CRYSTALLUM CLAY SHALES CHARDONNAY 2017
The 2016 Clay Shales Chardonnay marks a change since it aged in 2,600-liter Stockinger foudres as Peter-Allan moves towards larger vessels. It has a very composed bouquet with a subtle resinous, nutmeg oil and walnut notes that become more prominent with time in the glass. The palate is well balanced with light lemon sorbet notes, a keen thread of acidity and a precise and sustained finish. Give this another year in bottle, because it is keeping its cards to itself at the moment. 91/100 ROBERT PARKER.
THE SINGLE VINEYARD CLAY SHALES CHARDONNAY (SO NAMED BECAUSE THE VINEYARD HAS LOTS OF CLAY AND SHALE IN THE SOIL) IS MADE FROM FRUIT GROWN 300 METRES ABOVE SEA LEVEL IN THE MOUNTAINS BEHIND THE TOWN OF HERMANUS IN THE WALKER BAY. THIS REGION IS CHARACTERISED BY A COOL CLIMATE THAT RESULTS IN DELAYED RIPENING AND A LATE HARVEST. THE SOIL COMPOSITION ALLOWS FOR OPTIMUM FRUIT DEVELOPMENT WHILE NATURALLY RESTRICTING VIGOUR, GIVING LOVELY ACID AND BALANCE.
REMARKABLY, THE VINES ARE JUST 12 YEARS OLD AND ALREADY PRODUCING INCREDIBLY FRUIT COMPLEXITY. THIS IS DRY, ELEGANT, NUANCED, FRESH AND MINERALLY WITH TERRIFIC EXPRESSION OF WHITE PEACH, MELON AND CASHEW NUT FLESHED OUT WITH A SAVOURY UMAMI QUALITY. THE WINE GOES THROUGH FULL MALOLACTIC FERMENTATION AND THEN SEES JUST 15% NEW OAK WITH A MIX OF SECOND AND THIRD FILL BARRELS. IT ALSO HAS AN EXTRAORDINARY ZIP WITH A PH OF 3.21.