Crystallum The Agnes Chardonnay 2016  £23.95


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CRYSTALLUM THE AGNES CHARDONNAY

This small winery was established in 2007 by brothers Peter-Allan and Andrew Finlayson their father, Peter, was a pioneer in the production of cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir at Bouchard Finlayson, so after university it seemed the natural thing for the boys to return home and source some fruit from the Hemel-en-Aarde valley to start their own label. Crystallum is now one of the most highly regarded wineries in South Africa, yet the Finlaysons are determined to make even better wines. Peter-Allan has sourced fruit from some new vineyards, while winemaking has evolved. All of the wines are now wild fermented and new oak has been reduced to help the bright fruit shine through.

The 2016 'The Agnes' Chardonnay is produced from three different vineyards in the Hemel-en-Aarde and Overberg regions. The soils of these vineyards range from heavy clay to intermediate shale and sandstone. The final blend retains the characteristics of these individual sites but attains an identity which is both unique and greater than the sum of its parts.

2016 was overall a very warm year in Walker Bay. A very cold winter was followed by a warm spring and successful budbreak and flowering. Continuous sunshine and hot days throughout December and January meant that the harvest began even earlier than the 2015 vintage. Dry and warm conditions provided low yields of excellent quality fruit.

'The Agnes' was produced using the traditional method of transferring the whole grape clusters straight from harvesting into the press and running the juice off into a settling tank. The juice was then transferred the next day into 228 litre French oak barrels, 10% of which were new. Fermentation occurred naturally in barrel, where it remained for nine months before bottling.

'The Agnes' is concentrated and beautifully balanced. The nose is wonderfully expressive with notes of lime, grapefruit, nectarine and ripe peach. The palate is intense and layered with a strong fruit core and lovely fresh acidity.

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