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This is Clare Valley Mataro at it’s most delectable and delicious.
This comes from relatively young Mataro vines (17 years of age) in the Armagh area of the Clare Valley. All the fruit was hand-picked with about 30% whole bunches included. It was foot-stomped, naturally fermented and then basket pressed into old French oak barrels. It was unfined and unfiltered.
As Tonic put it themselves, “Did we nail the winemaking brief to make ‘delicious’ wine? We certainly think so… We love it.”
With only 150 dozen produced, this is one of the country’s most charming versions of Mataro and is remarkable value for a wine of such quality and interest. Giddy up!
What It Tastes Like
Graphite, purple fruit, red berries, pepper and violets in the bouquet. It tastes of suede tannins dappled with grilled meat, blackberry and a twist of spiced orange peel. It’s got swagger and some grunt but feels neatly tucked in. Shabby sheik in Mataro form. Great stuff.
94 points. “Cloudy, but fine. Red fruits, stewed rhubarb, exotic spices, orange peel, and an array of aromatic fresh and dried herbs. Medium bodied, succulent and spicy, with a musky mouth-perfume, a punch of bitter herbs through plump fruit, brick dust tannin, and a savoury finish of ample proportions. Has a point of difference, but also a lovely expression of Mataro.”
- Gary Walsh (The Wine Front)
We live and we die by our Mataro. It is figuratively, and literally, our hero. The one that started this whole project off. It’s really starting to take off as a variety as well. So much so that it’s becoming hard to find the fruit in Clare. Fortunately we’re set with a great resource in Norm’s Block in Armagh. It feels like we got onto it just in the nick of time.
Like with our Grenache, you can really see the Clare vintage character communicated through this wine. Hand picked on 24 March, it doesn’t show the abundance of dark fruit from the year before, heading instead for a firmer, more structured, red fruited style. It’s vibrant, bunchy, spicy and very aromatic, with compelling Amaro-esque characters. The world needs more Amaro in it.
After being hand picked on 24 March, we filled three 1 ton fermenters each with about 30% whole bunches and 70% crushed and destemmed fruit. It was hand plunged quite hard early on before a natural fermentation began, with the juice eventually spending 35 days on skins. It was basket pressed to old French oak barrels, where it sat on its yeast lees quietly and untouched until racking and bottling in January 2017. As with all our wines this wasn’t fined or filtered before bottling.
Did we nail the winemaking brief to make ‘delicious’ wine? We certainly think so. The bunchy aromatics give a wonderfully vibrant feel to the wine. The spicy berry fruit, with hints of pepper and earth, lends warmth and depth to the wine, while the natural acid line keeps things fresh and more-ish. We love it.
Bottle Size: 750ml
Drink Until: 2024
About the Producer
Tonic Wines has only been around for a couple of years but the wines have caused quite a stir. Small batch, handmade, minimalist South Australian wines with an aim to source high-quality parcels of fruit, picked early to capture freshness and vitality. Tonic declares “We don’t really believe in boring wine”, and with the remarkable Chardonnay, Grenache, Mataro and Nebbiolo released thus far, there are no signs of boring here. These wines are produced in painfully small amounts, sometimes as little as 50 dozen per wine. If you are curious about this winery with mystique, you’ll have to act quickly to try their delicious wares.
The Clare Valley knows what it does, and does it very, very well. Riesling and Shiraz are the rockstars of the region and with some of the most famous wines in the county coming from this small pocket of SA, the Clare’s reputation for quality only grows year on year.
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