Very pale in the glass, this wine is bright, light and fresh. With no exposure to oak the true characteristics of the Chardonnay grape have been retained. It is delicate and well balanced with citrus fruit and melon flavours. There are also hints of the natural South African flora, such as proteas and ericas, which grow on the mountain above the vineyard. Great to drink on its own or a great match with seafood, especially shellfish and chicken.
Decanter World Wine Awards: Bronze 2014
Residual Sugar: 1.9 g/l
Total Acidity: 6.0 g/l
Harvested by hand on 21st February 2012
Total production: 6,800 bottles (750ml)
Bottled: July 2012
Ageing potential: 4-6 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.
Harvesting at optimal ripeness for the Seven Springs Unoaked Chardonnay, meant picking the grapes at lower sugar levels than for the oaked Chardonnay. This way the fresh fruit aromas and fresh acidity on the palate was retained. Picked early in the morning, with first sorting taking place in the vineyard, the fruit was processed to a clear juice and then inoculated with commercial yeast for a clean ferment. The yeast was specifically chosen to enhance and express the natural characteristics of the Chardonnay fruit. After two weeks the alcoholic fermentation was complete and, like the Sauvignon Blanc, was left on the lees (dead yeast cells). The lees were stirred regularly to aid in the development of the mouth-feel of the wine.
This wine vied with others in the Seven Springs portfolio as my most enjoyable. Fermented and aged in stainless steel, it is its ripeness and lees contact that gives such a lovely aroma: crushed almond melds with lemon-meringue pie, all sorts of luscious hints, but with a core of steely precision. On the palate it is full-textured and weighty, with fat lemon and lime fruit and fruit-skin tang, lots of those waxy peel notes and lovely length and concentration. Hints of spices and honeyed sweetness play against savoury and decisive, dry acidity in the finish.