In 2016 we knew it was time to make a bit more Grenache so we found a new source - the Churinga Vineyard in Watervale - to supplement the awesome fruit we have been getting from north-eastern Clare. 2016 was a super vintage in the region - warm and even.
The experimentation with whole bunch fermentation continues. After hand picking the fruit around 5 March, we crushed about half of it and left the other half as whole bunches. It was lightly, but regularly, hand plunged during its 10 day fermentation and in total the juice spent 31 days on skins. Then through the basket press and into old French oak barrels. It was left on its lees, untouched, until racking in January 2017. It was bottled the following month with a dash of sulphur, but without fining or filtration.
The 2016 has a lot of similarities to the 2015, but also some differences, mainly due to the new vineyard in the mix. Next to the darker 2015 it is brightly red-fruited, seriously juicy and packed with whole bunch spice. Think orange peel, Campari spice and crushed cherry and you're close. There's a floral intensity to early-picked Grenache which we find intoxicating and it's here in spades. It's lifted, vital, crunchy...very much Tonic in feel, but in a slightly different vintage spectrum.
150 dozen made <> 13.3% alc / vol
12 bottles of Grenache 2016 ($30)
Dozen price: $360