To produce the Chardonnay “Clay Shales” Crystallum, the grapes were gently pressed as whole bunches in order 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 maximum intensity of flavour and character.
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 a vibrant acidity.
Crystallum is a small winery 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 Hemel-en-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.