Review by Michelle Ames, Monday 18th September, 2017
Whenever I hear the word ‘Bonkers’ the lyrics to the Dizzee Rascal song play like a soundtrack in the back of mind. Suddenly I’m transported back to 2010 writing up my Masters thesis with countless bottles of Barolo, but this mad Australian wine certainly isn’t living in the past and it embodies the antithesis to a classic red wine. Containing both red and white grapes from seven different varieties across three vintages, even the producer has no idea what or how each parcel was made. Hence the name. Although not a true rosé, it’s probably best to treat it like one and chill it down before drinking.
The sparse label certainly gives nothing away. Bemused by what it was meant to depict, I asked a few people at the bar their opinion. The consensus seems to be a hybrid between a Sesame Street character and ectoplasm. To me it’s reminiscent of a blue flying spaghetti monster contemplating life and its existence, or maybe I had already had too much wine the first time I examined it. Once opened you can clearly see the cork contains a line drawing of some sort of anthropomorphic decanter attempting to shove a cork down its own head. My friend was delighted by it, but to me it had the makings of some eccentric nightmare. You have to give credit to a man who knows exactly what he wants, but I can’t help thinking that getting too involved with Patrick Sullivan is a bit like an Alice in Wonderland trip.
Although the wine is hazy due to being unfiltered, I quite like the vibrant pink hue hinting to expect something rather different. You know, in case you hadn’t already. There’s a sour and almost musky smell I’ve come to associate with natural wines and this one is certainly packed full of it, along with light red fruits and calamansi lime. In the mouth the red fruit is married with lychee, passion fruit and earthy undertones. The two words that most come to mind when tasting Bonkers are tropical and exotic. Being more like a juice than a wine, I could see myself drinking this with brunch or while resting near some water on a really warm day to quench my thirst. As it was slightly too cloying on a cold evening for a palate that usually prefers very dry wines, I found two glasses more than enough for me before having to turn to food to mix things up a bit. Purposefully aiming to be more style and fun over substance, this is a great sharing wine to bring to a party or to start the night out with. I like to think it’s the kind of drink that would go down great at a high school prom or with those partial to a wine cooler. Watch out Bacardi Breezer, you’ve got competition now.
Interested in giving this natural wine a try? You can enjoy a bottle at Ham & Friends this week with no corkage fee, Tuesday – Friday, 3pm – 6pm.
Alternatively, you can buy it online and enjoy it at home.