99 Point Wine Advocate: The flagship of Clarendon Hills is the 2006 Syrah Astralis Vineyard. It is holding more in reserve but when it has fully blossomed in another 10-15 years my score may appear conservative. Roman Bratasiuk’s Clarendon Hills is one of the world’s great wine estates. The wines are all 100% varietal, produced from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Grenache, and Syrah. The vineyards are all ungrafted, planted on their own roots, most of them with very old vines. Only French oak is utilized, seasoned barrels for the Grenache, 100% new for the Merlot and Cabernets, and 50-100% new for the Syrahs depending upon the vineyard. The wines typically spend 18 months in oak prior to bottling without fining or filtration. All of the above 2006 bottlings were reviewed from barrel samples in Issue 173. 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 2006s 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 2005s and will be more approachable early on. As an aside, Clarendon Hills’ USA importer does not bring in the Onkaparinga Grenache and Syrah cuvees.
A big wine, but amazingly supple, graceful and pure, offering cascades of wild blueberry, black cherry and plum fruit that play against spices such as cardamom, clove and black pepper. It's all seamlessly integrated with fine tannins and enough creamy oak to complete the picture. Syrah. Drink now through 2020.
Despite being treated and managed in the same manner as all of Clarendon Hills’ vineyards, this one attracts global attention. This is due to its incredible expression, classic demeanour and timeless elegance. This vineyard was planted in 1920 on a 45º degree, ascending slope. It faces due-east and has a top soil layer of pebble-ridden clay and subsoil layer of pure ironstone. The site was once trellised, but now these stately vines are farmed as they grow, without trellising.