My advice to you; sometimes open a wine on a whim, for no reason in particular but because you are just drawn to it. Maybe the irrelevant fact of drinking a very special wine on a non ceremonial occasion makes you appreciate it all the more. A bit like when you feel under the weather and people tell you you look fabulous, purely because you spent hours priming yourself, and making yourself look better and therefore you actually feel better. You get where I’m coming from ladies? When you are sitting at home, under lock down perhaps, bored out of your mind and you pop a beauty like this; it will cheer you up, keep you company and demand your appreciation and attention all the more than if you were drinking it in fancy clothes and a posh location.
So back to the Wine in question; this glorious Pinot Noir, from Peter Allan Finlayson, (son of Peter Finlayson – Founder and Cellar Master at Bouchard Finlayson, and a pioneer of Pinot Noir). Peter and his brother Andrew started Crystallum in 2007. Peter Allan since became head winemaker at his father-in-laws wine farm; Gabriëlskloof in Bot River. Most of Crystallum wines are ventures from their home turf in the Hemel en Aarde. But the vineyard for their top end Pinot Noir is wine of origin Elandskloof which is predominantly better known for Chardonnay. But true aficionados will know where Chardonnay grows well a Pinot Noir will make the perfect companion. Other Pinotpaths have made epic wines from the same neck of the woods; J H Meyer, Thorne & Daughters & Jessica Saurwein; name dropping a few. The single vineyard for this sacred drop maybe relatively young, but for what it lacks in age it makes up for in altitude at 700m above sea level. The elevation of the crop adds a little ‘je ne said quoI’ in viticulture; golden hang time, concentration, focus, freshness…
The 2017 is the vintage which precedes the current release. It’s amazing what a year or so has done to the wine, the bursting fresh fruit has become a little more ethereal, the fine savoury elements have progressed and umami notes are more present. The wine is still focused and poised, but it’s gained a little more oomph without adding weight. Complex and delicate. Cherry tea, dried orange peel, leather, spice, black currant leaf, and a flinty minerality.
This was the first wine which I have ever opened; poured a glass, proceeded to fall into it, climbed out beaming and then closed it in an effort to extend my enjoyment and have the same gratification the following day.
This is a wine which can break you free from your traditions and doesn’t require magnification to be memorable.