Much riper nose than the 2017 and altogether a much better balanced wine whose high acidity is nicely balanced by almost balletic slimline fruit. Not an ounce of fat on this wine but you could drink it already – and it should age well. 16.5 Jancis Robinson MW
“It’s not the winemaker,” says Craig Wessels, “I’ve just got great sites.” His vineyards are certainly first class, but I think the man is being too modest here. Consistently one of the New World’s best Chardonnays, this is complex, balanced and judiciously wooded with 10% amphorae-fermented juice adding some va-va-voom. 96/100 2019-27 Tim Atkin MW
Ava Marie Vineyard
Our farm is situated in the cooler Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. The soils are granite based, and our vineyards are positioned mid slope at an elevation of 850ft. The cold South Atlantic Ocean is 5km away and acts as a giant air-conditioner. This chardonnay bears the name of its vineyard, 2.06ha in size, and is registered as a Single Vineyard. Slopes are south and east facing. Shallow top soils vary from iron rich rocks to a light sandy gravel. Below this is decomposed granite clay.
Specific parcels were hand-picked over a period of three weeks in February. The grapes were immediately fed, whole bunch, into our old Vaslin press. After a gentle four hour squeeze, the oxidised juice was settled overnight, then racked into a variety of different sized French oak barrels (7% new). and two terracota amphora, unlined, made in Tuscany. Natural fermentation took up to 30 days, after which sulphur was added for the first time and the wine was aged, sur lie for 11 months. The wine was given a light fining before being racked into a stainless steel tank, where it rested for a further three months before bottling. The wine was then bottle aged at 14 Celsius for 18 months before release.