‘These are some of South Africa’s finest Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. Attesting to that was the fine performance of his wine when served against the likes of Domaine de la…

‘These are some of South Africa’s finest Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. Attesting to that was the fine performance of his wine when served against the likes of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti… These wines are highly recommended, although quantities remain frustratingly small.’ – Neal Martin

The latest releases from the boutique winery Crystallum are all from the 2016 vintage. Although providing super concentration, the vintage also resulted in a smaller harvest. Combined with the increasing demand for Peter-Allan’s special cuvées, this means that the 2016s are even more limited than usual. Established as producers of great Pinot and Chardonnay and the darling of international judges,  Crystallum and their range stand out for their authenticity and unique terroir-expression – these are wines of character.

Where the 2015s were fine and from an effortless vintage, the latest releases are good examples of the power and concentration of the 2016 vintage. Produced from various soil types and microclimates, the goal is to bring us special stories of South African Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

The Crystallum Cuvée Cinéma is from different parcels and best expresses the vision of Peter-Allan Finlayson. Finely crafted, it is firmly ensconced as one of SA’s best. The 2016 is a favourite of mine. I particularly like the structure and power of this wine and, I dare say, I prefer it to the fine 2015. The Crystallum Malabel is currently the poster child for the Elandskloof appellation. Still young, this vineyard shows remarkable escalation in quality with every new release. In a similar mould to the 2015, the 2016 Mabalel is ethereal, fragrant and has a haunting, seductive nature.

The third puzzle in Peter-Allan’s Pinot terroir-expression, is the Crystallum Bona Fide 2016. Much richer and sumptuous than the previous two, it’s fuller-bodied but has a wonderful, savoury edge that counters the dark fruit weight. It is brooding and layered. The Crystallum Clay Shales 2016 is hedonistic and offers texture and flavour over precision. It’s a delicious wine loaded with character.

Although produced in larger volumes, the Peter Max Pinot Noir 2016 and The Agnes Chardonnay 2016 will still sell out in a flash. We only have a few cases of the 2016 Peter Max left. Join us at our upcoming tasting – MEOW – where you can taste some of these releases.

Tasting notes:

Crystallum, Cuvée Cinéma Pinot Noir 2016 – R 435 
The flagship in the range, the Cuvée Cinéma is now well-established as one of the most collectable South African Pinots. The 2016 shows incredible balance, lovely nuanced tones and the most sophisticated structure of the three by far. There is a haunting combination of earthy forest floor and restraint, but laced with pure fruit. Delicious already, however the structure promises longevity and maturation potential. Drink: 2018 – 2028. – James Pietersen (July 2017)

Crystallum, Mabalel Pinot Noir 2016 – R 435 
Always ethereal with the trademark orange peel and spice on the nose. Every year this vineyard just gives more. There is a wonderful seductive edge to this wine with a deep and subtle nature; verging on the mysterious. Ready to enjoy, it’s hedonistic and moreish. Drink: 2017 – 2026. – James Pietersen (July 2017)

Crystallum, Bona Fide Pinot Noir 2016 – R 435 
Darker fruit, deeper and fuller in flavor, the 2016 Bona Fide comes from a slightly warmer basin that presents a more textured and fuller flavour profile. The nose is fruit-forward with ripe plums and dark cherry leading on to a sumptuous, rounded and silky palate. There is a lovely savoury edge to the wine and it opens beautifully in the glass. Drink: 2017 – 2025. – James Pietersen (July 2017)

Crystallum, Clay Shales Chardonnay 2016 – R 400 
One of my favourite Chardonnays. The 2016 is typical and shows an array of stone fruit, layered with a savoury richness and finely integrated oak. The wine is deeply satisfying with loads of personality and a wonderful balance. Always offers lots of satisfying drinking but does gain from some maturation. Drink: 2017 – 2025. – James Pietersen (July 2017)

Crystallum, Peter Max Pinot Noir 2016 – R 235 
More elegant than past vintages, the 2016 offers effortless drinking, yet maintains a modicum of sophistication. Great value. Drink: 2017 – 2025. – James Pietersen (July 2017)

Crystallum, The Agnes Chardonnay 2016 – R 220 
Absolutely delicious! Balanced and a little tighter and crisper than previous vintages, the 2016 is more focused and fresh. The oaking is supportive and, while lighter, this is still a serious Chardonnay. Drink: 2017 – 2025. – James Pietersen (July 2017)


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