Ngeringa winery is farmed according to biodynamic principles (NASAA certified) and is in the good hands of the husband and wife Klein team. They don't just grow grapes-- orchards, cattle and sheep, and vegetable gardens also contribute to the local ecosystems.
The black tree-like symbol represents the Ngeringa tree. "Ngeringa" means "place of the she oak" in the original local dialect, though the tree is not like an oak at all. The needles on this tree resemble equisetum (horsetail), which is used in biodynamic preparation 508. Because of planting restrictions, they cannot grow equisetum on site, and so they make this preparation by substituting the needles of the Ngeringa tree. I think this is an ingenious solution by using what you've got to do the best you can. It's also a way to bring the entire ecosystem together and give the name a much deeper significance.
"It's our luxury-- and curse-- in the New World that we can pretty much do whatever we want."
This freedom of choice does inform the philosophies of newer wine regions, for better or for worse, and it is in these regions that we can find some of the most unique wines. But unique, in this case, doesn't mean crazy or wild or extreme. This wine tasted very much like a great Vin Santo-- oxidation can mask many varietal characteristics leaving behind the imprint of the method. Ur Vin Santo in Italy is so varied itself, that it doesn't seem that much of a stretch to make it from viognier (and pinot gris and gewurztraminer).
Vin Santo-- and its diaspora-- make me think about form and line, rather than specific esters from certain grape varieties fermented at specific temperatures. It's a beverage that has a larger envelope of what is acceptable, it's a big-picture wine.