Crystallum Clay Shales Chardonnay 2018

By , 11 July 2019

While Peter-Allan Finlayson of Crystallum describes 2018 as a vintage that was “tricky to put together” causing him to “agonise over barrel selections”, he seems to have done a pretty good job. Tasting notes and ratings as follows:

Crystallum The Agnes Chardonnay 2018
Price: R240
Grapes sourced from Elgin, Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge and the Overberg. Matured for eight months, 80% in older barrels and 20% in foudre. A rather shy nose with elusive notes of citrus and dried herbs while the palate shows good fruit definition, nicely coated acidity and a savoury finish. Seamlessly assembled, an archetypal example of the variety. Alcohol: 13%.

Editor’s rating: 91/100.

Crystallum Clay Shales Chardonnay 2018, Crystallum Clay Shales Chardonnay 2018

Ripping.

Crystallum Clay Shales Chardonnay 2018
Price: R500
Grapes from Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, maturation lasting eight months, 80% in foudre and 20% in 500-litre barrel. A top note of blossom before pear, white peach and citrus plus a hint of struck match. The palate shows pure fruit and a lovely line of acidity, the finish long and pithy. Extraordinarily delicate without sacrificing intricacy. Alcohol: 13%.

Editor’s rating: 95/100.

Crystallum Peter Max Pinot Noir 2018
Price: R270
W.O. Western Cape. 40% whole-bunch fermentation. Lovely aromatics of musk, rose, red cherry and pomegranate while hints of earth and “farmyard” add intrigue. The palate is light and fresh with very fine tannins – this has a lovely energy about it, the finish having a white pepper feel to it. Particularly accomplished give a total production of 18 000 bottles. Alcohol: 13.5%.

Editor’s rating 93/100.

Crystallum Mabalel Pinot Noir 2018
Price: R500
Grapes from Elandskloof, 10% whole-bunch fermentation, maturation involving 20% new oak. Dark cherry, turned earth and a touch of reduction on the nose. Rich and round on the palate to the point of plush. Good depth of flavour, tangy acidity and smooth tannins. Alcohol: 13.5%.

Editor’s rating: 92/100.

Crystallum Cuvée Cinema Pinot Noir 2018
Price: R500
Grapes from Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, 50% whole-bunch fermentation, maturation involving 30% new. Red and black fruit to go with smoked meat and spice. Light yet intensely flavoured with zippy acidity and nicely grippy tannins. Layers of flavour and a super-long finish. Alcohol: 14%/

Editor’s rating: 94/100.

Crystallum Bona Fide Pinot Noir 2018
Price: R500
Grapes from Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. 60% whole-bunch fermentation, maturation involving 20% new oak. Cherries, plums and a hint of tar on the nose. The palate is rich yet balanced – dense fruit, soft but sufficient acidity and fine tannins, the finish gently savoury. Alcohol: 14%.

Editor’s rating: 93/100.

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