Tonic Chardonnay 2019


Chardonnay's great run of vintages in the Adelaide Hills continues. Different to the cooler 2018, the 2019 version is a little more reserved in its youth. Small 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 2019. It's endlessly fascinating to come back to the same rows of vines (plus a few new ones) for the 6th 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 25 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 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 March 2020. It didn't go through malo-lactic fermentation and the final wine was neither fined nor filtered.

Well 2019 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.  

668 dozen made <> 12.2% alc / vol 

What others said about the 2018 vintage...

Review by Gary Walsh at (Mar 2019) 

I’ve just come back from the dentist, so I’m dribbling a bit, though I’ve seen worse at some wine tastings…

Lemon, grapefruit, fresh ginger, nougat, almost peppery, fresh green herb. It’s light, very tight and tingly, nuts lightly toasted, cool and flinty feel, stream on river stones kind of stuff, with pith, spice and citrus on a long bracing finish. It’s not the most flavoursome wine, but what’s there is very convincing. 94/100 Points Drink : 2020 - 2028 

Chardonnay Dozen

12 bottles of Chardonnay 2019 ($37)

Dozen price: $444