Clarendon Hills was established in 1990 in theMcLaren Vale, South Australia, by Roman Bratasiuk, a Ukrainian immigrant with a passion for French wine. The estate was one of the first in Australia to exclusively bottle their wines as single-vineyard expressions rather than blending across the vineyards. Wines are made from Cabernet Sauvignon,Merlot,Syrah,GrenacheandMourvedre, all of which have their origins in France.
The vineyards are located on a higher elevation than most in the McLaren Vale and have pre-phylloxeravines which are, in some cases, over 100 years old. These vines are bush planted and survive on mostly dry-grown vineyards. Fruit is handpicked and sent to the winery, where the grapes are fermented in open-topped stainless steel tanks with the use of natural yeasts. The wine spends around 18 months in oak before it is hand-bottled at the winery, without filtering or fining.
The wines at Clarendon Hill are arranged into a cru-like classification, influenced by Roman Bratasiuk's love for France. The prestige cuvée, Astralis, is labeled as 'Premier Grand Cru', and is made from old vines that were planted in 1920. Yields are extremely low, with only about 500 cases produced each year. Robert Parker regularly rates this wine as 95-plus and, in 2014, the 2010 Clarendon Hills Australis received a perfect 100.