Thursday, December 5, 2013

Kirrihill Italian Varieties

Kirrihill is a fairly new, quite large winery in the Clare Valley. The range of Italian wines is produced in small volumes, though. Hamish Seabrook is its experienced winemaker.

When I tasted the range of the 2012 wines, I was confronted with a number of strange and unfortunate choices.

The 2012 Kirrihill Sangiovese tastes hot and alcoholic, not surprising given an alcohol content of 14.9%. This also masks the characteristics of Sangiovese flavour and is very unusual for this variety.

Score: 85/--

Montepulciano is a grape variety  originally from the Abruzzo region in Italy - not to be confused with the Sangiovese called Montepulciano, based on the Tuscan village -. It can handle heat well and is being talked about as a replacement of Shiraz should temperatures in hot regions like the Barossa or Clare raise further. However, the 2012 Kirrihill Montepulciano comes from the Adelaide Hills, a weird choice. The wine is clean and fleshy, but a bit harsh and not very forgiving in the mouth.

Score: 87/-

The 2012 Kirrihill Nebbiolo follows the unfortunate Australian trend of releasing this variety after one year. Nebbiolo is a small grape, with a high pulp-to-flesh ratio and intense tannins. This variety needs time to soften. This wine is very dry and dusty, and the fruit too thin for the tannins. The wine falls off somewhat at the finish.

Score: 86/-

Overall, an underwhelming experience, largely based on unexpected winemaking choices.

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