It is an inescapable truth that the only respectable things to come out of Canberra are firecrackers, pornography, and the Barton Highway.
Clonakilla, sitting just off the Barton, is fast becoming an icon in its own right and should rightly be added to that list.
Thanks to the genius of Tim Kirk, the Clonakilla Shiraz Viognier is now one of the luminaries of the Australian wine scene. Inevitably, many have tried to follow in the footsteps of this now trendy blend, but no-one else quite manages to achieve the casual brilliance of the genuine article. If ever there was a contender for the crown so tightly held by Grange, then this (in my very humble opinion) is it. And at a fraction of the cost.
Crack the top and let the genie out of the bottle. The colour is tremendous. It blushes like an autumn peach as translucent shards of light flash through the deep-cherry red contents of the glass. Give it a swirl and the legs are longer and more shapely than a Vegas chorus-line on opening night.
The nose is a panoply of all that is good in this world. A garden of spring-time flowers. Delicious gravy scrapings from a Sunday roast. The intoxicating spice of a Marrakesh marketplace.
You can almost taste the sunshine as you swill it around your mouth. Like your grandmother's best scone, there is a good lug of raspberry jam and a generous dollop of double cream to smooth out the whole experience.
It is a wine that Dionysus himself would have enjoyed in a stupor of orgiastic glory. And then come back for seconds.
Last year's release ('07) was virtually impossible to come by. And a friend of mine made Mr Kirk recoil in horror when he recounted that he'd drunk three bottles within a week of fluking across it in a bottle shop last year. The '08 release is in greater circulation, but you'll still want to be quick - particularly as it is so good.
In short, this is the best wine I've drunk all year. And, if I can keep my mitts off the rest of the case, it will no doubt be the best wine I'll drink for the next 10 years and beyond.
A keeper - but only if you have more discipline than me.
Drink with: Restraint