Thorn Clarke Shotfire Shiraz is made from 100% Shiraz.
Striking deep red-purple in color. A rich, voluptuous wine with aromas of blackcurrant and mulberries accompanied by notes of smokey oak and hints of cloves. The palate is filled with dark fruits and chocolate backed up by taut tannins and lingering oak.
"Destemmed, pressed approximately 7 days later, 14 months in American oak (40% new). Rich, layered, mocha/chocolate overtones to the black berry fruits are obvious."
- Halliday Wine Companion (August 2020), 92 pts
When the Clarke forebearers discovered gold in 1870 at the Lady Alice mine in the Barossa goldfields, so began a family dynasty intrigued by geology. A fine legacy that is reflected today in the terroir of our vineyards. The Shotfire range immortalizes the Shotfirer's hazardous job of setting and lighting the charges in the mines.
Fran shares his story on how he discovered Thorn-Clarke:
"It was October 2001 and I was searching for and sourcing for Australian wines, as it was clear that Australia was going to become the "next big thing." After tasting about 100 assorted wines, I decided I liked the style of Barossa, Shiraz best - chocolate, cherries, mint and eucalyptus - so I started focusing on Barossa growers (years later, Barossa Shiraz would develop its reputation as the Icon Shiraz for Australia).
Late on a Thursday afternoon, the carrier delivered a beat-up box of 12 bottles from Australia, 10 of which were leaking. The box was from a guy named Steve Machin, who had just left Hardy's and was beginning work with the Clarke family on setting up a possible new brand. The samples were sticky and messy, but I popped the corks anyway ..... and I was glad that I did. The wine inside tasted like Christmas - mint, eucalyptus, camphor, and evergreen aromas. Great acidity, color, flavor and length of finish - very tasty. These samples were so good and so exciting, especially compared to what I had tasted prior, that I immediately called the number on the card. I didn't realize that it was a Perth number (Western Australia) and it was actually 3:00 in the morning. It turned out I was calling the residence of David and Cheryl Clarke, where a sleepy Cheryl answered the phone. I told her, you don't know who I am, but we are going to be doing business together very soon, and lots of it! After a few months of talking, faxing (yes, faxing) and sorting out the details, I began importing their wines.
That super-star wine from the busted box of samples is the wine we know today as Shotfire Shiraz. It was originally called Stone Jar, but fortunately we came up with a better name. Many years and vintages later, I'm still glad to be importing Shotfire Shiraz and other Thorn-Clarke selections .... and I'm still glad that Cheryl Clarke woke up for that phone call."
Thorn Clarke Shotfire GSM is made from 51% Grenache, 39% Shiraz, 10% Mourvedre.
The Shotfire range honors a family pioneer who worked the Barossa goldfields in the late 1800's. He had the hazardous job of being a 'Shotfirer'; one who handled the explosives to be used in finding that rich vein of gold.
A classic blend of the traditional stalwarts from the Barossa, this blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvèdre is sourced from older low yielding vines.
Bright crimson in color with purple highlights at the edge of the glass. The nose is lifted and draws you in with ripe plum, mulberry and white pepper. The palate is plush and vibrant with cherries, forest fruits and enticing spice. As silky and smooth as it is complex and savory - the wine is beautifully balanced and juicy with great structure and generous mouthfeel. This classic GSM finishes with long, velvety tannins.
Each variety was destemmed and fermented separately - in small 6 tonne open fermenters - to allow full expression of varietal character. To ensure optimum extraction of tannins, color and flavor the Grenache was pumped over twice daily for a duration of 10 days and both the Shiraz and Mourvedre spent 7 days on skins with pump overs twice daily. Fermentation temperatures were maintained between 22-25 degrees to retain fruit purity. All batches were pressed off and once both primary alcoholic fermentation and secondary malolactic fermentation were complete the wines were then racked to new (10%) and 10 year old French hogsheads where the wines matured for a period of 18 months. Bench blends were created to ensure a harmonious final wine.
Pairs best with slow Cooked Lamb or Roasted Vegetable Medley.
Thorn Clarke Shotfire Quartage is made from 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, 14% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot .
The fruit was harvested at night. Fermentation was carried out in a variety of small capacity fermenters. After pressing the parcels were filled to French oak (12 months) for maturation. The wine was racked after six months and the parcels were blended to form the final wine.
Thorn Clarke Eden Trail Shiraz is made from 100 percent Shiraz.
Lifted aromas of spicy dark cherries with a hint of cedary oak. A medium to full bodied wine; the palate is a maze of spice, pepper and dark fruits, the finish is bright and refreshingly clean.
Picked during the cool of night. An intentional minimalistic approach to winemaking to ensure the vineyard character sings. Fermented with a small percentage of stalks and whole berries, in small open fermenters and hand worked twice daily. Warm fermentation is followed by maturation in French oak barrels for 12-16 months (depending on parcel). Minimal fining and filtration prior to bottling.
Asian foods, beef, duck, hard cheese, game, smoked fish, dark chocolate.
Another very good vintage for this wine, brimming with fresh and bright fruit aromas and flavors. The plum, blackberry and red berry characters are juicy and ripe with no hint of jamminess, and there's a feeling of liveliness and buoyancy on the palate. A dash of pepper and a seasoning of oak add some complexity, and the tannin is gentle but firm enough to do its job. - James Halliday" - Halliday Wine Companion, 95 pts
Thorn Clarke William Randell Shiraz is made from 100 percent Shiraz
The William Randell range of wines were created in honor of our family ancestor - the esteemed pioneer William Richard Randell (1824 - 1911). The wines are sourced solely from grapes grown on our estate vineyards. Wines in this range are only made in exceptional vintages.
Deep red with inky purple hues. This classic Barossa style shows rich blackberry, licorice, spice plum and smoky oak on the nose. The palate is dense with ripe mulberry and berry compote and generous supporting oak. The tannins are savory and long with spicy refined finish
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 degrees ). 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 18 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.
"From the estate St Kitts and Milton Park Vineyards, night-harvested, each block separately vinified in 4t open fermenters, matured for 18 months in American oak (40% new). A powerful, full-bodied shiraz with blackberry fruit, tannins and oak all driving the long palate. The absorption of the oak into the fabric of the wine is particularly impressive."
- Halliday Wine Companion (August 2020), 95 pts
Thorn Clarke Terra Barossa Shiraz is made from 100 percent Shiraz
Deep purple red. Aromas of ripe plums, cherries and earth with subtle notes of vanilla and cloves. The aromas follow through onto the palate with a fruit focus, subtle oak notes and soft, rounded tannins. The wine walks the line between medium and full bodied with a plush mouthfeel.
The grapes are crushed and de-stemmed into fermenters. Yeast is added immediately once in fermenter and the ferments are pumped over twice daily to maximise colour, tannin and flavour extraction. Cooling is used to ensure ferment temperatures remain in the 22-25 degree celcius range which will allow the fruit to display maximum fruit expression. Pressing then occurs approximately seven days after crushing and the wine is then put into predominately American oak to mature.
"Estate-grown, crushed and destemmed, twice-daily pumpovers in the fermenter, 12 months in French oak. Deluxe treatment for a $20 wine. It is medium-bodied, and over-delivers on its price. Mouthfilling satsuma plum and blackberry compote. - James Halliday"
- Halliday Wine Companion, 91 pts
Thorn Clarke Shotfire Shiraz is made from 100% Shiraz.
On release Thorn Clarke Shotfire Shiraz has a deep purple colour with a red hue. The wine has a lifted nose of clean blackberry fruit accompanied by mocha and spice. The palate displays sweet fruit characters dominated by blackberry and plum, complimented by cinnamon, clove and nutmeg characters. The wine is full bodied with natural tannin and oak maturation adding texture and complexity to the wine.
Spring rainfall was well below average with several days reaching 30°C. The growing season had even temperatures and little rainfall. Ripening was slow and steady leading to the development of good tannin structure and fruit characters.
The grapes were de-stemmed into fermenters. Ferments were pumped over twice daily to maximize color, tannin and flavor extraction. Cooling is used to ensure ferments remain in the 22-25°C range which allows maximum fruit expression in the wine. Pressing occurs approximately seven days after fermentation commences and the wine is then filled to American oak to mature (14 months in 40% new American hogsheads with the balance going into 2nd and 3rd fill barrels).
"Good color; an immaculately balanced and elegant medium-bodied shiraz, benefiting from the cool vintage that has blown freshness into so many wines. Blackberry and red cherry both in the ring. - James Halliday"
- Halliday Wine Companion, 95 pts
The Thorn Clarke Shotfire Estate
The winery owners are David and Cheryl Clarke (born Thorn) and their son Sam is the manager of the winery. The Thorn-Clarke family has a long history in the Barossa - six generations of involvement in the region's world famous wine industry. The Thorns have been grape growers in the Barossa since the 1870's. David Clarke's passion for the wine industry lead to the planting of the Kabininge vineyard outside of Tanunda in 1987, which represents the start of a deeper involvement by the family in the Barossa wine industry.
Thorn-Clarke Wines was launched in 2002 as a result of the 37 year marriage between David and Cheryl Clarke (nee Thorn). The Thorn family have grown vines in the Barossa since the 1870’s and still proudly own and manage some of the oldest vineyards in the region.
The wine is another reward for geologist David Clarke and his family. The family has planted four diverse Barossa vineyards over the last 20 years, enabling them to blend wines grown from different terroirs which adds complexity and richness to the wine.
“When we started out 20 years ago I knew from my geological research that the varied Barossa geology and soil types offered us a broad palate to work with. Then when we started making trial blends in the 1990s it became clear that the vineyards complemented each other brilliantly and provided us with a new level of flavor complexity. We have blended to take advantage of these sub regional and micro climatic characteristics.”
“Our philosophy is to over-deliver in terms of the quality we offer at each price level. Wine lovers remember wines which are stunning value and we work hard to ensure that whether people buy the Sandpiper range at $15 or the Shotfire range at $23 they are drinking wines that are excellent value for money.” -David Clarke
The Thorn Clarke Shotfire Vineyards
Outstanding parcels of 100% Barossa Valley fruit are selected from the Kabininge vineyard for these wines which then receive special oak maturation treatment in our Barossa cellars. The result is a rich and voluptuous Barossa Shiraz and an exciting Cuvée.
Vinification techniques: crushing and de-stemming into open fermenters. Pumping over twice daily to maximise color, tannin and flavor extraction. Cooling is used to ensure ferments remain in the 22-25°C range which will allow the wine to display maximum fruit expression. Pressing then occurs approximately 7 days after crushing and the resulting wine is put into French and American oak.
“The key to good Malbec is being able to successfully ripen the fruit. Our St Kitts vineyard at the Northern end of the Barossa provides a fantastic environment to do that.”
“The Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc fruit come from the old vine Kabininge Block near Krondorf on the Barossa Valley flore and they provide wonderful upfront berry fruits; the Malbec from the drier northern St Kitts vineyard balances the cool climate Angaston vineyard Petit Verdot which provides great depth of flavor and intensity, while the Merlot, also from St Kitts, gives the palate a wonderful suppleness. The grainy tannins add to the rich mouth feel of the wine.” -Sam Clarke
Finca del Castillo Tempranillo La Mancha is made from 30 year old vine Tempranillo (100%).
This pretty little red has a flavor reminiscent of good Cotes du Rhone. Medium bodied, flavorful; hints of raspberry and strawberry. Shows best with picnic fare and grilled meats. Perfect summer red.
Betz Family La Serenne Syrah is 100% Syrah
La Serenne is the most reflective of the site/vintage dynamic of our three single-site 2012 Syrahs. Lovers of this wine know that its source, the Boushey Vineyard, is the highest altitude of the three vineyards and is typically the latest harvested. This cool site was accentuated by the cooler season and the results reflect the seriousness of this vineyard and its care.
An extraordinary, nearly impenetrable black purple color leads to a concentrated, inky aromatic impression: smoky black cherry and wild blackberry dominate, but a litany of supporting aromas is already emerging: smoke, violet, mushroom, roasted meat, Chinese 5 spice and minerals. It has a full attack on entry and a big, rich mouthfeel that goes on and on.
2012 is our 13th harvest from this site and these rows. We continue to be impressed with the chameleon nature of this vineyard, in cool years and hot, in heat spikes and cool springs: it provides us with surprises and opportunities at every harvest. While the themes of deep black fruits and pliant structure always surface, the nuance of this vineyard and its care (thank you, Dick Boushey) make it some of the most satisfying fruit we work with every harvest.
"The pure, elegant and textured 2014 Syrah la Serenne offers that classic violet and floral characteristics of the cuvee, as well as medium to full-bodied richness, lots of black raspberry fruit, fine, sweet tannin and a great finish. It’s not as powerful or concentrated as the La Cote Rousse, yet it’s a joy to drink and will cruise for a decade or more on its balance and purity. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #225, June 2016), 93 pts
Orin Swift Cellars Mercury Head Cabernet is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot.
Dark violet with a ruby crown, the wine exhibits classic Napa Cabernet aromatics with our style: black fruits—plum and cherry—dark chocolate, leather and Rutherford Dust coalesce from the glass. The entry is elegant and begins to flood the palate with notes of cassis, blackberry, blueberry, caramel and a touch of brown sugar and cinnamon: rich and bold. Seamless and focused, the wine closes with lingering dusty tannins and a touch of baking chocolate.