The Avondale 2019 Qvevri Red showcases the uniqueness of this ancient winemaking vessel

Updated: Oct 28


Avondale is thrilled to announce the release of the much awaited Qvevri Red 2019 vintage.

“Wine could not be made more naturally than this,” says Johnathan Grieve, proprietor of Avondale Estate, which has released its 2019 vintage of its landmark Qvevri Red Blend, fermented and matured in clay Qvevri.

In early-2018 Avondale became the first winery in the country to begin working with Qvevri – pronounced kwe-vree – the egg-shaped earthenware vessels that hail from the European country of Georgia.

The Avondale Qvevri Red 2019 Blend, is a Rhône-style blend driven by Grenache (52%), with smaller components of Syrah (30%) and Mourvèdre (18%).  The result is a light red wine that offers finesse, elegance, and a sense of place; driven by the bright red fruit on a foundation of the Syrah spiciness.

“It’s got Beaujolais characteristics, with a lightness and freshness in taste driven by the beautiful fruit” says Corne Marais, winemaker at Avondale since 2008.

“It’s drinking superbly at the moment, the beauty of the Qvevri is that the micro-oxygenation breathes subtle life into the wine, improving the tannins, fruit and ageability,” says Marais.

Because Qvevri are kiln-fired at a lower temperature, they have a high porosity. Qvevri craftsmen temper this with the application of a bee’s wax coating while the pottery is still warm from the kiln. Due to their size Qvevri are also traditionally buried in soil to the neck, regulating temperature and tempering the rate of micro-oxygenation.

Avondale is one of the pioneers in experimenting with different winemaking vessels. 

Grieve says “What’s been exciting for us is that because these are hand-made vessels by master craftsmen, each Qvevri has its own character. This is our 2nd vintage in these vessels and these individual traits are becoming more apparent.”

TASTING NOTES:

VINEYARDS: 10 to 20-year-old organic vines; with a yield of 8 tons per hectare.

GRAPE VARIETIES: 52% Grenache, 30% Syrah & 18% Mourvèdre


WINEMAKING: The grapes were harvested between 22° and 23 °B; The varieties were vinified separately. Destemmed Grenache and whole bunch Syrah and Mourvèdre were placed in the Qvevri. The wine was punched down daily during fermentation and left on the skins for 1-3 months, before a light pressing took place. The wine was then aged in the Qvevri for a year. In February 2020, the wines were removed from the Qvevri, blended and bottled.

ALCOHOL: 12%; PH: 3.46; TA: 5.3g/l

WINEMAKER CORNE COMMENTS: 

A mélange of succulent red fruit - raspberry, mulberry, strawberry with violets and spice. Overlaid with the unmistakable minerality and earthiness from the Qvevri on the nose. This follows through on the palate with a bright natural acidity giving a wonderful freshness and drinkability to the wine. The wine has a great balance between the fine tannins of the whole bunch, bright natural acidity, abundance of fruit, earthiness that sparks an interest and intrigue in the flavour and finish of the wine.


AGEING: Whilst the wine is fresh and accessible now, it will develop complex secondary characteristics over time.