Avondale’s Samsara 2007 – Nurturing nature and working in harmony with the land
AVONDALE, one of the leading proponents of biodynamic winemaking in South Africa, are releasing their new 2007 Samsara Syrah at a particularly propitious time. The name ‘Samsara’ comes from the Sanskrit word meaning ‘to flow on’ through the endless cycle of life, and as the soil recovers from the rigours of harvest and prepares for the rebirth of Spring, it is a fitting time to recognise and celebrate its reincarnation with a new vintage of one of South Africa’s finest and most individual wines.
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Biodynamic viticulture is a system of organic farming developed in the 1920’s by Rudolph Steiner, a German philosopher. Originally intended to help combat the effects of excessive use of chemicals on the land, biodynamic viticulture is now viewed as a practical, sustainable and logical movement with its emphasis on the inter-relation between all living organisms – animals, insects, birds, plants and soil. “The key to biodynamics is balance” explains owner Johnathan Grieve. “Here at Avondale, we keep every parcel of grapes and batch of wine separate and unique; the aim being to balance out all the different components to create a harmonious whole which truly expresses the ethos of Avondale.”
The release of the Samsara Syrah 2007 is timed to coincide with the transition phase from summer to winter. This is a time for the soil to regroup its energies and resources, and in order to promote this recovery, a preparation called BD500 is sprayed on the land at the same time as a new batch of this mineral-rich, natural fertiliser is prepared for the following year. The use of BD500 is always carried out on a ‘root’ day so the preparation works with the phases of the moon, which significantly increases its effectiveness in improving the health and balance of the soil. And as one year’s-worth of the preparation is being used above ground, the new batch is already being prepared deep in the soils, perfectly illustrating the endless cycle of rebirth and re-growth for which Samsara is named.
The 2007 Samsara Syrah is an elegant wine which focuses on refined flavours that develop over time. Sixteen different blocks of organic grapes were used, each handled in a way specific to the soil, aspect and age of vines. Some of the grapes were kept as whole bunches and the natural fermentation was allowed to take place at a warmer temperature before the wine was blended and aged in small French oak barrels for between 12-16 months.
“The characteristics of this wine are its distinctive spicy aromas and absolutely classic Northern Rhône scent of violets” explains Johnathan. “Because of the way we make it, the wine is very long-lived which is why we like to wait at least 5 years if we can before we put it on the market. This unique product maximises the Avondale expression of our land and our ethos of ‘nurturing nature’ to the full.”
Samsara 2007 is available from the farm at R335 per bottle and Johnathan recommends pairing its subtle spice and elegant texture with a simple grilled Kudu steak.