Like some others, I have had a few unpleasant experiences with some Clarendon grenache - bottles I had from the 1996 Clarendon vineyard were consistently flawed and undrinkable. But the 2001 Kangarilla has been flawless throughout the 12 bottles I bought on release in August 2002, including this last bottle. The 1996 was the only bad experience I have had from Clarendon and I have had most of their grenache and syrah bottlings between 1995 and 2002.
Since I tried my 1st Clarendon Hills bottle (a 2003 Kangarilla Grenache - https://www.cellartracker.com/wine.asp?iWine=47695) back in 2007, this winery stuck in my mind as a role model for Australian wines: intense, perfumed, elegant, medium bodied and not overly extracted. So drinking this bottle was accompanied by great anticipation and was both an indulgence, but also an exercise to find out if they age as well as the producer claims. After all, 13 years of bottle age is not for every wine and many people say it's too much for this one. So let's get down to it:
With a deep dark ruby / brick color, the Kangarilla Grenache 2001 clearly shows signals of age also in its aromatics: intense black fruits, liquorice, earth, meat, leather, candy, balsamic, mushrooms. Medium to full bodied, with great acidity balancing it's formidable tannins and quite high alcohol (14.5%), the result is excellent balance and a very persistent finish (20+ seconds) with an aftertaste reminiscent of black fruit liquor, glycerine, earth and syrup. Seems to have reached its peak and starting to decline.
Obs.1: While the aromatics in this bottle have very little in common with the 2003 Kangarilla Grenache I 1st tried (all about red fruits and a bit lighter also), it was definitely a pleasure to drink this complex and potent wine after extended ageing. It does seem that it won't age as well as claimed, even though other vintages might do. Will try the 2001 Romas Grenache next to see if the "big brother" does better.
Obs.2: Totally agree with TOMHERER's note (8/1/2012), this wine doesn't deserve all the criticism it has received in past tasting notes, it is indeed a wonderful wine from an iconic producer who is trying to do something very worthy (crus, as in Burgundy) and different than most Australian producers.
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