Kershaw Elgin Chardonnay 2012
Restrained, mineral style focussed on elegance
with a white fruit character, some oatmeal and some complexity gained
from percipient wood application.
WINE OF ORIGIN:
Elgin, Western Cape, South Africa.
100% Chardonnay made up of the 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:
10.3 tons selected from 5 small parcels of Chardonnay.
In 2011, owner Richard Kershaw MW, established Richard Kershaw Wines (RKW) to create clonally selected, site-specific, 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: 6th-23rd March 2012 Brix/Balling at Harvest: 22.21-24.14.
2012 was a stand out vintage with a combination of cool spring weather giving the shoots plenty of time to break buds and the absence of strong wind resulting in less shoot damage and good flowering. High cold units from cooler winter temperatures also allowed proper vine dormancy. Despite some heat surges in January, Elgin was tempered from the highs experienced elsewhere and, importantly, peak temperatures were only achieved for short periods as the night-time temps were cool and the soils took time to warm up. The extraordinary cool nights experienced in February meant that fruit aromas were preserved and acids retained. At first sight, 2012 seems an exciting and potentially excellent vintage for Chardonnay with low pH, great natural acidity levels and austerity of mineral qualities.
The grapes were hand-picked in the early autumnal mornings, placed in 10kg berry baskets and tipped directly into a press and gently whole-bunch pressed up to a maximum of 0.6 bar or until a low juice recovery of 600 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 thus underwent spontaneous fermentation until dry, with malolactic discouraged. The wine rested in barrel for 5 months prior to judicious sulphuring and a further 5 months maturation in barrel before racking, blending and bottling, with each bottle bearing a unique reference number.
A small number of artisanal coopers were selected, all from Burgundy and only French oak was chosen. 40% 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.