This special Clarendon Hills event features wines exclusively from this renowned winery from South Australia. We’re excited to bring you a variety of Clarendon Hills favorites for a limited time on Thursday, March 24. Don’t hesitate, though, as bottles will sell out throughout the day!
Wine Producer Profile: Clarendon Hills
On rare occasions, wine producers develop a style that transcends conventional norms and becomes the new paradigm. Roman Bratasiuk accomplished just that with Clarendon Hills, excelling in single-vineyard, varietal expressions from a carefully tended collection of South Australia’s top viticultural sites for over three decades. It’s this “pursuit of perfection” that keeps us coming back time and again. With that sentiment, we invite you to learn more about Clarendon Hills and its world-class range of wines!
Inspired by exceptionally balanced French wines, biochemist Roman Bratasiuk sought to fulfill his vision of representing Clarendon’s unique terroir starting in 1990. Vineyards here, which averaged between 50 and 80 years old at the time, were elevated about 300 meters above the landscape of McLaren Vale, providing grapes with a cooler microclimate that drew out more nuance from each variety. Bratasiuk visited growers throughout the area, tasting grapes until he found the exact characteristics he was searching for. Upon reaching the vineyard, which would later be known as “Astralis,” he chatted with the owner and returned to handpick all the fruit himself early the following morning. Utilizing superior raw material, an “obsession” developed with crafting wines that “portray the story of the individual vineyard” through bottlings of Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Over the years, Roman’s sons Alex and Adam became more involved in Clarendon’s production, continuing the hands-on approach that gives the wines such a unique signature.
Approach to Viticulture and Winemaking
The Clarendon Hills portfolio highlights some of the oldest sites in the area, resulting in single-vineyard expressions that capture the majesty of each. Gnarly, twisted bush vines are all dry-farmed and rely on nature to provide what is needed to grow and ripen small yields of concentrated grapes harvested only after tasting for optimal levels of ripeness and balance. Vineyard and variety are the centerpiece of nearly every bottle the Bratasiuk family produces. Wild yeast strains, new, tightly-grained French oak barrel aging, and forgoing fining and filtering are among the choices they make to achieve their vision. Their enduring commitment to quality and passion have led to tons of critical acclaim as well, with consistent ratings in the mid-to-upper 90s, multiple 100-point wines, and accolades including Wine Enthusiast’s “New World Winery of the Year” in 2006.
“Sandown” Cabernet Sauvignon
Hailing from vines dating back to the 1940s in Blewitt Springs, a rare pre-phylloxera Château Reynella clone of Cabernet Sauvignon informs the Sandown bottling. This opulent yet polished red wine offers up all the grape’s classic characteristics spanning an aromatic spectrum of cassis and graphite notes to inflections of sage and cedar that fan out in a long, intense finish. If acquired young, this wine especially rewards those with patience.
Here’s a vital old-vine Grenache bottling from a steep, isolated patch in Blewitt Springs that captures the essence of the grape’s varietal qualities, typically displaying a richly perfumed, plush collection of fresh raspberry, wild herb, and spice flavors. While delicious when young, this hedonistic red can also improve with age in a cool, dark cellar.
The stellar collection of single-vineyard, varietal wines from Clarendon Hills represent a benchmark for south Australian viticulture, but none are as prized as the flagship Astralis. Pre-phylloxera vines planted in 1920 yield the grapes for this dark fruit-endowed, spicy, and gamey Syrah, serving as a testament to the region’s true potential. It’s simply an exceptional, cellar-worthy wine that consistently pleases the senses through a perfect balance of power, ripeness, and elegance.
If you’re interested in the incredible wines of Clarendon Hills and other classic producers from around the world, regularly check Wines ‘Til Sold Out (WTSO) for the very best deals and save the date for the Clarendon Hills Event on March 24!