Monday, January 17, 2011


- Canberra District
- $40-$50
- Screwcap
- 14.5%alc

After the disappointing 2009 Jack Reidy failed to quench my thirst for a genuine Clonakilla-styled Shiraz Viognier, I rushed out and compulsively bought the next cheapest option. Enter the O'Riada Shiraz, a wine which in years like 2007 (94pts) beautifully illustrates what makes the precise touch of Tim Kirk so special.

Although containing a measly 1% less viognier than the 2009 Jack Reidy (5% here), the O'Riada integrates it significantly better. Lifted by musky qualities and underlined by deep, dark shiraz fruit, its perfume runs a slick balance of ripe blackberries and meat alongside spicy, stalk-like suggestions of clove and ground pepper, with a wafer-like scent of vanilla/cedar oak thrown in as well. It's darker than some might expect from Clonakilla but it's definitely Clonakilla, and this point drives home in the mouth courtesy of a very supple, almost fluffy and barely medium-bodied palate backed by tight structural elements and a spicy aftertaste. In fact, its soft, meaty and sour-edged dark red/dark fruits are assertively wound up by a tight line of grainy, gritty tannins and drying acids, so the wise among us might sit the 2009 O'Riada aside for a few more years, allowing it to unfold and blossom into a superior drink.

ü Perhaps riper and darker from the warm vintage yet in no way more forward or ready to drink, the 2009 O'Riada is a tight-fisted, dark and rustic Clonakilla in need of a decent spell in the cellar or a good decant. Aaaah, that's better; at least my Clonakilla craving has been met now, which nearly gifted this wine an extra point (but it hasn't). Drink 2016-2021.
92 points

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