Thorn-Clarke are something special. A winegrower of such pedigree, tradition and self-assurance that you are left wondering how on earth they have passed you by, unnoticed, for so long. Though passing like proverbial ships in the night, I am overjoyed to acknowledge they have now registered a sizable ‘blip’ on my radar! My red wine of 2015, from their fair hand, was the exceptional 2012 Shotfire Quartage; a Bordeaux blend with so much to say…
So let me tell you more about this historic grandee of South Australia’s most famous wine region – The Barossa Valley.
Thorn-Clarke’s ancestors were originally drawn to the region by the great Australian gold rush of the late 19th Century. The name Thorn-Clarke derives from the relationship between two long time Barossa families; husband and wife, David and Cheryl Clarke both have (if you’ll pardon the pun) deep family roots in the Barossa. Cheryl Clarke’s family, the Thorns, have a long tradition of grape growing in Barossa whereas David Clarke’s family, became famous in the region through the mining of gold. Together David and Cheryl have established and grown Thorn-Clarke into the successful winery it is today.
Location wise, Thorn-Clarke are in an enviable position. With a firm understanding of the region’s geology though their established mining link, they have over time amassed four prime single vineyards across the Barossa; from Mount Crawford in the cool southern Eden Valley to the dry and warm St Kitts vineyard in northern Barossa.
There is freshness present in the estate’s wines which show pedigree, elegance and an assurance that few growers in the region can match. In the glass their wines deliver the exceptional fruit flavours one would expect from this iconic wine region, however there is also structure, character and exceptional value for money.
The latter point is really Thorn-Clarke’s calling card. I guess the American critic Robert Parker might refer to it as “bang for your buck”. One thing is for certain – these are wines which offer satisfaction on so many levels, from the fresh and vibrant Mount Crawford Riesling, full of zingy lemon and lime notes, right through to the true icons of the range, in the form of William Randell Shiraz and single vineyard Ron Thorne Shiraz, both of which are bold and full of spice plum and black cherry fruit. Capable of long term aging, the 2012 Ron Thorne Shiraz was recently awarded the International Wine and Spirit Competition’s trophy for the world’s best Shiraz/Syrah! With so many accolades over the years and a perpetual reference to the value for money their wines offer the drinker… surely it is time to introduce your palate to the wonderful Thorn-Clarke portfolio?!