Tonic Grenache 2018
After the successful 2017 release we went back again to our two outstanding old vine Grenache sources: the Churinga Vineyard in Waterfall and the Humphries Vineyard in Sevenhill.
2018 was a very different year to 2017 and one in which those old Grenache bush vines thrived. It was much drier than 2017 and pretty warm throughout, leading to smaller berries and thicker skins and, generally speaking, quite gutsy wines. Fortunately dry-grown bush vines fare really well in these intense, rain-free years - they've had a bit of practice over many decades! As in other warm years, like 2016 for example, we made sure we picked on the early side to retain freshness and acidity in the fruit.
After hand picking the fruit, we de-stemmed 75%, leaving the rest as whole bunches, then foot-stomped it and left it be. It spent 31 days on skins as it fermented naturally. Then through the basket press and into old French oak barrels. It was left on its lees, untouched, until racking in December 2018. It was bottled the following month with a dash of sulphur, but without fining or filtration.
Flavour-wise it shares some similarities with the 2017: red berries, dried cherries and a hint of Campari spice. The palate is light in weight but not character. Lithe, fine, detailed tannin provides the foundation to the wine and it really carries the flavours along for the ride. Perfume, freshness, crunch; won't mind a light chill on a warm day.
415 dozen made <> 13.4% alc / vol
What others have said about the 2017 vintage...
Review by Campbell Mattinson at http://www.winefront.com.au (April 2018)
“300 dozen made. 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