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Inky, deep red-purple. A rich, dark fruit nose with lifted liquorice and lashings of chocolatey oak. The palate is dense and powerful with mouth filling presence. Intense dark fruits and cocoa with hints of smoke and spice. The tannins are firm and powerful but integrate well with the ripe fruit and give the palate impressive presence.
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The Ron Thorn Shiraz is made as a tribute to Cheryl Clarkes father, Ron. Ron was a quintessential Australian bloke, hard working, with a wry sense of humour and a strong belief of the difference between right and wrong. Our Ron Thorn Shiraz is a reflection of Cheryl’s father, made from the best fruit and produced only in exceptional years, the wine is given the benefit of 20 months of barrel maturation and 6 months in bottle prior to release.
Parcels of fruit for this wine were identified by the winemakers. Daily fruit inspection led to the fruit being harvested at optimum flavour ripeness. The fruit was harvested at night and transported to the winery. It is then de-stemmed into 6T open fermenters for fermentation. A Shiraz specific yeast was selected to ferment the wine and fermentation was carried out at a maximum of 28°C. The fermenter was manually pumped over twice daily. Pump over regimes were adjusted toward the end of fermentation to suit the tannin and flavour extraction of the wine. The cap was completely broken up on each pump over. The wine remained in fermenters for 6-8 days (dependent on parcel) before being pressed, inoculated with malolactic bacteria and filled to American oak (100% new barrels). The wine was racked post malolactic fermentation and returned to the same barrels. The wine was topped every month and after six months racked and returned to the same barrels again. Prior to bottling the parcels were emptied from oak and blended. Minimal fining and filtration was carried out prior to bottling
a rich history
The 1870s were a very special decade for our family tree and its roots in the Barossa. One side settled on the fruit farm that would nurture some of the region’s oldest vineyards along with six generations of viticulturists. The other side, meanwhile, discovered a different treasure buried in the bounteous Barossa soil: the region’s first gold mine.
Now, call it luck. Call it mere coincidence, if you wish but 100 years later, the two sides came together in a union that created our family, our winery and, some might say, our destiny: to produce wines worthy of gold.
a leap of faith
In 1987, David and Cheryl Clarke bought their first property, Kabininge, near Tanunda. The family started to plant vines and it could all have ended right there. As the baby vines grew, David and Cheryl’s kids, Sam and Nicole, were conscripted to help water, prune and pick, all by hand. These were the hard yards.
This is when Cheryl took charge and called in her family, the Thorns. Her father, Ron, and her brothers soon had the vineyard in premium condition, and it started to bear fruit – very good fruit, in fact – a tribute to David’s site selection and the Thorns’ vineyard management.
For over 10 years, the vineyards developed a fine reputation and the fruit was sold to neighbouring winemakers, who turned it into award-winning wines. This was pleasing, but hardly fulfilling.
The leap of faith was taken with the 1998 vintage – small batches of Shiraz were made through to wine – and so began the Thorn-Clarke story.
Gold – New Zealand Wine Show 2018
Silver – International Wine Challenge 2019
Silver – International Wine & Spirit Competition 2018
97 Points – Sam Kim, Wine Orbit
A profound offering; the gloriously complex bouquet shows dark fruit richness together with vanilla pod, cocoa, smoked game, cedary wood and warm spice characters, leading to a concentrated palate that is opulent and velvety. The wine exhibits magnificent depth and intensity, superbly supported by seamlessly woven tannins, finishing impressively long and engaging.
96 Points – Bob Campbell MW
Thorn-Clarke’s flagship red lives up to its lofty status with intense and concentrated Christmas cake-like characters including dried fruits, chocolate/mocha and spices together with liquorice and a generous oak influence. The wine handles its generous 15.5% alcohol perfectly. Surprisingly good now but definitely one for the cellar.
94- 96 Points – Robert Parker Wine Advocate September 2018
Full-bodied, rich and concentrated, the 2016 Ron Thorn Shiraz delivers classy hints of pencil shavings, dense, plummy fruit and almost meaty-savoury intensity. Tannic, with a dry, velvety finish, give it a few years to soften further.
94 Points – Halliday Wine Companion 2021
The best of the 40 batches of grapes vinified in the vintage, from Block 7 of the St Kitts Vineyard. Matured for 20 months in 100% new American oak, which combines with the tannins to thickly coat the mouth. Needs many years to soften the overall impact of the wine.
93 Points – James Suckling
A big statement in glass, this heavy bottle holds a richly styled shiraz that is packed with dark plums and blackberries, as well as some redder-fruit nuances, all dressed in baking spices and toasty timber. The palate is very plush and very rich, carrying good concentration of red plums.
93 Points – Toni Patterson MW, The Real Review
A young wine that is craving some cellar time. Deeply-coloured with intense dark fruit and chocolate and raisin accents. The palate is nicely knitted together with youthful tension and chewy tannin. Lie down for a few years to allow the palate to soften and evolve.