Stylish and Burgundian with bright citrus, white stone fruit, oyster shell minerality and a hint of brioche. The purity of fruit combined with well-judged oak and bright fresh acidity result in a wine that is layered and complex with a lingering finish
“After a Platinum win for Elgin Chardonnay last year, we all suspected it was only a matter of time before this propitious combination of variety and region would make its way into our Top Fifty. So it proved this year, as this high-sited (200m-450m), mountain-fringed zone in the Cape’s deep, ocean-cooled south brought us one of the most memorable of this year’s Chardonnay cohort.” — JUDGES COMMENT
The 20th edition of Decanter World Wine Awards saw 18,250 wines judged from 57 countries with the following results: 50 Best in Show, (only 2 Chardonnay’s) 125 Platinum, 705 Gold, 5,568 Silver and 8,161 Bronze medals.
“We are all very excited and would have never conceived that when I bought a rundown apple farm 26 years ago that we would produce a Chardonnay that ranks with the best in the world, a wonderful team effort with encouragement, support and input from so many, I am very grateful.” — ANDREW GUNN
The vineyards are between 9-15 years old. The grapes were hand-picked before being whole bunch pressed. No settling enzymes were used, resulting in juice containing more solids. This wine was 100% wild fermented in a selection of 300L and 228L French oak barrels (22% new, the rest in 2nd, 3rd and 4th fill barrels).
The wine remained on the lees for a total of 11 months. 12% of the wine went through malolactic fermentation to add richness and texture. Thereafter, the wines were racked and blended (47% Kloof, 22% Fynbos, 17% Block F4 and 14% Kraal) in stainless steel tanks. The wine was fined and stabilised naturally for a period of three months before bottling.
The 2021 vintage experienced a typical cold Elgin winter, with snow on the high mountain peaks and high winter rainfall, after 5 years of very dry and unusually warm winter conditions. This enabled good vine dormancy. Bud break took place in ideal warm and sunny conditions. The impact of below than average winter rains in the previous years and windy conditions during October and November resulted in very uneven flowering. As a result, berry set was uneven leading to smaller berries that have good concentration of flavours. Cool weather conditions during December and January slowed down ripening.
The 2021 vintage was characterised by late rainfall and increased the risk of disease. Sorting was again crucial this year and the fruit that remained shows wonderful intensity and fruit concentration. The late rain helped nourish the soils and more importantly, helped the vine focus on grape ripening rather than foliage growth, resulting in concentrated berries with low pH and lower sugar levels. The net result of the later vintage and very cool weather conditions in 2021, is that the grapes had high natural acidity, achieved steady phenolic ripeness and plenty of intense and concentrated fruit flavours.
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