Tuesday, April 2, 2013

2006 Clarendon Hills Grenache, Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard, Old Vines

This is a spectacular grenache at a great point for drinking right now, though built for another 4-5 years aging. The aromas are deeply complex, ranging from blackberry and cherry to mint and spice and pine, to vanilla, to toffee and hazelnut. Obviously this is too much to digest and distinguish at one or two sniffs so what we have here is basically, a delightful complexity. On the palate there's great balance with a long and somewhat hot finish (14.5% alcohol). There's sweet fruit and acid with soft tannins in equal measure. 94 points.

Apparently Jess Jackson, a major Calif. wine mogul whose portfolio includes the great Stonestreet Winery, bought this vineyard in 2012: The Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard has grown grapes for internationally acclaimed wines, including Penfolds Grange, Eileen Hardy and Clarendon Hills. It is comprised of more than 186 hectares (approximately 455 acres) of land, and is renowned for its elite Shiraz, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. It was established in the modern era by the Hickinbotham family, whose patriarch Alan Robb Hickinbotham was the founding father of Australian Oenology education.

Parker is very terse on this, rating it also as 94 points with aromatic complexity and aging potential.

The more rigorous grader Steven Tanzer at IWC says 93 points: Glass-staining purple. Vivid raspberry and candied flowers on the nose, with sexy Asian spices gaining power with air. Deep and sweet but focused, with impressively clean red fruit flavors and slow-building tannins. A spice note kicks in on the back end and adds energy to the deeply concentrated raspberry and candied cherry flavors. As suave as this is right now, I'd hold off on opening mine for another few years.