William Randell Shiraz 2010, Thorn-Clarke Winery, Barossa, Australia

Drunk November 2015 @ home

The winery

The name Thorn-Clarke derives literally from the relationship between two long time Barossa families. The winery owners are David and Cheryl Clarke (nee Thorn) and their daughter Nicole and son are also involved in the running of the winery. Cheryl’s father Ron Thorn has one of the oldest Shiraz vineyards in Australia on the Thorn family property ‘Clifton’ outside of Angaston which was in existence in 1854.

David Clarke’s family were pioneers in the Barossa as well but most famously in the mining of gold from the Barossa Goldfields. One of his ancestors was James Goddard who was the responsible for opening the Lady Alice gold mine in the Barossa goldfields and which was the largest gold mine in South Australia at the time. It has been David’s love of the wine industry that saw the planting of the Kabininge vineyard outside of Tanunda in 1987. The planting of the Kabininge vineyard represented the start of a deeper involvement by the family in the Barossa wine industry.

The estate has vineyards in Eden Valley and the Barossa. Within Barossa there is the Kabininge vineyard, St. Kitts and Truro.

The 33 hectare Kabininge vineyard is true Barossa Valley floor terroir,  just 270 metres above sea level, and located on dark grey to dark brown carbonaceous soils (known as Bay of Biscay) with 500mm of annual rainfall. The vineyard is predominantly Shiraz, supported by smaller plantings of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.

The St. Kitts and Truro vineyards are cooler and with lower rainfall than Kabininge and these northern Barossa vineyards totalling 103ha, are at an elevation of between 380 and 410 metres (480mm rainfall). Their micro-climate restricts yields and the thin, moderately well developed residual soils overlying marble, schist, Truro Volcanics and Heatherdale Shale necessitated a careful vineyard layout matching variety to soil type.These tough conditions make vines work hard and as a result, the flavour profile is intense and acid levels high, providing the resources for long-living red wines and full flavoured whites. Shiraz is particularly well suited to this environment. Shiraz again is the predominant variety with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Nebbiolo and Viognier.

The wine

The William Randell Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are named and created in honour of family ancestor and Australian pioneer, William Richard Randell (1824 - 1911). He emigrated to South Australia in 1837 aged 13 years with his family, only ten months after the Colony of South Australia had been founded. 

The 2010 vintage followed good winter rainfall in 2009 and allowed the vineyards to commence the 2010 season with good soil moisture levels. This soil moisture, combined with moderate weather conditions throughout most of the growing season allowed for good fruit set and canopy development.

Grapes picked: March 2010 at St Kitts vineyard

Following harvest the fruit was crushed into a variety of small fermenters (4 to 6T in capacity). Fermentation was carried out at a warm temperature (25-28°). The ferments were manually pumped over to provide good control of tannin extraction. Each fermenter was treated as a separate parcel of wine and once dry was filled to American oak (40% new). Following malolactic fermentation the wines were racked and returned to the same oak. Parcels remained in barrel for an average of 16 months prior to blending. Only the best barrels from the multiple parcels were used to make the final blend. Once blended the wine was prepared for bottling.

FermentedGrape.com tasting notes

Deep purple in the glass, the nose and palate have powerful fruit in abundance.  But this Barossa Shiraz is not overpowered by alcohol or fruit, with fine tannins with American Oak adding complexity to the character and a complex finish. This was a very enjoyable Shiraz with plenty of character and a wine I would heartily recommend.