Crystallum new releases
By Christian Eedes, 7 June 2021
For those pre-occupied with who handles the Burgundian varieties of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir best under local circumstances, then the wines made by Peter-Allan Finlayson of Crystallum are compulsory as reference points. Tasting notes and ratings for the soon-to-be-released 2020s as follows:
Crystallum The Agnes Chardonnay 2020
This multi-vineyard blend includes grapes from Ceres for the first time in addition to parcels sourced from the greater Hemel-en-Aarde and Elgin and this seems to have elevated the quality. The nose shows struck match, peach and citrus plus a hint of oatmeal while the palate has great depth, vibrant acidity and a savoury finish. Vivid and intensely flavoured. No mean achievement given that total production is 15 981 bottles.
CE’s rating: 94/100.
Crystallum Clay Shales Chardonnay 2020
Grapes from Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge. Elusive aromatics of pear, white peach, lemon and talcum powder while the palate is light and elegant – perhaps less concentrated than usual but nice freshness, the finish long and dry.
CE’s rating: 92/100.
Crystallum Ferrum Chardonnay 2020
A new wine, grapes from the Shaw’s Mountain area of the Overberg, planted on iron-rich soils and hence the name. Lemon and orange, some waxy, yeasty notes and spice on the nose while the palate is rich and full with well-integrated acidity and a savoury finish. Particularly characterful.
CE’s rating: 93/100.
Crystallum Peter Max Pinot Noir 2020
Grapes from four vineyards in the greater Hemel-en-Aarde area and one in Elandskloof. 40% whole-bunch fermentation. Some reduction before red and black cherry, a hint of musk and some herbal character. The palate is cheerful enough but a bit unknit – sweet, somewhat dilute fruit on entry before a very savoury, almost bitter finish. Total production: 26 178 bottles.
CE’s rating: 89/100.
Crystallum Mabalel Pinot Noir 2020
Grapes from Elandskloof, no whole-bunch fermentation. Seductive aromatics of red and black cherry, rose, musk, herbs and a hint of earth while the palate has weight and presence thanks to a dense core of fruit, nicely integrated acidity and powdery tannins. Very appealing in its plushness.
CE’s rating: 94/100.
Crystallum Bona Fide Pinot Noir 2020
Grapes from Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, 50% whole-bunch fermentation. Haunting aromatics of red cherry, flowers, herbs, spice and white pepper. The palate is spellbinding in the refinement, energy and tension that it shows – the greatest purity, bright acidity and impeccably fine tannins make this a new benchmark for the category in South Africa.
CE’s rating: 96/100.
Crystallum Cuvée Cinema Pinot Noir 2020
Grapes from Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, 60% whole-bunch fermentation. Red and black cherries, beetroot, earth and spice on the nose while the palate is substantial yet seamless – good fruit definition, fresh acidity and smooth tannins. This has weight and texture in the best sense.
CE’s rating: 95/100.
Check out our South African wine ratings database.
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