Tonic Chardonnay 2018
Chardonnay's great run of vintages in the Adelaide Hills continues. Different to the cooler 2017, 2018 brings bags of flavour after a warm, even year. Good sized crops, endless Summer days and perfect ripening conditions have led to one of our favourite years for Tonic Chardonnay.
Of course we went back to our spiritual home in Hills and the superb Bowe-Lees vineyard in Woodside. Ann and Michael have turned out another superb crop again this year, and we were fortunate to be able to grow production and snag a bit more of their fruit in 2018. It's endlessly fascinating to come back to the same rows of vines (plus a few new ones) for the 5th year in a row and see what we can make of it.
Being a warmer year we made sure we picked a bit earlier to preserve lightness of fruit and freshness of acidity. The 24 year old vines are well set now and able to manage the heat spikes well.
We foot-stomped the fruit and the juice then spent 24 hours on its skins, adding interesting flavour and textural components before being basket pressed into mainly old French oak barrels for a natural fermentation. Once in there we left the juice on its lees, with regular topping but without any stirring, until racking and bottling in January 2019. It didn't go through malo-lactic fermentation and the final wine was neither fined nor filtered.
Ha! Reading last year's notes apparently we made a ring of flaming grapefruits! Where does this stuff come from?! Well 2018 definitely sees this wine in the citrus realm again. As they say in Philly..."Trust the process" and that's exactly what we did by really doing nothing at all once the wine was in barrel. It has ended up a little more like earlier releases with a savoury grilled nut slant to the wine. There's some flinty funk and a touch of pickled ginger, set alongside that grapefruit and lemon. Texture is already there and weight will build with time in bottle. Damn...delicious, delicious, delicious.
285 dozen made <> 12.2% alc / vol
What others said about the 2017 vintage...
Review by Campbell Mattinson at http://www.winefront.com.au (May 2018)
“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+