I have walked the vineyards of the beautiful Avondale Estate in the Klein Drakenstein and held the brilliant soils in my hands. Like Christmas cake and the occasional worm or insect put its head up above the soil. Johnathan Grieve is a servant to the Estate’s ethos of Terra Est Vita which my schoolboy Latin tells me is ‘Soil is life.’ That soil is the life force which runs through everything from the tiniest of insects, through the minerals in the soils, indeed everything on earth, you realise as you are standing in them. You come away having had am almost religious experience in the presence of someone who knows exactly what he is doing and what he is to leave behind for the next generation of Grieves.
The grapes for the Avondale Anima 2016 are grown in organically certified vineyards which are between 11 and 35 years old. Between 4 and 8 tons per hectare were hand harvested when the moment of ideal ripeness arrived. The grapes were gently whole bunch pressed and the juice taken to 500 litre French oak barrels. About 20% of the grapes are whole bunch fermented in clay Amphorae, which adds body and mouthfeel to the wine and greater length into the aftertaste. Once the fermentations were complete, the wine lay on its lees with regular stirring for a further year after which the wine was prepared for bottling.
The Avondale Anima 2016 in bottled in a Burgundy shaped bottle, and closed with natural cork. The label is an elegant ‘Tree of Life, a modern rendition of the evolutionary phylogenetic tree that shows how all life form sare interconnected through a complex set of relationships over deep time.’ In the glass, the wine is a pale golden straw, gem bright. The aromas are of Golden Delicious apples, desiccated pineapple and fynbos honey. The wine fills the palate generously with flavours of poached quince, ripe white fleshed peaches and a pleasant minerality. The aftertaste has all the elements well interwoven and supported by the oak and it concomitant spice and vanilla. Lovely glass.
The Avondale Anima 2016 is a wine built for food. Do not overchill it. I always feel that a fine Chenin Blanc is a great partner to a butter roasted organic chicken with rustly roasties and real gravy. It loves Oriental dishes. It is a brilliant partner to a plate of beer battered SASSI friendly Hake and Chips.
Read more about Avondale Wine Estate – Click here