Lock, stock and wine barrel: Slow winemaking at Avondale

Picture: iStock

Picture: iStock

Whole-bunch fermentation, in amphorae made of clay from the estate, is a key component of the the Cyclus 2016.

Organic, made with nature in mind and always topping year-end lists, Avondale has carved itself quite a following.

A lot of that is thanks to the stories that come from the family-owned farm.

Whether it’s letting ducks clear the vineyards of snails, or waiting for the grapes to reach true phenolic ripeness before harvest, there’s certainly no shortage of patience on Avondale Estate.

Two of the latest releases is Anima 2016 and Cyclus 2016 – an expression of going-slow winemaking.

The Anima 2016 is a pure chenin blanc picked from the low-yielding organic vineyards.

Cyclus 2016 offers a captivating blend crafted from roussanne, viognier, chenin blanc, semillon and chardonnay vineyards.

Image result for avondale cyclus 2016

Winemaker Jonathon Grieve is a firm believer that wine is made in the vineyard and for the past 19 years he has been a pioneer – and outspoken advocate – of both organic and biodynamic viticulture and winemaking.

While there’s no hurry in the vineyards, it’s in the cellar where Avondale’s slow winemaking philosophy truly comes to the fore – mass-produced is simply not what happens here.

Whole-bunch fermentation, in amphorae made of clay from the estate, is a key component of the Cyclus 2016, lending additional structure and minerality to the final blend.

The remaining juice underwent spontaneous fermentation in 500-litre oak barrels and was kept on the lees for 12 months before blending and bottling.

The result is a complex, multilayered white blend that begins with a richly perfumed nose of stone fruit and violets.

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