O'Leary Walker Polish Hill River Armagh Shiraz 2021
O'Leary Walker Polish Hill River Armagh Shiraz 2021

O'Leary Walker Polish Hill River Armagh Shiraz 2021

Sale price$25.95
Clare (Armagh) & Polish Hill River, Clare Valley, South Australia, Australia

Style: Red Wine

Variety: Shiraz

Closure: Screwcap

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O'Leary Walker Polish Hill River Armagh Shiraz 2021

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, usually ready in 2-4 days

Burke Road
Camberwell VIC 3124
Australia

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Producer: O'Leary Walker

Country: Australia

Region: Clare Valley

Vintage: 2021

Critic Score: 96

Alcohol: 14.5%

Size: 750 ml

Drink by: 2040


I could neck the lot. Such a fabulously approachable and well priced wine - Steve Leszczynski

Trophy for Best Shiraz of Show - 2024 London Wine Competition

In 2000, with over 35 years of experience making wine with some of Australia's biggest wine companies, long-time friends David O'Leary and Nick Walker established O'Leary Walker Wines. Not surprisingly, it didn't take long for them to establish a formidable reputation, particularly for their superb Polish Hill River and Watervale Rieslings and a range of classic Clare Valley Shiraz.  

"This superb Clare Valley Shiraz, which has been racking up the bling as they say in the classics, was sourced from two of the region’s top sub-regions, Armagh and Polish Hill River, and it helps to come from such a stellar vintage. Gosh, this is an impressive wine. It drinks more impressively than many wines two or three times the price and will surely be in any conversation for best value wine of the year. Deep maroon hue, this offers such a seductively appealing nose. There is early complexity already evident, aromas of dried herbs, chocolate, cloves, aniseed, soy, coffee beans, blueberries and black fruits. The oak is immaculately integrated and the wine is seamless, supple with such silky tannins. This will help redefine the Clare Valley as one of the great regions for Aussie Shiraz. Impeccably balanced, a fine line of acidity, bright energy, very impressive length, this wine has everything. Wonderful stuff. Ten to fifteen years ahead of it, I see suggestions that one should attempt to refrain from drinking it now… good luck with that. Love it."  Ken Gargett

"This Shiraz is made using fruit from two of our vineyards - both the cooler region of Polish Hill River and the warmer Armagh, north of Clare. The ferment takes place in two and four-tonne fermenters over a 12 day period and hand-plunged. The wine is left on skins post-fermentation, enhancing tannin complexity and maximising flavour. This is pressed to tank, then racked to oak after four days (25% new French oak; 75% one- and two-year-old French oak) for a total of two years.

Deep inky red. A complex aroma of black fruits, ripe plum, black olive, anise spice and toasty oak. Generous fruit sweetness on the palate, balanced by an outstanding structure and powerful depth and length of flavour. Ageing potential: Up to 15 years."  O'Leary Walker 

Expert reviews

"The vinous equivalent of yin and yang, with two noteworthy Clare Valley sub-regions singing in total harmony. Polish Hill River is spicy and fine, while Armagh brings the brio and power. It makes for a dynamic duo. Bright, deep purple in colour. Violet, acacia, briar, wild bramble, blackberry and blackstrap liquorice aromas delight, so inviting in their deep mix of fruit, spice, florals and earth. Brings that upfront spice, liquorice and black fruit intensity and energy associated with top Clare Valley Shiraz and then, without skipping a beat, maintains the momentum seamlessly through to a long, long finish. Oak and tannins are totally integrated. It’s in for a long life should you resist the temptation to drink now. There is an effortless quality here, the sign of a good year and some mighty good winemaking. Outstanding. Drink: 2024-2041."  Jeni Port, Wine Pilot - 96 points

"Very pronounced floral and herbal aromas on the nose. Good concentration of black fruit, plum, dark chocolate, blueberry, floral notes with good finish."  2024 London Wine Competition - 96 points and Trophy for Best Shiraz of Show 

"This superb Clare Valley Shiraz, which has been racking up the bling as they say in the classics, was sourced from two of the region’s top sub-regions, Armagh and Polish Hill River, with each parcel fermented discretely. Maturation was for two years in French oak, a quarter of it new, and it helps to come from such a stellar vintage. Gosh, this is an impressive wine. It drinks more impressively than many wines two or three times the price and will surely be in any conversation for best value wine of the year. Deep maroon hue, this offers such a seductively appealing nose. There is early complexity already evident, aromas of dried herbs, chocolate, cloves, aniseed, soy, coffee beans, blueberries and black fruits. The oak is immaculately integrated and the wine is seamless, supple with such silky tannins. This will help redefine the Clare Valley as one of the great regions for Aussie Shiraz. Impeccably balanced, a fine line of acidity, bright energy, very impressive length, this wine has everything. Wonderful stuff. Ten to fifteen years ahead of it, I see suggestions that one should attempt to refrain from drinking it now… good luck with that. Love it. Drink: 2024-2039."  Ken Gargett, Wine Pilot - 96 points

"I could neck the lot. Such a fabulously approachable and well priced wine, this O'Leary Walker Clare Valley Shiraz is dense, silky and engulfed with black fruit. From the Polish Hill River and Armagh sub-regions of the Clare Valley, it sees 18 months in oak with the char and toast showing its hand. Plums add value with blackberry leaf, licorice, black earth and dark chocolate. Drying out ever so subtly on close with a dusting of cocoa the parting gift, it drinks very well and will live comfortably beyond the medium term."  Steve Leszczynski, Qwine - 94 points

"Deep ruby with purple tints into the rim. Aromas of black olive and ripe raspberries and blackberries, with liquorice undertones and charry-oak spice. Full in weight and intensity, with dark berries, purple florals and exotic dark spices all filling the senses as it rolls long and deep across the palate. Tannins have a fine gravelly nature, accentuating the power. Drink 2024-2036."  Stuart Knox, The Real Review - 93 points

Awards

Trophy for Best Shiraz of Show - 2024 London Wine Competition
Gold Medal - 2024 London Wine Competition

The vineyards

O'Leary Walker Clare Valley Vineyard

Clare Valley Vineyards

The Clare Valley has a world-renowned reputation for producing elegant Rieslings. We source our fruit from two sub-regions within the Clare Valley, Watervale and the Polish Hill River Valley. The Watervale fruit is from the vineyard of Neil and Heather Grace, which is hand pruned and hand picked. With its classic red loam over limestone soil, the vines have a source of moisture from the limestone to ensure their health through the summer months.

The Polish Hill Valley fruit is from two vineyards which are virtually next-door to each other. Martin and Joan Smith's vineyard is now farmed biodynamically and across the Road is the Molloy's vineyard both of which are excellent examples of the quality this sub-region can produce. The soils are characterized by grey loam over sandstone and slate. The topsoils are littered with rock and shales of slate. The vines are tough to survive in these harsh soils but their fruit bears the characteristics of elegance, finesse and intensity, always with a hint of beautiful chalky bath powder!

Despite only being 9 kilometers from the Watervale sub-region, The Polish Hill River region is quite a bit cooler and typically the fruit ripens 2-3 weeks later. It is the slate of the Polish Hill River as distinct from the limestone of Watervale that creates the differences between the wines.

McLaren Vale Vineyard

We source Shiraz from a 50 plus year old vineyard called "Shadels” at McLaren Vale, owned by Angelo Maglieri and his Family. Angelo and Nick Walker go way back to the early eighties when Nick was a young winemaker at Krondorf, purchasing fruit from these classic vineyards. This relationship has been almost continuous for 30 years! When we first started O'Leary Walker Wines, we needed excellent fruit not just "run of the mill” quality. This vineyard had just come out of contract with Penfolds and was offered to us via our good relationship with Angelo. The soils are shallow loam over ironstone, quite rocky sub soils, well drained and tough. This vineyard has been incorporated in our blend since day one and has the great licorice, chocolate power that is the hallmark of McLaren Vale Shiraz, enhancing the inky, "building block” wines of the Clare Valley.

Adelaide Hills Vineyards

Fruit for our Adelaide Hills Wines is sourced from David and Sue Cherry's (nee O'Leary) Adelaide Hills vineyard and from the adjoining vineyard of Mark and Louise O'Leary, which is the original "Wyebo” property that was purchased by David's Grandfather in 1912. This site was planted in 1990 and selected on the basis of its soil structure, which has large quartz and slate running throughout the sub soils. With a gently sloping, North Easterly aspect, enhanced by elevation, ancient soils and weather patterns, characteristic influences from the Mt Lofty Ranges, this vineyard is a valuable asset to the winemaking at O'Leary Walker.

The Adelaide Hills with its cool climate and long, dry and even ripening season allows the vines to develop maximum varietal characters, producing intensely flavoursome fruit. The Adelaide Hills produces some of Australia's most elegant Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir wines.

About the winery

O'Leary Walker Wines

Nick Walker and David O'Leary

Prior to establishing O'Leary Walker Wines in 2000, long-time friends David O'Leary and Nick Walker spent twenty-plus vintages working for some of Australia's biggest winemaking companies such as Hardy's and Mildara Blass, and were involved in labels like Annies Lane, Chateau Reynella, Mildara, Krondorf and Yellowglen. The larger companies provided fantastic learning environments and they were privileged to have worked with some of the industry's greats.

The pair established O'Leary Walker Wines with the aim of producing small batches of carefully handcrafted wine from some of the best vineyard sites in South Australia. Initially their principal focus was on the Clare Valley and, not surprisingly, it didn't take long for them to establish a formidable reputation, particularly for their superb Polish Hill River and Watervale Rieslings and a range of classic Clare Valley Shiraz. Thereafter their attention swung to the Adelaide Hills where they now have 35ha of chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, shiraz, sauvignon blanc and merlot. The vineyards were certified organic in 2013.

David O'Leary

David began his career in 1977 with the Stanley Wine Company in the Clare Valley, doing a vintage as a lab assistant under Brian Barry. It was during this time that David was introduced to Clare Valley Rieslings, sparking a lifelong passion to achieve greatness with this variety.

David then spent a year with Petaluma and completed a vintage in Tasmania working for Heemskerk Wines before joining Chateau Reynella in 1981. This same year, he also graduated from Roseworthy Agricultural College. In September 1982, Thomas Hardy and Sons purchased Chateau Reynella and David was charged with managing juice separation in Padthaway, initiating the exhausting trend of two vintages a year between Waikerie and Padthaway.

David was appointed group red winemaker for Hardy's in 1990 and held that role until joining Mildara Blass in 1994. At Mildara Blass, he held senior winemaking roles at Quelltaller Estate in the Clare Valley where he launched Annie's Lane, and at the Mildara Coonawarra-based Jamieson's Run winery. During his time with Hardy's and Mildara Blass, he also made wine in France and California, furthering his knowledge of the great wines and signature styles of the regions.

David has achieved considerable milestones in his career; a Jimmy Watson Trophy in 1988 and twice International Red Winemaker of the Year (1992 and 1994) sit proudly along with numerous other trophies and gold medals on his mantle.

David's goals remain unchanged: he simply wants to make great wine.

Nick Walker

Nick graduated from Roseworthy Agricultural College in 1982 and then followed the footsteps of his father and grandfather to become a third generation winemaker.

Nick's father Norm Walker was Managing Director at Seaview Champagne Cellars for over 22 years. Norm, along with his father Hurtle, has given over 100 years to the winemaking industry, in particular sparkling wine. Nick Walker and David O'Leary honour this family winemaking tradition by naming the O'Leary Walker Sparkling Pinot Noir Chardonnay the 'Hurtle', in recognition of Nick's grandfather and father's achievements.

In 1983 Nick joined the Burge and Wilson team at Krondorf Wines as an assistant winemaker. During this time, he was instrumental in making some of the great Eden Valley Rieslings of the time and had enormous success on the show circuit with his wines.

Nick undertook sparkling winemaking duties in 1998-1999 at Yellowglen and was winemaker and manager at Yarra Ridge in 2000. Overall, he spent over 14 years with the Mildara Blass group, responsible for brands including Krondorf, Yellowglen Sparkling wines, Yarra Ridge, Baileys and St Huberts.

In November 1999, Nick joined forces with good friend David O'Leary to create O'Leary Walker Wines.

His philosophy is pretty simple: make the best wines possible from the best vineyard sites - and leave a little time for fishing. 

Wine region map of South Australia

South Australia

South Australian is responsible for more than half the production of all Australian wine. It is home to more than 900 wineries across 18 wine regions. The regions are Adelaide Hills, Adelaide Plains, Barossa Valley, Clare Valley, Coonawarra, Currency Creek, Eden Valley, Kangaroo Island, Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale, Mount Benson, Mount Gambier, Padthaway, Riverland, Robe, Southern Fleurieu, Southern Flinders Ranges and Wrattonbully.

Many of the well-known names in the South Australian wine industry established their first vineyards in the late 1830s and early 1840s. The first vines in McLaren Vale were planted at Reynella in 1839 and Penfold's established Magill Estate on the outskirts of Adelaide in 1844.

South Australia has a vast diversity in geography and climate which allows the State to be able to produce a range of grape varieties - from cool climate Riesling in the Clare and Eden Vallies to the big, full bodied Shiraz wines of the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale. Two of Australia's best-known wines, Penfolds Grange and Henschke Hill of Grace, are produced here. There is much to discover in South Australia for the wine lover.