Clarendon Hills Wines Unmasked

Clarendon Hillls

2001 Clarendon Hills Sandown Cabernet Sauvignon, McLaren Vale, South Australia

Tasted blind:  Opaque purple/ brown colour. Lovely lifted nose that grew in intensity over a 4 hour period, starting quite closed and dumb when opened and evolved to beautiful black currents, spice, anise and cedar. The weight of the wine was quite light in the mouth but had great intensity and flavour redolent with black currents, cedar, liquorice, chocolate and toasty oak. Very fine grained tannins and a long lingering finish. Drink over next 10 years. 96/100.

Winemaker Roman Bratasiuk likens this wine to French St Julien second growth, Chateau Leoville Las Cases. Grapes sources from 50-90 years old vines around the town of Clarendon, cropped at 2.5 tonnes to the acre. Nicks Wines gave this wine 99/100.

2006 Clarendon Hills Hickinbotham Syrah, Mclaren Vale, South Australia

Blind tasting notes: Nose of spice, pepper, anise, mocha, grilled meats/bacon and dusty oak. Rich mouthfilling palate with great intensity and full of spice , coffee and rich cream. Strong drying tannins and long finish. I picked this as a 2008 McLaren Shiraz. Not too far off…. Drink over next 3-6 years. 95/100.

Nick wines tasting notes: The nose is a pure sniffing pleasure, with violet top note followed by anise, liquorice, cedar and vanilla. The palate flavour profile is explosive – black and white pepper is overlaid with plum, liquorice and spice – totally mouthfilling, with outstanding length and depth. Fine dryish tannins, perfectly balanced – a touch more assertive than the other vineyards Syrah, but well structured. Exceptionally long aftertaste of plum, liquorice, spice and a hint of smoky oak. Cellar 8-10 years (2016-2018) 99 Points


Istanbul… searching for wine… but finding great sights

Sultanahmet – Blue Mosque, for its extensive blue tiles inside

After 3 days of searching for a good wine in Istanbul, I’ve failed! Been to several restaurants and asked for a good Turkish red or white wines and tried at least 6 syrahs and cabernets and unfortunately most were very average. I know Turkey can make some good wines but have failed in my quest to find any.

Spice Market - dozens of stalls full of exotic spices

Spice Market – dozens of stalls full of exotic spices


However, the food and antiquities in Istanbul are amazing. It really is a place where East has met the West. The people are quite friendly, although very little English is spoken. And if you like lamb, you are in luck! My favourite places have been the Spice Bazaar, Hagia Sophia Museum, the Sultanahmet (Blue Mosque), Topkapi Palace, Kariya Mosque (or Chora, an ancient Byzantine Church), and the Military Museum and Culture Centre. 

Getting around is surprisingly easy on the tramway system, or you can use a cab if you don’t mind the frenetic driving and gridlocked traffic much of the day.

Turkish Delight – No wine to be found, but great sweets!!

Mosaic in Chora, Byzantine era church

Mosaic in Chora, Byzantine era church

Castagna Genesis Syrah 2008 – Beechworth

Tasted 26 August 2013. The Castagna vineyard is situated outside the town of Beechworth in North-East Victoria, Australia. The vineyard is fully biodynamic, yields are kept low and the wines are made with minimal interference to let the terroir show through. The wine opened brick red with a purple tinge, savoury, spicy, satsuma plum nose with a hint of cinnamon. All boding well for a lovely wine…and I was not disappointed. A lovely rich and savoury mouthfeel with beautiful soft red berry fruit, refreshing acidity, a touch of pepper and soft well integrated tannins. Lovely balance and good cellaring potential. Very glad I bought a 6 pack of this wine!! Five to go.