Consistently out-scoring Petrus, Ausone, the 5 First Growths, Grange and Hill of Grace for over 20 years…
Average 20-year score for the world's greatest wines…
Clarendon Hills Astralis - 96.6
Penfolds Grange - 94.8
Henschke Hill of Grace - 94.8
Chateau Lafite - 94.6
Chateau Petrus - 94.5
Chateau Latour - 94.4
Chateau Margaux - 94.1
Chateau Ausone - 93.9
Chateau Haut Brion - 93.7
Chateau Mouton Rothschild - 92.8
From… 94-year-old dry grown vines
6,000 bottle annual production (a fraction of the 100,000 to 120,000 bottle production of most of the above wines)
The story of Clarendon Hills wines begins in 1989 with Roman Bratasiuk driving around McLaren Vale, tasting grapes and knocking on doors.
He came across one impressive vineyard - now known across the world as Astralis (the wines are other worldly) - and he was back on February 20th the following year, on his own, picking from 6am until 9 at night and again the following day to make the first vintage of the wine that would make him world famous.
By 1996, Parker was rapturous, taking the incredible step of naming Clarendon Hills as Australia's No.1 producer. His comments on the 1994 Astralis would prove prophetic.
"This is the hottest wine in Australian wine circles, as it came out ahead of two great vintages of Henschke Hill of Grace and Penfolds Grange in a recent tasting. If readers can believe it, it is a bigger denser, more concentrated wine than the Grange."
As many readers will know, 2010 vintage in McLaren Vale was one of the classics. Astralis has received its first ever perfect score from the world's foremost wine authority and readers should note Fine Wine Delivery Co's sharp price of $549/bottle on what is a tiny NZ allocation.
"Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2010 Astralis is still quite primary eliciting aromas of black plums, blueberry compote and blackcurrant liqueur with a savory and baking spice undercurrent plus a fragrant whiff of violets. Very structured, fine and complex in the medium to full-bodied mouth, this wine is revealing much more than when I first tasted it a year ago and is now showing layer upon layer of black fruit preserves, mocha, toast and spices before finishing with great length. Extraordinary wine. Approachable now, it should cellar to 2030+.
I am grateful to Roman Bratasiuk for presenting me with small verticals from his cellar of some of his greatest vineyard sources for this report, including the Merlot (as an indication that Merlot can do well in Australia!), the Old Vines/Romas Vineyard Grenache and a vertical of the Astralis vineyard Shiraz going back to 1991. Readers should note that the 2011 vintage Clarendon Hills wines are being released a little later than usual and therefore were not available for tasting in time for this report. However, I have been informed that they will be available for tasting very soon and will hopefully make the South Australia report." Lisa Perrotti-Brown MW, eRobertParker.com