Asara Avalon (6/case) (R1899/BOTTLE)
Asara’s Speciality range is an eclectic collection of wines that represent a twist on regional specialities. Niche and unique, the range reects the quality of an estate whose vinous history dates back to 1691.
Cultivar: Pinotage (63%) ; Shiraz (37%)
Area of origin: Polkadraai, Stellenbosch
At Valpolicella in Italy, a unique winemaking style has developed over the centuries.
Known as Amarone, the process involves desiccating premium quality grapes; the aim being to capture the intense colour and flavour found in the skins. Asara Avalon is a twist on Amarone that takes advantage of elements of South African terroir. Because of the abundance of warmth, the grapes can be dried on the vines, rather than in drying houses as happens in Italy. This contracts a process of months into a matter of weeks, and maintains a natural cycle that protects the health of the grapes. The grapes are grown at altitude; the Pinotage at the highest point on the farm. The coolness extends the ripening, producing thicker skins and therefore healthier grapes. It also contributes elegance to the finished wine; a profile for which the Amarones are famed.
The highest block on the farm, at 210m, is host to premium Pinotage at 16 years of age, with tiny yields of 3-4 tons per hectare. The vineyard is planted to deep Tukulu soil, both moisture- and nutrient rich. The Pinotage vines are less stressed and thus produce fruit that is fresher and more elegant, in the newer Pinotage style. The rows are planted northwest to southeast, attracting twice -daily doses of sunshine on the grapes. For the remainder of the day the canopy shades the grape, further allowing lengthened ripening. Well -drained Oakleaf soils are home to the highest quality of Shiraz grapes on the Asara property. These are aged 11 years and yield at 4 tons per hectare. By withdrawing irrigation during ripening, the grapes very slightly dehydrate, concentrating spiciness and flavour. The row direction is southeast to northwest, producing a similar sunshin effect to the Pinotage grapes.
The grapes remain on the vines until they reach 23-24.5° Balling; at which point the stems are pinched to cut off moisture supply. The bunches remain on the vine for a further three weeks, reaching 30-31° Balling and weighing one third less due to the loss of water. The grapes are harvested in the coolness of morning into small lugs, sorted, and rushed to the cellar.
A second whole bunch sorting ensures the utmost quality with minimal grape handling. After a gentle crushing, the juice is fermented at cooler temperatures, and the skins are submerged thrice daily. Some 30% of the stems are added to the tanks, their desiccation reducing the over extraction of tannin while still adding structure to the wine. The wine is matured in old 3001 barriques, 80% French and 20% American, with 30% new barrels, for three years. Spontaneous malolactic fermentation takes place, contributing complexity to the wine.
Fresh, juicy coconut, generous fruitcake spice and red berries show on the nose. Fresh red berries and copha predominate at the mouth-watering entry; full bodied and rich in fruitcake spice and notes of dried fig.
Alcohol: 15.5 %
Residual sugar (RS): 8.7 g/ℓ
Total Acidity (TA): 6.7 g/ℓ