The yields were the lowest ever – one third of the average – from this Elandskloof vineyard in 2019, but there’s nothing wrong with the quality and no sign of over-concentration on the nose or palate. Dark, intense and vigorous, with floral top notes, impressive structure, some sweet spices from 20% new wood and the raciness that’s typical of the site. Consistently impressive. 2022-27 95/100 Tim Atkin MW
Cherry, plum, blackcurrant and dark chocolate aromas on the nose lead into a decadent palate with sweet spices and liquorice notes. An intense and focused vintage, the 2019 is more savoury than the previous vintage. Ripe tannins and a bracing, fresh acidity give this wine excellent structure.
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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 Hemelen- 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 fermented using indigenous yeasts and new oak has been reduced to help the bright fruit shine through.
Mabalel Pinot Noir is produced from an incredibly unique, high altitude vineyard. The site sits at 700 metres above sea level and rests in what resembles a volcanic crater. The vineyard is surrounded by some of the Cape’s highest mountain peaks that are regularly covered by snow during winter. This is the first Pinot Noir to be produced in this valley.
2019 was a much cooler vintage than 2018. Winter saw a fair amount of rainfall, which replenished water reserves in the soil and sustained the vines through the growing season. Unsettled weather and irregular temperatures during flowering resulted in a reduction in yield. The cooler than usual temperatures during the summer meant that the grapes underwent a perfectly paced slow and steady ripening and were harvested in excellent condition.
The fruit was fermented using only native yeasts and a much lower portion of the fruit was kept as whole clusters (10%) in comparison to the other Crystallum wines. The total time in tank was 29 days with a 14 day post-fermentation maceration. The wine was then transferred to French oak barrels (20% new) where it remained for 11 months before bottling.
Residual Sugar 2.4g/L