Grapes from Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge. Elusive aromatics of pear, white peach, lemon and talcum powder while the palate is light and elegant – perhaps less concentrated than usual but nice freshness, the finish long and dry. 92/100 Christian Eedes winemag.co.za
Following 2019, a leaner and more mineral vintage, the 2020 is an emphatic expression of a now-famous site. Lemon meringue, apple blossom and lime leaf are bolstered by arresting tropical notes of lychee and pineapple on the nose. A rindy, flinty mouthfeel adds a pithy and moreish texture on the palate while peach and buttered popcorn combine towards a remarkably long finish.
This Chardonnay is grown in the ‘Clay Shales’ single vineyard, the name of which is derived from the soil composition here: predominately clay and shale. This combination allows for optimum fruit development while naturally restricting vigour. The vineyard sits at 300 metres above sea level in the mountains behind the town of Hermanus in the Walker Bay region. Altitude and cooling sea breezes slow down the grape ripening process, resulting in grapes with excellent concentration of flavour balanced by vibrant acidity.
Healthy winter rainfall began to replenish water reserves in the soil and sustained the vines through the growing season. Cooler conditions in the lead up to harvest were beneficial. The grapes underwent a perfectly paced, slow and steady ripening and were harvested with concentrated flavours balanced by fresh, natural acidity. However, 2020 was still affected by the preceding drought years. This meant the vines were only just starting to recover fully and resulted in low yields. Despite this, Peter-Allan was “very happy with the quality and elegance” of the 2020 vintage.
Upon arrival at the winery, the grapes were gently pressed as whole bunches to obtain a very clear juice. The juice was left to settle and then racked into 500L French and Austrian oak barrels, where the wine fermented naturally and remained on its lees for 10 months, gaining textural complexity. It was bottled by hand with no filtration or cold stabilisation to retain the maximum intensity of flavour and character.