The Barossa Valley was for too long synonymous with high alcohol, over-oaked, over-sweet, entry-level Shiraz and Chardonnay. The extensive vine-pulling in the 1970s and ‘80s to make way for those two grapes, fortunately did not extend to the Kalleske estate from which the Grenache, Shiraz and Mataro (“GSM”) grapes in this blend originate. As you can read in the Limited Edition Kalleske Old Vine Shiraz notes, the Kalleske family has been growing grapes in the region since the 1800s. Clarry, after whom this wine is named, is Clarence, a 4th generation Kalleske who tended the vines till his retirement in 1990 and is grandfather of the current wine-maker.
Grenache provides fruit and alcohol to a blend and in the Clarry’s GSM is from old vines dating back to the 1940s and 1960s which helps provide concentrated flavours. Shiraz adds structure and perfume and Mataro or Mourvèdre tannins and savoury flavours. To preserve the superb fresh fruit flavours of the wine, it was aged in very old oak hogsheads and only for a limited time of six months. Larger, used barrels mean the oak flavours are not so intense.
The 2013 Clarry’s is deep in colour, quite full-bodied and complex; aromas are predominantly fruity with ripe raspberries, mulberries and plums with hints of dried herbs and cloves. It is mouth-wateringly rich with juicy fruit flavours – both red and black fruits including cherries and ripe plums – and hints of milk chocolate and mocha coffee. Tannins are evident and there is a little heat from the alcohol but neither is by any means over-whelming. This is quite a hearty, warming wine but at the same time rich and smooth with lovely flavours that last a long, long time.
Update Feb 2017: I had forgotten how delicious this wine is. Still warming but it has softened further and is really super smooth now.
Drink with ribeye or sirloin steaks, roast ham, lamb, turkey, game and with spicy foods such as Indonesian, Chinese or Mexican dishes; as it is not too heavy this wine can also be drunk on its own
“Clarry’s 2013 is bright purple-black in colour. It is very lifted with aromas of dark rose perfume, cherries, fruit cake, musk, raspberries, milk chocolate and spice. The palate is very juicy and packed with dense flavours of bright red and black fruits. Full flavoured, round and harmonious, natural chalky tannins add structure and texture.
Limited maturation in seasoned barrels has added complexity while respecting the fruit purity that is the hallmark of this wine. Clarry’s is solid with enough power but under control giving good balance. It is a mouth filling wine that is completed by a very lengthy finish. This is an approachable, fruit-driven and opulent wine that is best enjoyed now or over the next five years.”
96 Points James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion Mar 2014
“All organically estate-grown... Full crimson-purple, marvellously rich and complete, with a plush array of red and black fruits with some chocolate and fruitcake, plus perfectly pitched tannins. One of the great all-time bargains”.
James Halliday, Australian Wine Companion 2014 Edition
5 Star Winery & one of the Best Wineries of the Barossa Valley Region
89 points Robert Parker May 2014
“Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2013 Clarry’s GSM shows off a nose laced with notes of kirsch, red plum preserves and red currant jelly with hints of pepper, lavender and Provence herbs. Medium to full-bodied, the palate gives a good amount of expressive red fruit flavors supported by chewy tannins and a long finish with a pleasant herbal lift. Drink it now to 2018+.“