The Agnes 2021 – Crystallum Wines.
A Reverent Ode to Legacy and Terroir: Unraveling the 2021 Agnes by Crystallum Wines.
Crystallum Wines, a luminary in the world of winemaking, emanates an aura of elegance and dedication. Firmly rooted in South Africa’s Western Cape, this boutique winery has become a custodian of tradition, enshrining its lineage in each bottle. With a meticulous blend of innovation and craftsmanship, Crystallum has carved a niche for itself, crafting wines that echo both the rich legacy of the land and the tireless commitment to excellence.
Crystallum Wines and the Finlayson Legacy
Crystallum Wines is not merely a winery; it’s a living testament to a family’s devotion to the art of winemaking. Situated in the heart of South Africa’s Western Cape, this boutique winery embodies a legacy that spans generations.
The Finlayson family’s commitment to crafting wines of distinction and finesse has solidified their place in the annals of viticulture. Andrew and Peter-Allan Finlayson, the visionary brothers at the helm, stand as torchbearers of their family’s heritage. They are the third generation of Finlayson winemakers, the successors of a legacy established by their father, the pioneer of Pinot Noir winemaking in the Hemel-en-Aarde region.
Harmony in the Land: The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
South Africa’s Hemel-en-Aarde Valley is where the Finlayson family’s journey began. This ethereal region, where heaven meets earth, sets the stage for the Finlayson brothers to weave their vinous tapestry. Sheltered by mountains and caressed by the ocean’s breath, the valley’s microclimate nurtures grapes that tell the story of the land. The Agnes Chardonnay captures the valley’s soul, encapsulating the harmony between the terroir and the Finlayson family’s legacy.
These days experts agree that Hemel-en-Aarde is one of the best, if not the best, wine regions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in South Africa. A few decades ago that was not so clear, and the Finlayson family has played a crucial role in establishing the success of this beautiful region.
Crafting the Agnes: A Symphony of Vinification
The Agnes Chardonnay stands as an embodiment of Great Grandmother Agnes Floyd’s fortitude and character. A patchwork of fruit from five distinct sites across the Western Cape, with an emphasis on the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge and Overberg regions, this wine is a testament to the harmony of diversity. The journey from vine to barrel encapsulates tradition, as whole grape clusters are delicately transferred from harvest to press. The juice finds its way into a settling tank, where the transformation begins.
Fermentation and aging unfold within 228 and 500-liter French oak barrels, with a delicate infusion of 10% new oak to enrich complexity. The wine’s authenticity shines through with a natural fermentation process, a testament to Crystallum’s unwavering commitment to purity. Over the course of nine months, the Agnes matures gracefully within the barrels, absorbing the essence of oak and time. The dedication to tradition is evident, as the wine matures in its natural state without the introduction of SO2 or enzymes prior to fermentation. With only 19,800 bottles crafted, each sip is a taste of exclusivity and artistry.
A Palate Journey: A Symphony in Every Sip
Agnes Floyd’s enduring spirit comes alive in every taste of the 2021 Agnes. The palate embarks on a sensorial voyage, as vibrant notes of lime leaf, green apple, and litchi intertwine harmoniously. As the wine breathes, fragrances of Frangipani flowers and oat cakes delicately ascend, accompanied by whispers of subtle lemon meringue and buttered toast. The dance between zippy acidity and a textured, pithy chalkiness mirrors the sophistication of Chablis wines. The finale is a lingering finish that holds the senses captive, a testament to the timeless echoes of Agnes Floyd’s resilience.
This Chardonnay is more than a libation; it’s a tangible connection to heritage and terroir. A symphony composed of tradition and resilience, it captures the essence of Crystallum Wines’ legacy, the allure of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, and the indomitable spirit of Agnes Floyd. Each sip is an invitation to savor a narrative woven with history, a testament to human artistry, and an homage to the profound union between soil and vine.
The 2021 Agnes Chardonnay will linger on palates and in memories, a reverberating echo of generations past and a testament to the timeless poetry of winemaking. We award this beautiful Chardonnay with a 93-point DWA score.
This review is written by Niels Aarts. If you are interested in more Crystallum wines we recommend our review of the 2019 Cuvée Cinéma Pinot Noir, which can be found here.
Taste date: March 2023
Score: 93/100 DWA Score
Website: Crystallum Wines