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Wine from Thorn Clarke - Shotfire

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Wine from Thorn Clarke - Shotfire

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

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Thorn Clarke Shotfire Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz 2015

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Thorn Clarke Shotfire Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz is made from 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Shiraz.

14 months in Oak, 40% new combination of French and American – French for Cabernet and American for Shiraz

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.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz blends are uniquely Australian and goes against the traditional wine-making grain. This wine embodies the Clarke families tendency to swim “against the current”. In the 1980’s when many growers were pulling out vines, David and Cheryl were planting.

Deep red in color with brick hues on release. Leafy Cabernet varietal Cabernet is balanced by ripe plum, licorice and slight eucalyptus characters on the nose. Upfront dark fruits and long grainy tannins dominate the palate. In addition, maturation on French oak adds spice and cedar-like characters. The wine has a distinct acid backbone which gives the wine long persistence.

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 maximize color, tannin and flavor extraction. Cooling is used to ensure ferments remain in the 22-25°C range which will allow the fruit to display maximum fruit expression.

Pairs well with Australian lamb chops, rack of lamb.

 


Review:

"The 2015 Shotfire Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz is a 76-24 blend. It favours the Cabernet in its aromas and flavour profile as well, with mint and cassis leading the way, the Shiraz serving mainly to help round out the mid-palate and provide some juiciness to offset the dry Cabernet tannins. It should drink well for several more years. - Joe Czerwinski"

- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate (Issue # 238, August 31st 2018), 91 pts

 Wine Advocate: 91
Thorn Clarke Shotfire Quartage 2016

 

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.

Review:

"Burnt confectionary, rich and juicy-grippy palate. Delivers a true varietal expression with a fine, integrated finish."

- Drinks Trade (June 2019), 92 pts

2016 Thorn-Clarke Shotfire Quartage Barossa Valley - 94 PTS & Gold Medal - MIWC

"It is sweetly fruited and fabulously fragrant on the nose showing blackberry, blueberry jam, vanilla, roasted nut and mixed spice characters, leading to a concentrated palate that is plump and fleshy. It is generous and flavoursome with plenty of delectable flavours, finishing long and satisfying. - Sam Kim."  - Wine Orbit (2019), 94 pts




 

 94 Points
Thorn Clarke Shotfire Quartage 2018

 

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 Shotfire Shiraz 2018

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.

Review:

"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

Story:

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."



 92 Points
Thorn Clarke William Randell Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (magnum)

COMMENTS
Deep red in colour. The nose is lifted and expressive with lovely Christmas cake and mint characters along with black olives and tobacco leaf adding complexity. The palate is medium to full bodied with blueberry and hints of cassis as the primary fruit flavours. The palate has great poise with the vibrant fruit, spicy French oak and fine tannin structure all wonderfully balanced, and the wine finishes with great length of fruit.

VINIFICATION NOTES
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 for maturation. The wine was racked after six months and the parcels were blended to form the final wine.

MATURATION
The wine was matured in a temperature controlled barrel hall for 16 months in French hogsheads (barrels).

VINTAGE NOTES
Average winter rainfall in 2009 resulted in good soil moisture in the 2010 growing season. This combined with moderate weather conditions through most of the growing season allowed for good fruit set and canopy development. 

HARVESTED
March 2010

"Full crimson-purple; while quite soft overall, both in fruit and tannin terms, the wine is full-bodied and fleshy, with dark chocolate and licorice joining the blackcurrant fruit and cedary oak. 14% alc."
James Halliday's TOP 100 over $20 (November 2012), 97 pts

"This Eden Valley wine displays classic Cabernet structure. It’s full-bodied and powerful, but never jammy or soft, like some Barossa Cabs. Vanilla accents pristine cassis fruit, which shows enormous depth. Drink 2018–2025, and very possibly beyond. -Joe Czerwinski"
Wine Enthusiast (April 2014)94 pts + CELLAR SELECTION

GOLD AT 2012 HOBART WINE SHOW

GOLD AT 2012 NEW ZEALAND INTERNATIONAL WINE SHOW
GOLD AT 2012 QUEENSLAND WINE SHOW
SILVER AT 2012 ADELAIDE WINE SHOW
SILVER AT 2012 CHINA WINE AND SPIRIT AWARDS
BRONZE AT 2012 BAROSSA WINE SHOW
BRONZE AT 2012 INTERNATIONAL WINE AND SPIRIT COMPETITION
BRONZE AT 2012 MELBOURNE WINE SHOW
BRONZE AT 2012 SPEIGELAU INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION (NZ)
BRONZE AT 2013 INTERNATIONAL WINE CHALLENGE

 Wine Enthusiast: 94 97 Points
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