Kershaw Elgin Chardonnay 2014
Restrained, mineral style focussed on elegance with a white fruit character, some oatmeal and some complexity gained from percipient wood application. In 2014, this was interpreted into wines that have focus with understated power, pure fruit expression and incredible concentration of flavour whilst maintaining elegance and semblance of texture that will likely develop exceptionally over the next decade.
WINE OF ORIGIN:
Elgin, Western Cape, South Africa.
100% Chardonnay made from Dijon clones CY96, CY95 and CY76.
Soil is more than a medium in which to plant the vine. Whilst it does not directly impart character, i.e. flintiness from
flinty soils, it does impact various nuances depending on its type. The soils used to grow the grapes for both the Kershaw Elgin
Chardonnay and Syrah come from a variety of gravel-based soils:
• Tukulu (50% gravel, 25% friable clay and 25% sand) giving elegance, freshness and aromatics
• Koue Bokkeveld shales in three parcels giving structure and concentration of flavours
• One parcel of sand and pebbles (essentially Table Mountain sandstone) giving delicacy and fruity flavours
TOTAL VINEYARD PRODUCTION:
15.1 tons selected from 5 small parcels of Chardonnay.
HISTORY: In 2011, owner Richard Kershaw MW, established Richard Kershaw Wines (RKW) to create clonally selected, sitespecific,
cool climate wine paradigms from apposite noble grapes i.e. ones with the ability to produce world-class examples. SA’s coolest wine district, Elgin Valley, reflected these principles benefitting from higher altitude, ocean proximity, specific cloud cover sequencing, high cold units and a large diurnal range, enabling the germane grapes, Chardonnay and Syrah, to show a sense of place.
Hand-Picking Dates: 26th February – 8th March 2014. Brix at Harvest: 22.0-22.93.
An exceptionally wet and cold winter resulted in excellent winter dormancy. Further wet and cold conditions continued late into spring retarding budburst by several weeks. Although disease incidence was higher, the warmer weather that eventually arrived in December enabled the vines to recover. An incredibly wet January kept growers on their toes but February’s warm, sunny weather allowed véraison to proceed late but under ideal conditions for both the Chardonnay and Syrah. The wet soils meant that growth was put into shoots rather than bunches, which despite hindering sugar accumulation, did mean an excellent slow phenolic ripeness made even slower by cooler conditions in early March. This double whammy of slow flavour accrual and preservation of high natural acidity has meant 2014 is one of the top Chardonnay vintages of the last decade.
WINEMAKING: Grapes were hand-picked in the early autumnal mornings, placed into small lug baskets and tipped directly into a press before being gently whole-bunch pressed up to a maximum of 0.6 bar or until a low juice recovery of 580 litres per ton was obtained. The juice gravity-flowed directly to barrel (no pumps were used at all) without settling. The unclarified
juice had no enzymes, yeast or acid added to it and therefore underwent spontaneous fermentation until dry, with malolactic discouraged. The wine rested in barrel for 3 months prior to judicious sulphuring and a further 7 months maturation in barrel before racking, blending and bottling.
A small number of artisanal coopers were selected, all from Burgundy and only French oak was chosen. 35% of the oak was new
with the remainder split into 2nd and 3rd fill barrels of predominantly 228 litres with 10% left to ferment and mature in stainless steel.
9340 bottles all individually marked on the label.