But back to Jeffrey's for some feedback...

"Whaaaat???? This is a genuine Burgundy member's only jacket, with a banded collar!"

It's been ages since we heard from Jeffrey's so we thought we'd send them some wine samples and see what they had to say (above). Also to some other wine luminaries (below).

2017 Tonic Grenache

"The packaging is exquisite. Gary Walsh famously labelled it “Clare meets Etna” or some such last year. Now for this year —

Light. So light. Delicate. Bone china. A piece of craft, the flavours placed one by one into the glass. Or so it feels. Mineral, graphite, strawberry, red cherry, herbs and …. tonic. You could describe this in myriad ways but it’s the lightness, the dryness, the way presence takes precedence over weight, the way spices spark their way along the palate as if a line of Tom Thumbs have been set to fire. That word again. Exquisite. Completely outside the norm of what we expect of grenache in Australia." 94/100 Points. Drink: 2018 – 2025. Campbell Mattinson, www.winefront.com.au 

 

2017 Tonic Chardonnay

"Chardonnay in its most pure form. It’s all steel and citrus, wood spice and white peach. It’s ripped with acidity and runs long through the finish. It’s in the leaner, more direct mould but the quality is marvellous.94/100 Points. Drink: 2019 – 2024+. Campbell Mattinson, www.winefront.com.au

 

2016 Tonic Nebbiolo

"This little baby comes from the Bowe Lees vineyard in Woodside and the production is tiny - 44 dozen tiny. So you are unlikely to see it floor-stacked next to the registers at your nearest big-box boozatorium. That said, it is worth popping your head into a friendly independent wine retailer or indeed, the winery website and tracking a bottle down because it's the shizzle.

Lots of cool winemaking geekery involved in getting this to bottle...extended time on skins (95 days) and the practice of 'ripasso', passing the 2016 juice over the freshly pressed skins of the 2017 vintage Nebbiolo for three weeks before pressing back to old French oak to add an extra dimension to the finished wine. It's light in colour and beautifully fragrant with sappy edged, pure cherry and cranberry fruit with hints of spice, purple floral tones, sweet leather and notes of Amaro herbs and Turkish Delight fluttering around further in the background.

In the mouth it is weighted just so; the characters from the nose neatly transposing the palate, which is pure, juicy and savoury at once. Balanced, delicious and easy drinking with a delightful sappy cherry and herbal vapour trail to finish. Lovely" David Brookes, The Adelaide Review, May 2018

 

#lastnightmatarosavedmylife

 

There's not a problem that I can't fix
'Cause I can do it in the mix
And if your man gives you trouble
Just you move out on the double 
And you don't let it trouble your brain
'Cause away goes trouble down the drain 
Said away goes trouble down the drain
March 08, 2018 by The Apothecary

MORE COWBELL!

"Guess what...? I got a FEVER....and the only prescription is MORE COWBELL"

When legendary musician Bruce Dickinson tells you that you need more cowbell, you just do it.

It's much the same when you're making Rosé. When legendary wino Mike Bennie tells you to ring the bell, what are you gonna do?

Tonic Rosé 2017

"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

November 21, 2017 by The Apothecary

Tight pants for waxing and squeezing

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? 

Tonic Mataro 2016

“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

 

Tonic Chardonnay 2015

“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

 

Tonic Grenache 2015

“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+

All reviews by Gary Walsh at http://www.winefront.com.au (April/May 2017)

Maxwell's House and other Adelaide stories

 

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. 

Mmm...cake...

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.

Adelaide...bloody well played. 

THE LATEST FROM JEFFREY'S

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...

Tonic Chardonnay 2015

“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+

Tonic Mataro 2015

“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

Tonic Grenache 2015

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

All reviews by Gary Walsh at http://www.winefront.com.au (March 2016)

HOT CHICKEN...AND OTHER AWESOME PEOPLE

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.

Sydney

Bonds Corner Fine Wine

The Australian Wine Centre

North Sydney Cellars

Silvereye Restaurant (coming soon)

 

Melbourne / Geelong

La Vita Buona

Harry & Frankie

Underwood Wine Bar

Persillade

Stokehouse City

The Hot Chicken Project

 

Perth

Lalla Rookh

 

Adelaide / Clare / Vale

Mother Vine

Amalfi Restaurant

The Adelaide Club

East End Cellars

Jarmer's Kitchen

Seed Kitchen and Winehouse

Sevenhill Hotel

The Victory Hotel

 

If you want to find one of our 2014 red wines then these places are you best bets as we're all sold out. We do have a couple of dozen of 2014 Chardonnay left in the shed if you'd like some.

Nick Ryan Did A Review

Nick Ryan, star of page and spleen, quite likes our Mataro. He's a wine guy from way back. In his regular Sunday Mail column Nick blows off steam by talking about peanut butter, club sandwiches, Port Adelaide and the anti-Halal brigade. And sometimes wine.

But this has nothing to do with that.

When Nick isn't scribing hard, he can be found at Clare's finest restaurant - Seed Kitchen & Bar. Owners Guy and Candice run the show and have brought exceptional food and a winemaker's dream of a wine list to the township of Clare. We'd be equally nice about them if they hadn't listed Tonic wines too of course.

The Review (source: text message. Yes...text message)

"This better not be shit"

"It's actually fucking delicious"

Nick Ryan, 10 May 2015, with permission.

That's it...short and to the point. Works for us.

 

June 17, 2015 by The Apothecary

Cork Soakers Unite!

No one makes wine to garner a good score or review, but it's really satisfying when a taster really gets why you're soaking those corks. Here's what Gary Walsh had to say on Wine Front (http://www.winefront.com.au) a couple of days ago.

Tonic Chardonnay 2014

“54 dozen made with no subtractions and no additions, aside a touch of sulphur. Cork sealed for who knows what reason, aside the two men involved being expert cork soakers. They love to soaka da cork.

It’s a wilder, more textural style of Chardonnay and none the worse for that. Apples dusted with pepper, pickled ginger, white peach and maybe a whiff of honey. Light to medium bodied, kind of tangy and edgy, light powdery texture runs the length of the palate, and then ruby red grapefruit and spice punctuates the finish. Don’t serve it cold, and keep an open mind. Fascinating wine: the longer I spent with it, the more I liked it.” 93/100 Points - Silver. Drink: 2015 – 2018+

Tonic Mataro 2014

“I like what they’re doing with these wines. Seems that picking a little earlier to retain freshness and acidity (and thus reliance on gross excessive tartaric acid additions) then giving it plenty of time on skins to build some weight and texture is working a treat. Old oak. No fining. No filtering. A shining light for South Australian reds, of a certain style. 57 dozen made.

A spicy lighter bodied style with red fruits, hazelnut and aromatic dried herbs. Refreshing and kind of umami flavoured at the same time, with strawberries, red cherry and spice lending it a vibrant appeal. Drag of tannin and a punch of exotic spice in the finish. Delightful. Hard to stop drinking. 93 points for quality plus a bonus point for emphatic approval of style and, well, just being unreal to drink.” 94/100 Points - Gold. Drink: 2015 – 2022

Tonic Grenache 2014

“Sold out at the winery, but some around in restaurants and retail. Only 23 dozen made from a patch of 85 year old vines in NE Clare Valley.

Hats off boys, this is a bloody beauty. Red fruit, spice and perfume – playful and delightful – light bodied and fresh faced with kitten’s tongue tannin and pitch perfect fresh strawberry acidity. Shapely, lithe and superb to drink. It feels energised and energising. More of this sort of style from South Australia, please!” 94/100 Points - Gold. Drink: 2015 – 2020

All reviews by Gary Walsh at http://www.winefront.com.au (May 2015)