tannins and enough creamy oak to complete the picture. Syrah. Drink to 2020.
98 points, Wine Spectator (US)
...stunning nose redolent of warm blackberries, meat, toast and charcoal, infused with notes of smoked duck, anise and a slight bit of peat... this big, rich, and powerful full-bodied wine has firm yet velvety tannins, a vibrant acid line and is very long on the finish. Drink now to 2026+
99 points, Wine Advocate, February 2014
Saturated purple. Deep, pungent and exotic on the nose, offering a seductive array of lush dark berries, flowers and Asian spices. Initially subtle graphite and iron notes gain strength with air and carry on to the palate. Expansive blackberry and mulberry flavors are reined in by smoky minerals but gain sweetness with air, with candied violet and lavender qualities emerging. For all its power, there's an uncanny weightless character contributed by minerality. Finishes with a wallop of sweet dark berries and persistent floral notes. A stunner...
95 points, International Wine Cellar.
The 2006 Syrah Astralis… reveals a splendid nose of toasty oak, crushed rock, Asian spices, violets, blackberry and blueberry compote. It is tightly wound but impeccably balanced. Full-bodied, opulent, and intense... It is an exceptional achievement. 99 points, Jay Miller.
The flagship of Clarendon Hills is the 2006 Astralis Syrah (99 points). It is holding more in reserve but when it has fully blossomed in another 10-15 years (2019-2024) my score may appear conservative. 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… The vintage was an excellent one (and) Clarendon Hills 2006 Syrahs are superb. Jay Miller.