"Clare Valley rose from the Tonic Wines lads, clean and clear as a Spring day. Released in time for the dawning of Summer, but with that in mind the wine could segue to Autumn, handily, such is its light savouriness and added textural interest. Ring the bell, it’s drinking time.
Deceptively light but imbued with fine, cranberry and minerally flavours. It’s chalky in texture, brisk in acidity, clear and crisp and clean. Scents are muted, but you get whiffs of pomegranate, almond and watermelon. Bone dry finish and mouthwatering to close. This is just so spot on."92/100 Points, Mike Bennie, www.winefront.com.au, Nov '17
This week we picked up a few nice reviews from Gary over at Wine Front (http://www.winefront.com.au). As he correctly surmised we have run out of Chardonnay already...damn...it didn't last long. We have a couple of dozen Grenache left and about five dozen Mataro if you're keen.
His words obviously got us thinking deeply about the best way to squeeze corks into squat bottles and if we did indeed wax...who would wear it best? Thanks, as always, to Jimmy and Will for answering most of life's most impenetrable questions. You drinking my sake kemosabe?
“When Dan and Glenn aren’t soaking corks to squeeze into squat bottles, they’re likely waxing. And I think everyone enjoys a smooth wine, don’t they?
Cloudy, but fine. Red fruits, stewed rhubarb, exotic spices, orange peel, and an array of aromatic fresh and dried herbs. Medium bodied, succulent and spicy, with a musky mouth-perfume, a punch of bitter herbs through plump fruit, brick dust tannin, and a savoury finish of ample proportions. Has a point of difference, but also just a lovely expression of Mataro.” 94/100 Points. Drink: 2017 – 2024
“50 dozen made, and probably already sold out. Maybe some available at retail.
It’s a wild struck match, oyster shell and funky chicken affair, grilled nuts, Japanese ginger and white peach, with ruby red grapefruit too. Light to medium bodied, silky and milky, with a firm crunch of acidity and flint, and a tangy citrus-laced finish of maximum chalky length. Charismatic. Great to drink too.” 95/100 Points. Drink: 2017 – 2023
“150 dozen, and mainly from the Churinga Vineyard in Watervale, with the original old vine source from NE Clare still in the mix (and given the 25 dozen from previous years, I’d say it’s about 16%). 50% whole bunch, 31 days on skins, and into old French oak.
Campari, orange peel, cinnamon sticks, white pepper, dried rose and strawberry. It’s light and frisky, with fresh and juicy acidity, cool minerality and ash feel, light but firm rasp of peppery tannin, perfumed and gently tannic on a long finish. Clare Valley meets Etna, or so it feels to me. This is a beautiful, deft and charismatic wine. Unusual, and so good!” 94/100 Points. Drink: 2018 – 2024+
“From the Bowe-Lees vineyard in the Adelaide Hills, spends a whopping 128 days on skins, no additions aside a dab of SO2. Unfined. Unfiltered. That’s the way. 75 dozen made. Picked on April Fool’s day. Release date is October 17th.
It’s an unusual Nebbiolo, yet it has the fingerprints of the grape variety all over it. Plenty of cherry here – pickled, red and glacé – almond and chestnut, some floral notes, a whiff of sweet leather and mint, and a little dusty spice. It’s light to medium bodied, kind of juicy and pretty, though not at all sweet, clean acidity with a mass of very fine, almost brick dust tannin as a feature of the wine, yet they don’t dominate. Finish is succulent and pretty with that beautiful subdued cherry flavour, and a farewell of almond paste, mint and toothsome tannin. Subtlety and nuance here. It’s a rare bird.”94/100 Points. Drink: 2017 – 2025+
“Grenache (45%) and Mataro (55%), foot stomped and bastet pressed. Old oak for five months. 50 dozen.
Don’t serve it cold, serve it cool at most. Redcurrant, fresh strawberries, dusty wood and spice, subtle floral perfume. It’s light and dry, slightly edgy in acidity with an almost kombucha tang, light powdery texture, and a convincing finish with a dab or cream and pretty red fruits. Stylish wine.”92/100 Points. Drink: 2016 – 2019
Would you trust this man if he tried to sell you an unusual grape variety in a weirdly shaped bottle?
We probably wouldn't either.
Max is the Willy Wonka of Adelaide's restaurant scene and you can now catch his madcap skills as well as 2015 Mataro by the glass at The Henry Austin...brilliant place.
Over on the other side of town the good times are also rolling at Sean's Kitchen (Chardonnay and Mataro) and Peel Street (Mataro). Everyone's favourite Italian - Amalfi - has the Mataro on, as does the excellent Ballaboosta down on Halifax Street. Their pitas, pizzas, coffee and cakes are cranking.
After the world's longest BTG run Mother Vine is taking a breather on the Mataro front, but there might still be some across the road at East End Cellars. And rounding out the local picture with a simply outrageously good dining assault on the senses is Orana, home to both Mataro and Chardonnay.
Mr Walsh, over at Wine Front (http://www.winefront.com.au), has taken a look at our 2015 wines and published some reviews that we're dead happy with. The only sad thing is that the Cork Soakers didn't get a mention this year. So we dug into the SNL archives to find something else, which begs the question, which one plays Gary? Don't miss Will Ferrell at the end...
“There’s 50 dozen made from grapes grown on 21 year old vines in a vineyard at Woodside. 40 hours on skins, basket pressed, wild ferment, no malo, no stirring. Though I bet there was a bit of stirring involved somewhere around vintage. I can sense these things.
Nashi pear, yeast, hazelnuts, dusting of cinnamon and ginger, maybe white peach, something cool like fennel or fresh mint. Light to medium bodied, pure white fleshed fruit and almond milky flavours, beautiful gently chalky skinsy texture, spice, sweet lemon and nuts on a long clean finish. A tonic it is. Restraint. Complexity. Charisma. Supreme drinkability.” 95/100 Points. Drink: 2016 – 2020+
“Alongside beer, I probably drink as much gin and tonic as I do wine, when it comes to units of alcohol consumed. Didn’t add any gin to this wine, though it is a good addition to freshly crushed wine grape juice.
Spice, honey and herbs, red and black fruits, gentle earthiness and lift. Medium bodied, bramble fruits, plenty of spice, fleshy rounded palate, almost silky, with a gentle tang and chalkiness on the finish. Beautiful expression of Mataro. As good as last year’s model, though just a wee bit richer.” 94/100 Points. Drink: 2016 – 2024
“Strikes me as being as much like a Barbaresco as Clare Valley Grenache, though it’s different in other ways. Raspberry, fresh strawberry, spice, cut fennel or maybe aniseed, pleasant herbal and floral perfume. Light both in colour and body, though tannin is firm, fine and gently raspy and minerally acidity guides it surely too. Finish is dry and distinctly spicy. Such an unusual, and frankly, fantastic expression of Grenache. Could possibly rate it even more highly.” 94/100 Points. Drink: 2016 – 2024
A few hardy souls have gone out on a limb and stocked the first vintage of our wines. These people aren't just generous, intelligent and unfeasibly good-looking, they also happen to run some of the finest bars, restaurants and shops in the land.
Here's a run-down. Find one near you and go knock on their door until they let you in. Or at least until they threaten to call the police if you don't vacate.
Special mention goes to the Hot Chicken Project in Geelong...partly because they're a project about hot chicken...but also because they took the brilliant pic above. Good-looking and skilled.