When initially opened, the aromatics were rather broody and foresty, dominated by bramble berry fruits, red currants and wild strawberries. But chilling the bottle down ever so slightly and affording it a little more time to breath and open its shoulders, the wine really does blossom into something quite beautiful. The aromatics are slightly wild and spicy, with notes of red cherries, strawberries and earthy mulberry notes embellished with hints of dried baking herbs. There is subtle spice nuances, an attractive violet and rose petal perfume, but no real evidence of the 20% whole bunch component or any overt wood spice notes from the 30% new oak, just harmonious integration. The palate is impressively silky and sleek with beautifully pure refined tannins, a light to medium-bodied mouthfeel weight and delicate, integrated earthy red berry and pomegranate fruit notes enlivened by soft, fresh acids and a seamless finish. One can’t say this wine has the most mineral of profiles, but certainly, elegance and finesse are the order of the day. A really gentle, generous wine that speaks softly and is very amiable. Drink now and over the next 5 to 8+ years. 93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW
The coastal ‘Litigo’ vineyard is found just outside the Hemel-en-Aarde ridge. The vines are seven years old and are planted on soils consisting of Bokkeveld shale and clay. The site is south facing, meaning that the vines are shaded for more time during the day, and the site is cooler than the other Crystallum vineyards and produces wines that are lighter in style. The vineyard is joint owned by Crystallum and Eben van Wyk, a lawyer friend of Peter-Allan’s, and the name ‘Litigo’, meaning ‘discussion’ in Latin, is a nod to this. The vineyard is farmed sustainably, and harvesting is done by hand.
2019 was a much cooler vintage than 2018. Winter saw a fair amount of rainfall, replenishing water reserves in the soil and sustaining the vines through the growing season. Unsettled weather and irregular temperatures during flowering resulted in a reduction in yield. During the summer, the cooler than usual temperatures meant that the grapes underwent a perfectly paced, slow and steady ripening and were harvested with concentrated flavours balanced by great natural acidity.
Upon arrival at the winery, the bunches were rigorously sorted. 20%whole bunch was used in the ferment; the remainder was de-stemmed but left intact as whole berries. Fermentation was carried out in stainless steel tanks using native yeasts. The wine underwent a post-fermentation maceration on the skins to extract the ideal aroma levels, colour, and tannin. After this, the wine was pressed, settled and then transferred to a combination of French and Hungarian oak barrels, 30% of which were new, where it was aged for 11 months before bottling. 2019 is the maiden vintage of ‘Litigo’, and only 1,264 bottles were made.