The vintage was an excellent one, not quite as exceptional as 2005, but there may be cases in which selected 2006s may eventually outshine their 2005 counterparts. All of the 2006's fell within their predicted ranges (mostly near the high end) so I will keep my comments brief. Clarendon Hills 2006 Syrahs are superb. They appear to be less structured and more forward than the 2005's and will be more approachable early on.
Under the motto of ‘purity and perfection’ Biochemist Roman Bratasiuk of Clarendon Hills has been flattering the palates of consumers and critics alike since 1989. With no formal oenological qualifications, his obsession to attain a finished product of unrivalled quality has been fuelled by a personal love of exceptional wine. At this McLaren Vale property he is now joined by sons Adam and Alex who help with management and winemaking.
Production is dedicated to varietal wines from vineyards that have exceptional soils, aspect and climatic conditions that aid optimal berry development and expression of the individual grape variety. Most vine stock is original French cuttings of more than 90 years old, which are dry farmed to prevent dilution of juice concentration. Harvesting of fruit is done by hand followed by rigorous sorting before pressing. Roman insists on using indigenous yeasts in the fermentation process as a means of expressing a sense of place and identity. This philosophy carries through to the pre-bottling stage where the wine sees no fining or filtration for maximum flavour intensity. The jewel in the crown though is the Astralis label, which is seen as an iconic wine of quality and power coming from old bush syrah vines dating back to 1920. It was this very wine that led Robert Parker to name Roman as Wine Producer of the year in 1996.
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