Sydney Wine-Ark Tasting Evening (Part 3)

Clonakilla Logo

Continuing our series of wine tastings from last week’s Wine-Ark Cellar Club tasting event, we enter the final tastings of the evening, introduced by Canberra winemaker Tim Kirk himself.

Tim spoke to the audience for a few minutes, giving us an insight into what motivates him as a wine maker.  It is evident that the French style of wine making and the French philosophy of matching the grape varieties to the land (or terroir, such as in Bordeaux) is a heavy influence.

In his own terms, he likes to craft his wine differently from the ‘tubthumping’ reds of the mid-90s, i.e. the full powered, Robert Parker inspired, super reds.  With the most recent vintages, he emphasized the importance of the skin depth, and noted that they had observed a cooler climate as the drought broke recently.

Anyhow, Tim’s introduction was quite inspiring and before long we were drawing our glasses for the final four tastings of the evening.  Without any further adieu, the notes.

2011 – Clonakilla Canberra District Riesling   

This Riesling when compared to the Best’s Great Western beforehand, was a lot more restrained in terms of sugar.  Pale gold in colour, a hint of – is it – kiwi fruit?  Crispy, somewhat sugary – but also with a touch of savoury – a little dry with hints of other fruit.  Mineral overtones leading to a lasting tangy finish.  Enjoyed by all members of the group.

2010 – Clonakilla Canberra District Viognier

The seminal compliment to the well renown Shiraz Viognier, served individually presented with a light straw colour and a hint of strawberry in the bouquet.  Slightly tart to the taste with a hint of ginger, a balanced body leading to a medium length aftertaste.  Enjoyed by one of our three in the group.

2010 – Clonakilla O’Riada Shiraz

The second last of the reds for the evening, the O’Riada has become a very strong drop from the Canberra region.  The colour was cherry red with a light bouquet and a decent trace of oak and tannins, well sculptured and with a soft texture.  Medium to long aftertaste, enjoyed and rated by one in the party (the others abstained to save up for the finale).

2010 – Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier

The finale for the evening was the celebrated Shiraz Viognier, which has garnered well deserved attention in recent years.  Aussie Wine Guy is a frequent collector and has more than a case of the 2008 vintage in managed cellaring.

The 2010 vintage is the consummate reply to the stellar 2009 edition.  Plum red in colour, perfumed and well balanced – trim with a hint of spices (cloves?) with a long and smooth aftertaste.  A little young at the moment, will only improve with age and maturity – can’t wait to retaste in the coming years.  Enjoyed by the entire party.

Comments from the Group

Throughout the night, both members of the group added excellent and insightful comments as we tasted the various wines. 

One of our group had an interesting way of describing her tasting experiences, here’s a sample of some of her observations, for your enjoyment (to be read in reverse chronological order):

  • This one tastes like spicy eels.
  • This one tastes like a fig newton dining in a Chinese restaurant.
  • This one tastes like a clown car full of lemons.
  • This one tastes like mildly terrified beef.
  • This one tastes like a bad ballet of roses.
  • Actually it tastes like boats and hassleback boars.
  • This one tastes like ham crayons.
  • This one tastes like a butter balloon, with a hint of flowers.
  • This one tastes like arteries.
  • This one tastes like charcoal and buckyballs


It was an excellent night, and much appreciation must go to Wine-Ark Cellar Club Director Gavin Lennard, distributor James Johnson and to Tim Kirk from Clonakilla.  The Wine-Ark team did a great job putting together a great selection of wines and complimented by a lavish spread of cheeses and breads.

The evenings are always excellent value, and are held in such a splendid location.  Aussie WIne Guy earnestly hopes that he’ll be able to attend the next meeting in November.

To find out more about WIne-Ark, visit their website.

Aussie Wine Guy returns soon with additional notes from an upcoming wine tasting event, not too far away.  Check back soon.

One thought on “Sydney Wine-Ark Tasting Evening (Part 3)”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.