Tonic Nebbiolo 2016 - SOLD OUT
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We tried damn hard not to make a crappy Nebbiolo in 2015, our first Nebb vintage, and we're confident we didn't cock it up too much. It looked like Nebbiolo...Australian Nebbiolo...do you get how cool and unlikely that is?!?! Yes, truly geeky stuff and that first wine continues to get better with time.
We'd love to say that after the roller coaster ride of the first vintage we've learnt to chill out and go with the flow. But it's plainly not true. This fickle, awesomely weird variety does vinous somersaults throughout its maturation, meaning you never quite know where you are. Enter...the ripasso method...
But first back to the Bowe-Lees vineyard in the Adelaide Hills and a collection of 10 and 15 year old vines, calling upon 5 different Nebbiolo clones. We picked under a ton and de-stemmed and crushed all the fruit before leaving it to ferment wild and rest on its skins in the fermenter for 95 days. Then into old French oak barrels for a rest.
Of course we expected extraction, tannin, aromatics and lots of other cool Nebby stuff. Kapow...expect the unexpected. So feeling that it was just...lacking...something, we decided to pass the 2016 juice back over the freshly pressed skins of 2017 vintage Nebbiolo and see what happened. For 3 weeks we supported this unholy arrangement and then sent it back to barrel for some extended ageing.
After about 18 total months in barrel we bottled it without fining or filtration. It's not dark, extracted, fruit overloaded or anything else you might expect. It's another medium-bodied aromatic expression of the variety; a riot of musky cherry, rose petal, fennel and spice. There's plenty of tannic grip, though it's of the understated, finely tuned style, with some bracing acidity suggesting a long life ahead. Another white knuckle ride...wouldn't have it any other way really.
45 dozen made <> 12.8% alc / vol <> N.B. no wax seal any more
Due to the small make there is a 6 bottle limit for purchases of this wine
What others said about this wine...
"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
"Nebbiolo can be a bit of a leap for many, its colour suggesting lighter red notes, though often its tannin feel can be confronting. Forget all that. This is a beautifully elegant expression, registering at 12.8% alcohol, so open to express savoury nuances like fennel bulb, braised duck juices and black pepper. It's wild fermented, rested on skins for an astonishing 95 days, and even passed over new vintage skins in what's known as the ripasso method. An absolute stunner, modern and very, very drinkable." 5 STARS, Tony Love, The Adelaide Advertiser, June 2018