Wine was almost an afterthought tonight due to the fact my favourite roast lamb dish was on the menu. I had bashed up some rosemary, thyme and garlic and rubbed it all over the lamb, leaving it to marinade for 5-6 hrs. Pinot Noir is a go to with lamb dishes but I thought I’d match it with Clonakilla’s 2013 O’Riada Shiraz. Elouise picked this one up from the cellar door recently for $39 while she was out and about hosting a tour.
Born John Reidy in Cork City, O’Riada was a musician and composer and is credited for the revival or Irish traditional music during the 60’s. He died, prematurely, in 1971, the year Clonakilla was established by John Kirk. He was John’s cousin and this wine is a lovely tribute to him.
John Kirk moved to Australia in the 1960s to take up a research position at the CSIRO. He bought Clonakilla in 1971 and the first vintages were produced five years later – a Riesling/Sauvignon Blanc blend and a Cabernet Shiraz. Clonakilla’s famous Shiraz Viogner blend didn’t emerge until a decade later following a trip John’s son Tim took to the Cote Rotie in the Rhone Valley in France. This wine is arguabley one of Australia’s greatest success stories.
Whenever I take a group out to visit local wineries, often people have experienced or heard about Clonakilla and the much lauded Shiraz Viognier but it’s worth mentioning that Clonakilla does offer a range of wines which deserve an equal amount of love and attention. One of those wines is the O’Riada I’m drinking tonight.
I’ve had this bottle in my fridge set at about 12˚C. I didn’t use a decanter, simply let it breathe a moment in the glass. The colour is ruby and while the nose is subtle, I do get a hint of cherry ripe. I take a good sip of wine and coat my mouth well, drawing in some oxygen. The tannin is evident immediately which I like and there is a distinct savoury note there as well. After swallowing the length is good and I get some nice leather and tobacco box. The acidity level is medium and I did pick up a fair amount of alcohol. The bottle indicates 14%. A little higher than your typical cool climate Shiraz from what I’ve experienced. The alcohol does not impact on the balance though which I think is good.
Whenever I drink Clonakilla wine I am impressed. It also reminds me that for a small region, Canberra punches well above its weight and we are pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to fabulous wine and great food.