Clonakilla Ballinderry 2005

Canberra’s not known for its Cabernet-based wines, but I’ve enjoyed several vintages of this, Clonakilla’s version of a Bordeaux blend. It underwent a name change a couple of years ago but otherwise remains the same. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, more or less in equal measures.Savoury aromas that show dried blackcurrant, flowers, meatiness and cedary oak. This is certainly not a berry-driven, straightforward aroma profile. Instead, it’s a bit funky and austere, and is about definition, not generosity. The palate shows more of the same, with the oak translating to a pencil shaving note that is prominent without becoming unbalanced. Flavour through the entry and mid palate sits in the higher registers, in that the dark berry fruit is edgy and taut, intense and complex, and doesn’t relax enough to generate a sense of richness or plushness. Partly, this is due to very fine tannins that dry the mouth from a relatively early point in the wine’s line, but I suspect it’s also a matter of style. Certainly not a criticism, but rather indicative of where the wine is “at” right now. Fruit sings linearly through the after palate, and continues on to a good finish. This is a pretty serious wine of high quality that really needs some time to relax, fatten out and become more drinkable. That said, give it a good decant or some vigorous swirling, and you’ll be drinking an elegant wine that will give you something to think about if your mood tends to more analytical tasting. After an hour or so in the glass, it’s already gaining some weight and depth, which seems to indicate a promising future.ClonakillaPrice: $A35Closure: StelvinDate tasted: May 2008

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