Case Price: $99.00 (3 x 750ml)
|Our Price: $33.00 / bottle (RRP: $35.00 )||Case: 3 x 750ml|
'Outstanding, if not, in Australia’s leading sect for this fascinating variety.There’s a serious wine here. Peach iced tea, bergamot, rose hips, faint strawberry in perfume'
94 Points - Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
Sometimes in life it is best to step outside your comfort zone. Challenge yourself just that little bit, looking beyond the familiar and into a place that hopefully makes you feel just that little bit uncomfortable.
And that, my friends, is what we have today. A triumvirate of wines that will not only challenge all pre-conceived notions you may have about natural, minimal intervention winemaking, but once tasted, may even set you on a new path of experimentation and vinous enlightenment.
The Avani Amrit 3-pack celebrates the wines of Mornington Peninsula winemakers Shashi and Devendra Singh. Together they own and operate a thumb-tack sized winery, set just off the back of the massive Kooyong cellar-door. Shashi worked side by side with Phillip Jones of Bass Phillip and counts him as one of the guiding forces behind their 'garagiste' label. Focusing mostly on bio-dynamics, minimal intervention, skin-contact and low-sulfur regimes, Shashi has created wines that are inevitably brighter, livelier, fresher and persistent. When on-song, and in a vintage that creates the perfect conditions (not just in the vineyard, but in the winery where ferments are controlled solely by the weather on hand) they are wines that will make your mouth drop. Nothing is done by half measure, and the vivacious, expressive flavours on display are otherworldly.
The Amrit range utilises all locally sustainably grown fruit, and each 3-pack will feature one bottle of the 2017 Amrit Pinot Gris (Skins), 2017 Amrit Chardonnay & the 2017 Amrit Sauvignon Blanc. The Chardonnay is exemplary, showing off Jura like nuttiness and texture, the Pinot Gris might be one of the finest examples of this grape variety anywhere in the country (so says Mike Bennie) and the Sauvignon Blanc is just epic and as far removed from anything you might have tried before. Funky, spicy, smoky and just an absolute joy to drink.
All up, this 3-pack might just be the start of a fun new adventure... and there isn't a Barossa Shiraz or Margaret River Chardonnay in sight. These wines also feature quite heavily on the lists of some of the greatest restaurants and top-level wine bars in the country.
Avani is an ancient Sanskrit word that means ‘the earth’.
Planted in 1987 on gentle north facing slopes in Red Hill South on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, the 4 hectare non-irrigated and low cropped vineyard is focussed on producing only cool-climate shiraz (syrah).
They employ biodynamic practices which enable us to focus on soil health, the protection of indigenous microbes and creating an environment of ecological self-sufficiency.
The winemaking approach is one of minimal interference; using wild yeast fermentation with no fining, filtration or pumping, creating a wine unique to the vineyard.
The vineyard is located at an elevation of 204m above sea level on the Mornington Peninsula (Red Hill South, Victoria). The site was planted in 1987 on gentle north facing slopes of clay loam and tertiary basalt. The 4 hectare site is non-irrigated and features only one variety, shiraz.
Avani's aim is to make a wine that provides a true expression of the site.
In this regard they have adopted biodynamic practices in the vineyard, as well as, minimal interference in our winemaking.
The winemaking process involves using 100% de-stemmed grapes, pre-maceration for 7-8 days and wild yeast fermentation for 7-10 days.
During the process, there is no fining or filtration of the wine. Post maceration is carried out for between 7-28 days depending on the vintage. The wine is matured in 2-3 year old French oak barrels for a period of 18 months. At this time, the wine is gravity fed hand bottled on the premises (from 2012).
Based on current yields they produce between 150 – 200 cases of wine per annum.
2017 Avani Amrit Pinot Gris (Skins)
A Pinot Gris not to be served too chilled. The grapes spend 4 weeks on skin. Gives this gorgeous orange pink colour. Half of the grapes are fermented in barrels, the rest in tanks. Notes of white pepper, violet and rose petals. Then come hints of Australian botanicals. Good freshness and phenolics, with some gentle tannins
2017 Avani Amrit Chardonnay
Slight caramel tinged hue to the wine. Toffee apple nose, with sea-spray, toasted pecans, butterscotch and lemon cream. Has a wild underlying texture, with perky acids and a gentle warming.
2017 Avani Amirt Sauvignon Blanc
Wow. Now this is a wine and wholly unexpected. Chamomile, daffodil, apple skins, ginger, and wild passionfruit on the sweeter, more feminine perfume side, and then there is the amazing bell pepper, crunch-green brassicas and chervil. Impact here is big. This has a lot going on.
2017 Avani Amrit Pinot Gris (Skins) Review
'Amrit is the outstanding Avani wines ‘second label’, but that’s downplaying things. It’s a side project, one could say, non-estate fruit, but carefully selected, sustainably grown, and then vinified on the home farm. There are two pinot gris under this label, one that sees some judicious skin contact (this one) and one that evidently gets time on lees and barrel but not the same maceration. They are both outstanding, if not, in Australia’s leading sect for this fascinating variety.
There’s a serious wine here. Peach iced tea, bergamot, rose hips, faint strawberry in perfume, a collision of scents that has you guessing but pleased. The palate has serious grip, chew, pucker, but never forgets fruitiness and, importantly, a herbal detail that says ‘this ain’t a white wine, it’s something entirely different’ (but good). I like that it extends long in the palate and feels more like a serious but light red wine, despite its ultra fresh feel and delicate fruit flavours. The message is, this is outstanding.'
94 Points - Mike Bennie, The Wine Front
Avani Winery - Max Allen
“AVANI. Remember this name. It’s a Sanskrit word that means “mother earth”. It’s also the name of a new wine label from Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. Only one grape variety is grown in the Avani vineyard: shiraz. Only one wine is made: a syrah (the owner chose the grape’s French name for reasons that will become clear). And it’s one of the best new Australian wines I’ve tasted this year.
The winemaker is Shashi Singh. She and her chef husband, Devendra, own one of the Peninsula’s most-acclaimed Indian restaurants, Tulsi. Shashi discovered her passion for wine when the couple arrived in the region two decades ago. So when a small vineyard on Red Hill came on the market in 1998, they bought it.
Shashi, who had studied chemistry, enrolled in viticulture and oenology at Charles Sturt Uni and in 2000 a mutual friend introduced her to Phillip Jones, the legendary winemaker at Bass Phillip vineyard in Gippsland. He and Shashi hit it off immediately, and in 2004 she started working for him, eventually becoming his assistant winemaker as well as, initially with his guidance, making the wine from her vineyard in his cellar (the Singhs now have their own on-site winery).
The just-released 2009 Avani, from a low-yielding, hot vintage, is the first syrah Shashi made on her own, and it’s just magic: redolent of pure peppery spice and sinewy black fruit at first, it opens with some time in the glass to reveal lovely flesh and earthiness. The 2011, from a completely different, cool, wet vintage, is also available now and is a triumph, considering the challenge of the season: lighter bodied but still intense, it has gorgeous dark little country-hedgerow berries and a fine, almost silky texture.
The yet-to-be-released 2010 and still-in-barrel 2012 are bigger, more structured wines, although both are still very much in the medium-bodied, cool-climate, Rhone-like “syrah” mould: the 2010 grips on to your tongue and slowly oozes damson-plummy fruit; the 2012 is all seduction, draping folds of dark velvet across your palate.
Shashi Singh is heavily influenced by Phillip Jones’s minimal intervention approach in the winery: her syrah is made with zero additions (no cultured yeast, no acid, no tannin), no pumping or filtration, and very low levels of preservatives. Since 2005, the Singhs have also farmed their vineyard biodynamically, without synthetic fertilisers or herbicides or fungicides.
Biodynamics is controversial because it marries organic farming with spirituality. How does Shashi reconcile this with her science background?
“The philosophical side of biodynamics is very much what I grew up with in India,” she says. “And besides, I don’t need to have scientific proof to know things exist! I can see that biodynamics has made a huge difference in the vineyard, and the wines reflect that. The grapes ripen earlier, with better natural acidity, with more vibrant fruit flavour, which means I do not have to adjust the wine in the winery. Biodynamics enhances the expression of the vineyard in the wine.”