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Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate Clarendon Hills Focus Report, May 2024

Clarendon Hills Syrah 2022 5 bottles range LoRes

Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate Clarendon Hills Focus Report, May 2024

It’s been a huge month in the media for Clarendon Hills with yet another exclusive report, this time from the world-leading, international Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. For those that aren’t aware, The Wine Advocate is owned by the prestigious Michelin Group which famously awards the best restaurant stars around the world; this is the wine arm of their business and these scores are internationally benchmarked and are often much harder to achieve high ratings considering the international pedigree. The Wine Advocate has an excellent Australian-based writer named Erin Larkin whose latest report is a Clarendon Hills New Release focus article with editorial and many high-scoring reviews on the new 2022 vintage wines. It is a rarity to have a feature article in Wine Advocate; most wineries find their scores in the mix of a larger regional wrap-up report, however, Clarendon Hills is considered one of the leading wineries in the world and now we are very fortunate to have a focus article for all the new releases.

Here’s a copy of the report and accompanying scores by Wine Advocate:

Written by Erin Larkin, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

“I’ve said it before, McLaren Vale is one of Australia’s prettiest wine regions, which is saying something significant, because this country is rich in picturesque wine regions. One name known well to this publication is Clarendon Hills, and I recently had the pleasure of tasting through the 2022 releases of Astralis, Romas, the single-vineyard Shirazes and Grenaches and a number of the Cabernet Sauvignons.


But before we dive into how these wines look, let us consider the season from which they were made. The 2021 season that preceded 2022 was a sensational departure from the several dry and warm seasons that came before that. By the end of the 2020 harvest, producers were no doubt ready for any kind of change from the warm, dry and chronically low-yielding 2020 and 2019 vintages and, to a lesser extent, the 2018 vintage before that. 2021 rolled in and, with healthy pre-drought yields and a long and mild season, producers were generally thrilled about the ease and grace of the weather. The 2021 season will long be remembered, by me at least, for gifting producers a plethora of choice. When to pick, what to pick, what to make, how to make it… it was such a lovely time that producers really were free to pursue whatever they wanted. This led to some surprisingly big, higher-alcohol wines made than perhaps I expected, and as a result, the wines were not as consistent as the extraordinary weather. Now, consider 2022, a glorious pair to the 2021 year, and not too dissimilar in terms of climatic conditions. Yields were good, perhaps a little down on 2021 but still good, and the weather was cool and dry and generally devoid of aggressive heat spikes that can so impact smooth ripening through the growing season. We have a repeat—of sorts—of 2021, and this time around the wines are much more elegant. In the case of Clarendon Hills, the wines are still concentrated, muscular, rippling and powerful, but they are balanced, fine and pure, as well.

Wow, to say we are pleased would be an understatement. It is a great thrill to be assessed at the very top of the tree within Australian wine and receive an exclusive, Clarendon Hills focus report. Here are the scores and tasting notes below to review.

Thank you Erin for such a comprehensive report and also for our first-ever New Release focus report. Below features all of the scores and tasting notes for the new 2022’s.

Clarendon Hills Syrah 2022 5 bottles range LoRes

2022 Astralis Syrah

I don’t mind taking my time with the other Clarendon Hills wines today, because all the while, this 2022 Astralis Syrah is opening in the glass. Truth be told, we should probably aim to decant this for a while prior to drinking or, at the very least, get the cork out and let it gently aerate that way, such is the density of fruit and tannin on show here. This inky rendition of Astralis is a lighter, more spacious wine than the 2021 Astralis, which was tightly coiled and firm—although I am excited to see where that wine will go in the future. Here, we have salted licorice, star anise, a hint of cinnamon and loads of black peppercorns, pink as well. There is also arnica, a hint of walnut, raspberry, tobacco, roasted meat crust, blood and drippings. There is a sweet roasted marrow character—straight from the bone—that I love, and this is loaded to the brim with powdery, fine tannins that emphasizes this. The tannins are seamless. What a super wine. It has so much flavor. But it’s not a weighty thing; it is substantial but elegant, silty. 14.5% alcohol, sealed under Diam.
98/100 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Erin Larkin

Clarendon Hills Australis 2022 2 bottles with glass decanter LoRes

2022 Romas Grenache

The 2022 Romas Grenache is a fiercely concentrated and serious structured wine, with a constellation of flavor and texture that makes up the sum of what it is. On the nose, there is milk chocolate, star anise, blackberry, raspberry, aniseed, sweet blonde tobacco, scraped vanilla pod, cracked pistachios and Australian sandalwood. In the mouth, the wine offers all of these characters and lays the texture on the tongue like a weighted blanket. It is brilliantly structured, dense and concentrated yet balanced, with dehydrated orange peel, peated whisky, chinotto and flame-roasted walnuts. It’s also velvety, which would be remiss of me not to mention. This is a serious offering of everything: flavor, tannin and regionality. Stylistically, it sort of runs counter to the McLaren Vale “trend” toward lightness at the moment, but it does so with such conviction and classicism that it nails it. This is a super wine. 14.5% alcohol, sealed under Diam.
97/100 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Erin Larkin

Clarendon Hills Romas Grenache 2022 2 bottles with glass decanter HiRes

2022 Onkaparinga Grenache

The 2022 Onkaparinga Grenache is possessed of quite a savory nose: chewing tobacco, green olive tapenade, pastrami, dried goji berries, hints of licorice and aniseed, all of it set among a profusion of raspberry coulis and summer berries. In the mouth, the wine is supple and exceptionally well-balanced: plenty of fruit is shaped by firm yet fine tannins, and the length of flavor allows us time to taste the exotic spices and the spectrum of fruit flavor, with the full force of the tannins on show. This textural aspect of the wine is perhaps one of the most exciting parts about it as a drinking experience: ductile, shapely and gently gravelly. The wine has a scraped vanilla pod character that serves to enhance the sensation of plushness within the fruit, and I suspect it will fade into the background given time. Smart wine. 14% alcohol, sealed under Diam.
96/100 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Erin Larkin

Clarendon Hills Onkaparinga Grenache 2022 2 bottles with glass decanter LoRes

2022 Onkaparinga Syrah

The 2022 Onkaparinga Syrah is bright and pert—so vibrant, in fact. The fruit is exciting and layered, with loads of tannins (which I love), but I am surprised about the vivacity of the acidity. It threatens to overwhelm the substantial fruit detailing—crispy bacon fat, roasted meat crust (as with the 2021 last year) and lashings of blackberry/raspberry characters. The gently grippy tannins are a highlight for me; they show sumac and star anise, a hint of clove and cracked pink peppercorn. Having just opened a bottle of the 2020 Onkaparinga Syrah at my home this week (dinner, steaks, an assortment of high-quality Australian Syrah ensued), I am well aware of how slowly and gracefully this ages. I believe the wine will settle into its tannic framework and give significant pleasure in the future. 14% alcohol, sealed under Diam.

95/100 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Erin Larkin

Clarendon Hills Onkaparinga Syrah 2022 with glass and decanter LoRes

2018 Domaine Clarendon BDX

The 2018 Domaine Clarendon BDX is composed of 55% Merlot and 45% Cabernet Sauvignon. Now this is impressive. It has hints of leaf aromatically, but overall, this is totally on point in terms of complexity and texture. This is awesome, with hints of iodine, tobacco leaf and supple attractive pliable tannins. Wowee, this is delicious—well played. Tasted at the estate in 2022.

95/100 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Erin Larkin

Domaine Clarendon BDX

2017 Domaine Clarendon BDX

The 2017 Domaine Clarendon BDX is composed of 60% Merlot, with the balance being Cabernet Sauvignon. It is fleshy, leafy and varietal—cassis, dark chocolate, briney acidity, some bay leaf and herbs—with notes of raspberry seeds and licorice. It is very smart, with graphite charcoal tannins. Tasted at the estate in 2022.

95/100 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Erin Larkin

Domaine Clarendon BDX

2022 Domaine Clarendon Syrah

The 2022 Domaine Clarendon Syrah is all black spice and tannin, crushed rocks and petrichor, minerals and black fruits. An excellent wine, it is elegant, chewy, supple and saturated in fruit flavor yet draped over a pliable framework of chewy tannin. This is a ripper and an unassailably great value at $40 AUD. 14% alcohol, sealed under Diam

94+/100 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Erin Larkin

Clarendon Hills Food Wine Jan31 2022 6492 HiRes

2022 Sandown Syrah

The 2022 Sandown Syrah leads with a sweet, blackberry nose. It is effusive with aniseed, sweet licorice, a hint of arnica and fresh mint. In the mouth, it is possessed of a deep forest/truffle/lichen character alongside blueberry, char and spice. It is supple, plush and velvety and pure, in its way. I love the tannins: powdery, gravelly and a little chewy. This is savory and good. 13.5% alcohol, sealed under Diam.

94/100 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Erin Larkin

Clarendon Hills Sandown Syrah 2022 with glasses decanter LoRes

2022 Liandra Syrah

The 2022 Liandra Syrah leads with a pronounced gravelly nose of bitumen, black fruit, coal dust, tar and black olive tapenade. In the mouth, the wine is earthy and almost mineral, with a cascade of blueberry and blackberry, arnica and medicinal herbs. It’s really an austere wine, in its way; it is incredibly plush as well, but there is the blackness, the earthiness and the sleekness of it. All told, it is austere and tight. An interesting wine, I believe it will age very well. 13.5% alcohol, sealed under Diam.

93/100 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate, Erin Larkin

21 liandra syrah

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