Many South African wine drinkers who enjoy their Syrahs serious, and their producers small (you know the types, who are titilated by a hand drawn ’22/1784′ on the bottle) will know of Carsten Migliarina. He only makes around 1200 cases of his own wines of which Platter tells me 65% are red and 35% white. All of which makes this Chardonnay perfect for hipsters who love quality, and like to drink things no one else has.
It’s a cracker. I know Angela Lloyd has been saying for awhile that Chardonnay is Elgin’s “ace card” Some other good ‘tells’ for the area have been Oak Valley and Paul Cluver. Although more press has possibly gone to Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, it’s hard to argue with Angela when you taste a wine like this one.
The oak on the nose is quite obvious, but so is the limey, citrus, orange peel nose; while still young and primary, the nose already hints at integration. I didn’t have to smell around a wall of toasty oak to get to the fruit, they presented themselves from the start as one. On the palate the lime raced through, along with spice, lemon and a little popcorn before my favourite part of the wine did its trick: the acidity.
Some wines – even when its all natural – have a slightly rasping acidity. It pulls and tweaks your cheeks like an old lady tugging on a little kid’s face “OOooooweeejeeweejeewoooo”; it’s an acidity that I don’t always mind as I am a bit of a masochist when it comes to acid. I like a little cheek thwacking. But enough of my left of centre wine fetishes. This acidity danced. It crept up, and then pounced, drawing out the flavours of citrus fruit, warm oak spice, and added a mineral dimension to it. It never rasped or clawed or tugged, it gently pulled. It also accentuated the intesity of flavour, making it seem like a dense ball in the middle of your mouth that slowly expanded outwards.
Perhaps. But I have become far more intrigued by the texture and structure of wines and the resulting finesse or awkwardness (or somewhere in between) that results, rather than simply flavour descriptors. This wine is not going to win anything for being complex at the moment, there is good enough fruit and oak flavours; the complexity will come with time. What we have now is a lovely intensity, a weighty almost waxy texture, and a drawn out singing freshness that brushes the wine the way a comb straightens tangled hair. It’s a lovely wine.
The grapes from a single Elgin vineyard were whole bunch pressed, and the juice cold settled and racked into a mix of first, second and third fill French and Hungarian oak barrels. 30% of fermentation was with natural yeasts and the other 70% cultured. The wine didn’t undergo malolactic fermentation, which has obviously helped with the wonderful freshness and vibrancy of the wine.
- Alcohol vol%: 13.7 %
- Residual sugar: 3.4g/l
- Total Acidity: 6.4 g/l
- PH: 3.23
- Price Around R100 a bottle (retail)
This wine was supplied for review.