St Kitts and Shiraz
Six generations of grape growing heritage, extensive viticulturist know-how, and diverse plantings of the region’s top performing varietals make Thorn-Clarke a darling of the Barossa. But senior winemaker, Peter Kelly, knows a lot of the winery’s success is due to the unique positioning of their four Barossa vineyards: St Kitts, Kabininge, Mount Crawford, and Milton Park. In the first of four vineyard features, Peter reveals why St Kitts is so special, especially for Barossa Shiraz.
The cool slopes of St Kitts
“Each vineyard has its own unique personality, soil and climate, but driving up the gentle slopes towards St Kitts never fails to make me smile, especially early morning; the air is fresh and crisp, and just being amongst those vines and looking across the Barossa Valley fills me with a great sense of excitement for the vintage to follow,” says Peter.
St Kitts vineyard is Thorn-Clarke’s most northern vineyard, which boasts an unusual micro-climate. It’s cool with comparatively little rainfall to the valley floor below. This restricts yield and maximises the concentrated fruit flavours of the Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Graciano and Malbec vines, planted in the Truro volcanic, marble, schist and Heatherdale shale soils.
While the Graciano and Malbec fruit are for exclusive cellar door releases, and Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are reserved for Thorn-Clarke’s premium blends, it is the St Kitts Shiraz fruit that has built Thorn-Clarke’s reputation for rich, intense and complex reds. Used in the Ron Thorn Shiraz, William Randell Shiraz, and Barossa Trail – Block 9 Shiraz, the Shiraz from this vineyard is a true expression of St Kitts terroir.
“With every vintage comes the anticipation of harvest, and that brings a new energy to St Kitts’ tranquil vista; it’s such an exciting time to be in the vineyard. For wines such as the Ron Thorn Shiraz, we inspect the grapes daily to ensure the fruit is picked at the optimal time, with harvest occurring in the dead of night.”
After harvest the vineyard has done its job, leaving Peter to let the varieties shine.
Learn about the latest Thorn-Clarke releases at thornclarkewines.com.au