I met Tim Kirk, the winemaker at Clonakilla, many years ago at a dinner tasting various verticals of his wines, including his now famous shiraz viognier. That the dinner ticket included a “take home” bottle of his shiraz viognier I thought was a pretty good deal at the time, though I suspect demand has firmed up a bit since then… Happily Tim is certainly one of the nicer people that you will met and he’s a very good winemaker as well. The 2011 vintage of Clonakilla’s Hilltops shiraz unfortunately I think has been defeated by the season. It has some attractive aromatics of stems, smoke, dried thyme and plum, but the palate is four square and one dimensional in expression. While it’s pleasant enough and balanced, it’s not up to the usual standard.