This is the latest review of our wines from leading UK wine writer Tom Cannavan. Writing in his Wine Pages website, Tom tasted our wines in September. This is what he wrote.
International Wine & Spirits Challenge 2017 – BRONZE
As the vineyards show more maturity so does the wine. The 2014 has a soft and supple palate and is medium bodied, with light and pure fruit characters. Garnet in colour, the wine offers opulent aromas of strawberries and dark cherries and hints of forest floor. The oak, as always, is subtle and understated, supporting the fruit driven profile of this wine. To enjoy it fully we suggest you decant the wine at least an hour before drinking and serve at 16-18˚C or as a light red for summer you can serve it at 10-12°C. It can be enjoyed with a variety of foods; such as a mushroom risotto, duck and game dishes or simply on its own.
Alcohol: 13.11% Residual Sugar: 2.7 g/l Total Acidity: 5.5 g/l pH: 3.35 Ageing potential: 5-7 years Harvested: By hand 13th, 17th & 18th February 2014 Bottled: February 2015 Production: 24,000 bottles (750ml)
The 2012 harvest began on Valentine’s Day, with the Pinot Noir fruit being the first of the season to be picked. Starting soon after sunrise, the first sorting took place in the vineyard. At the winery the fruit was de-stemmed, crushed and pumped to stainless steel tanks, where it was left, for five days, to ‘cold soak’ at below 50˚F. The ‘cold-soaking’ process helped the extraction of primary fruit characters to enhance the fruit driven wine style. As the must warmed, the wild yeasts occurring naturally on the skins caused fermentation to begin. After two weeks the alcoholic fermentation was complete and the grapes were pressed. It was then moved to second and third fill, French oak barrels and left to mature for 10 months. The older barrels complemented the fruit expression of this style of Pinot Noir; a light bodied, fruit forward wine. Juice from the different clones were kept separate during the whole process and only blended a few months before bottling.
The worlds best Pinot Noir is reputed to result from the selection of clones; a common practice in Burgundy. Clones 777 and 828 are currently favoured in addition to the reliable 114, 115 and 667. These clones are known for their strong colour, elegant rich aroma with hints of small fruits. They give the wine structure and potential for ageing. Seven Springs selected four clones: 777, 667, 115 and 459, planted in 2008, on the warmer north facing slope at 240 meters elevation on Bokkeveld Shale with decomposed granite and deep, rich yellow and red clay subsoil.
The quality and the intelligent, classy and quite European-styled nature of this whole portfolio continues to impress.
Proud to let everyone know that our 2013 Chardonnay has been selected for this years Nederburg Auction on the 16th and 17th September. There will be 5 cases of this wine for sale at a reserve price of 900.00 South African Rand per case. This is one of the worlds 5 major wine auctions and this is the first time we have submitted a wine. Rigorous selection means that only the very best wines are chosen for the auction. Nederberg Auction Catalogue
A review from leading UK wine writer, Joanna Simon
“There are times when only Chardonnay will do as far as I’m concerned. Sauvignon Blanc is there when you need a brilliant espresso-like boost, but good Chardonnay is there for you all the time – when you’re tucking into lemon- and herb-roasted chicken, seared scallops or roasted veg, or when you’re just chilling out with a glass of wine. This one, from English-owned vineyards pretty well within spitting distance of the Atlantic Ocean in the Western Cape, is Chardonnay in its best modern guise: crisp and polished with zingy lemon fruit, a whisper of pineapple and honey and the delicate toast and cashew flavour of classy French-oak barrels.”
This delicate, barrel-fermented Chardonnay has a bright, golden colour in the glass. On the ‘nose’ your senses will be filled with subtle aromas of citrus, honeysuckle and jasmine combined with a pleasant nuttiness and buttered brioche. It is elegant and smooth on the palate showing great integration of the oak and fruit on the palate. Having spent 11 months in second and third fill oak barrels, the wine has a lovely honeyed character with a well-rounded, but textured finish. Pairs well with chicken, fish or pork dishes and drinks best at 14-15 ̊C.
Residual Sugar: 2.8 g/l
Total Acidity: 6.2 g/l
Harvested by hand on 24th February 2012
Total production: 4,962 bottles (750ml)
Bottled: January 2013
Ageing potential: 5-7 years
Platter Wine Award: 4 Star 2015
The 2012 harvest season was characterised by healthy, ideal growing conditions and a cool, though lengthened, harvesting period without rain or prolonged heat. As August was warmer than usual, bud burst was a week early in some blocks. Abnormally cold and rainy conditions during the second part of flowering resulted in uneven flowering and berry set, with high disease pressure, which Peter, our viticulturist, managed to control very well.
Weather conditions were back to normal in December, and less wind than usual resulted in little damage to vines than previously in previos years. January was exceptionally hot, but through scheduled irrigation the harsh effects were significantly reduced. The ripening period in February and March was further characterised by ideal weather conditions; cool and dry for slow ripening, resulting in good colour and flavour in all blocks. The dry weather also contributed to healthy grapes with minimal disease and rot. The crop quality and size was very good and for some producers one of the best years.
The Seven Springs Chardonnay 2012 was fermented and aged in second and third fill French oak and forth fill American oak, 300L barrels. Wild/natural fermentation started in stainless steel tank and two days later the fermenting juice was transferred to barrel to complete fermentation. There was no malolactic fermentation on this wine. The wine was left to mature on the lees for 11 months to aid in the development of the creamy palate.
Harvesting at a low sugar ripeness, gives rise to an elegant well balanced unoaked Chardonnay with fresh citrus fruit aromas, subtle notes of white blossom, melon and peaches, together with a fresh and vibrant palate. It has a beautiful lingering mouth feel, that makes it easy to drink on its own but one which is also an excellent accompaniment to a range of foods, from Sushi, to salads and even spicy soups.
Residual Sugar: 1.6 g/l
Total Acidity: 5.8 g/l
Harvested by hand on 20th February 2013
Total production: 6000 bottles (750ml)
Bottled: October 2013
Ageing potential: 3-5 years
The Chardonnay vines are planted on the cooler, south facing slope, in the lowest lying area on the farm at 200 meters elevation. It experiences a mush higher water table than other parts of the vineyard and as a result there is rarely need to irrigate during the season. Seven Springs Vineyard use clone 76 for their Unoaked Chardonnay. This clone’s typical organoleptic characteristics include peach and citrus. The yield is also higher than the clones used for the oaked Chardonnay.
Picking of the grapes is generally done early in the morning to preserve the delicate aromas of the fruit and to benefit from cooler temperatures which slows down any deterioration that could happen before it reaches the winery. At Seven Springs, we hand pick early with great care, to ensure only the very best fruit goes into the production of our wine as we believe only good wine can be made from good fruit.
We ferment the wine in stainless steel tanks, with specially selected yeasts to enhance and express the natural characteristics of the Chardonnay fruit . After about 2 weeks the alcoholic fermentation was completed and the wine was left on the lees (dead yeast cells) for approximately 5 months. During this time the lees was agitated regularly to add character, mouth feel and tertiary flavours to the wine. Chardonnay is typically aged in oak barrels, but with the Unoaked Chardonnay, the name says it all.
Unoaked Chardonnay 2013