To produce the Pinot Noir “Peter Max” Crystallum, the fruit was hand-picked and delivered to the cellar in small crates. Approximately 60% of the grapes were de-stemmed and added to the remainder, which were left as whole clusters. The temperature of the must was then lowered for a few days, after which the tank was allowed to warm up for natural fermentation to begin. This fermentation regime kept extraction to a minimum, while allowing for a slow, extended maceration period of four weeks. The wine was aged in 228 litre and 500 litre, lightly toasted French oak barrels for nine months, 10% of which was new. The wine was bottled after a light filtration.
Peter and Max are the first names of the growers who supplied the fruit for the first vintage of this wine. Fruit for the Peter Max Pinot Noir is now sourced from five vineyards, located in the coastal area of Hemel-en-Aarde as well as a new high altitude, inland site. The different sites experience altitude and cooling sea breezes, which slow down the grape ripening process, resulting in grapes with excellent concentration of flavour and balanced, fresh 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.