Canberra District Shiraz/Viognier



Dr John Kirk founded Clonakilla vineyard at Murrumbateman, 40 kilometres north of Canberra,...

in 1971 after his scientific curiosity led him to question why vines were not being grown in this area. His research showed that the soil and climate seemed suited to certain varieties. Clonakilla means 'meadow of the church' and is the name of Dr Kirk's grandfather's farm in County Clare, Ireland. In 1997 Tim Kirk, the fourth of John's six sons, took over responsibility for winemaking. Today, Clonakilla is recognised as one of the leading estates in Australia. Tim was named Gourmet Traveller Winemaker of the Year in 2013.

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The fruit comes from two adjacent, family-owned vineyards just outside the village of Murrumbateman in the cool Southern Tablelands of New South Wales. Murrumbateman's elevation is 600 metres above sea level. 'Canberra District' is the official geographical indicator for the winegrowing district around Canberra, Australia's capital city.

Vintage Information

Tim Kirk said, "As seasons go, I’m not sure you can get better conditions than we had in 2015." There was higher than average rainfall in December and January. By late January, conditions warmed and dried, and the "miracle" began to unfold; day after day of mid to high 20s, cool nights, light breezes, a steady, warm glow in the vineyard with no pressure from excessive heat, rain or wind. Ripening proceeded perfectly, and the Shiraz and Viognier grapes were picked in immaculate condition.


30% whole bunches were used in the ferments with the remaining fruit destemmed and crushed before being added to the fermentation tanks. All parcels were fermented with natural yeast for a period of 18 – 21 days on skins. The wine was aged for 12 months in one third new French barriques from Taransaud, Francois Freres, Mercurey and Sirugue. 5% of the Shiraz was co-fermented with the Viognier.

Tasting Notes

On the nose, this wine is intensely aromatic from fine musky florals to white pepper, with an incredibly exuberant explosion of fruit, boysenberry, raspberry, cherries and plums. On the palate, there is ripe red cherry, raspberry and red plum flavour, chocolate and a dusting of white pepper.

Vintage Information

Vintage 2015
Grape varieties 95% Syrah/Shiraz
5% Viognier
Region Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
Winemaker Tim Kirk
Alcohol (ABV) 14%