93 Points Wine Advocate: Deep ruby. Exotic, floral and spicy on the nose, with powerful scents of cassis, kirsch, anise and dried flowers. Full-bodied and sweet, with a chewy, youthful texture and broad, deep red and dark fruit flavors. Lush and beautifully balanced, the cherry flavor building and sweetening on the long, velvety finish. A superb example of herb-free, fruit-driven cabernet.
The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Brookman Vineyard is a fleshy effort with gobs of flavor. It, too, will be approachable young but should drink well through 2026.
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. In Issue 173 I rated the Onkaparinga Grenache (92-95) and the Onkaparinga Syrah (92-95).
This vineyard was planted in 1965 in rich, chocolate-brown clay soils. It produces cabernet, merlot and syrah varieties which all exhibit a bitter chocolate, earthy/kalamata characteristic.