93 Points Wine Advocate: Clarendon Hills' Merlot can be very interesting. Their 2004 Merlot Brookman Vineyard, while displaying a certain herbal character, offers gorgeous layers of white chocolate, sweet black cherries, and a hint of espresso roast. With terrific fruit, an opulent texture, and a fleshy, up-front style, it is best consumed over the next 7-8 years.
The 2004 Brookman Merlot highlights the quality of the fruit that is produced from forty-six year old vines, planted on deep clay soils. This intense Merlot is dark ruby in color and offers aromas of herbs, rich blueberries, blackberries and hints of coffee bean. On the palate the wine reveals intense dark chocolate, plums, mocha and earth spices. It is a powerful Merlot with wonderful layered precision and elegance.
Clarendon Hills, 25 miles south of Adelaide, was established in 1989 by Roman Bratasiuk, the owner/winemaker. Since its establishment just over a decade ago Clarendon Hills has had amazing success. Clarendon Hills has received excellent reviews from both critics and publications alike. From The Wine Advocate to the Wine Companion and Wine Spectator, to being named as one of Robert Parker's 'Wine Producers of the Year' in his newsletter Issue 108 - Clarendon Hills continues to impress. In August 2003, Robert Parker (Wine Advocate) names Clarendon Hills as one of Australia and the world's greatest wineries.
This vineyard was planted in 1965 in rich, chocolate-brown clay soils. It produces cabernet, merlot and syrah varieties which all exhibit sweet, chocolate, earthy characteristics. The merlot patch is typically the earliest to ripen on this property.