Canberra region, ACT

Clonakilla is a must-visit winery near Canberra ACT

By Kath for the Weekender Travel

September 7, 2020 | 3 minute read

I visit many wineries (always incognito). It's one of the things I love about being part of The Weekender. So last weekend I visited the cellar door of a winery I have long known about - Clonakilla. And it blew me away! The stunning setting, the welcoming and stylish atmosphere, the incredibly friendly staff,  and ultimately - some of the best wines I have EVER tried. I mean BEST EVER.

We were travelling with friends, their adult kids and ours. A fun weekend away. Staying in Murrumbateman, NSW of course we wanted to visit some wineries.  We made a few bookings and Clonakilla was last on the list for Saturday afternoon. We arrived, went through the COVID hand sanitiser routine, settled ourselves at a large table and the journey began.

* At the time of writing, activities and places mentioned in this guide are at varying stages of recovery from COVID-19. Please check government and business websites for specific details on opening times and any restrictions before you travel.

Tim Kirk, Chief Winemaker
Tim Kirk, Chief Winemaker

We started with the 2019 Riesling. Seriously - I could almost have stopped there. It is stunning! Soft, smooth, and with a hint of fruit sweetness, it does that delicate-but-intense thing that only a great wine can. It’s super.

Next we were offered the 2018 and 2019 Chardonnay. We alternated around the table and came down on the side of the 2018 offering. This flavour-packed white is a a guaranteed crowd-pleaser - light, with a bright yellow hue, it has a refined citrusy fruit taste.

After the delights of the whites - we made our way through four reds. But here are the standouts -
2017 Western Vineyard Viognier
This wine comes from the seven rows of Shiraz next to the winery, planted in 1990. With 50% whole bunches. 6% Viognier, it spent two years in new French puncheons. And the result is a beautiful wine with a fine silk texture, crispness, length and red berry flavours that are very pleasing to the palate.

2018 Shiraz Viognier
The Shiraz Viognier is the wineries flagship red - made with a careful selection of the best of the Shiraz Viognier parcels from the Murrumbateman vineyard. Well formed tannins frame the complex fruit flavours of cherries, raspberries, red plums - making this a fine and elegant wine that will age amazingly.

Described by Huon Hooke as a "cracking wine, one of winemaker Tim Kirk’s best", he notes that the "tannins are fine and firm, tautly tensioned and precise, running the full length of the very long palate. A delicious wine in a medium-bodied but seriously structured style."

Whether you're a wine-buff, part-time connoisseur or just looking for a delightful winery visit that is guaranteed to deliver - Clonakilla is the place to go.

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