Jonathan Grieve, owner and manager of Paarl property Avondale, has a policy of delaying the release of his red wines, the 2009 vintage of the Samsara Syrah having just gone on sale. Part of his approach to winemaking is to employ warmer ferments and longer skin contact than is usual, thereby dispensing with primary fruit but ensuring something more enduring. Production of Samsara typically involves 30 to 40% whole-bunch fermentation and maturation in mainly older 600-litre barrels for up to 18 months.
The 2009 has a somewhat shy nose with hints of red and black fruit, pepper but also some evolved undergrowth character. The palate is full but not without freshness, the tannins starting to resolve, the overall impression being that this wine is already quite mellow. Price: R399 a bottle.
Editor’s rating: 87/100.
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