The viticultural history of South Australia’s picturesque Clare Valley dates back to 1851 when the ﬁrst vines were planted by Jesuit settlers who harnessed the fertility of the soil in the region. The numerous sub regions of the valley itself exhibit individual micro-climates that particularly favour Riesling, Shiraz, Cabernet and Grenache grapes.
Temperature, soil makeup and altitude all contribute to the esoteric nature of Clare Valley terroir; the wide temperature range prompts natural acidity in white wines and tannic structure in the reds, soils differ between ‘terra rossa’ over limestone to low lying black alluvial soils, and altitude of the vineyards ranges from 300-600 metres above sea level.
As the son of Mort Mitchell, renowned as one of the Clare Valley’s most experienced and meticulous grape growers, Kevin Mitchell spent his formative years amongst vines, and it was almost inevitable he would end up working alongside his father. Kevin purchased the Kilikanoon property in 1997, including Mort’s Block, a vineyard his father had planted over 40 years ago, and has built it into an esteemed producer of wines which express the individuality of their sub-regions.
Traditional winemaking techniques are employed to produce hand-crafted wines with the unequivocal essence of Kilikanoon. Parcels and barrels are kept separate until blending in order to achieve regional and varietal definition in each wine. Fruit-driven, intensely flavoured Riesling of brilliant clarity, flavoursome and compelling Pinot Gris, and creamy, delicate Semillon are the stand out white wines.
The traditional red wine varieties of Shiraz, Cabernet and Grenache produce heady, elegant, spicy and charming wines that typify Kilikanoon proprietor Nathan Waks’ adage of “new world, old vines”.