I referred to in a previous blog here about certain grapes loving Elgin and felt it only right to elaborate which grapes I have decided upon and why.
Why Chardonnay and Syrah?
Why did I decide to go with a Chardonnay and Syrah I hear you asking? I find Chardonnay and Syrah interesting because they are so well suited to the Elgin region, which is similar in climate to the Northern Rhone/Southern Burgundy area. Both grapes have distinct clonal differences and are keenly understood helping to define and understand terroir subtleties.
However, although I hold them close to my heart, I am not dogmatic as to repudiate other grapes be it Albarino or perhaps Pinot Noir and, if opportunities arose, would certainly evaluate them thoroughly. I wouldn’t rule out blending grapes either, but at this point Chardonnay and Syrah are challenging enough!
So, Chardonnay and Syrah are noble grapes for a number of reasons, notably because both:
- produce wines that age well,
- have great natural structural components,
- can be stand-alone varietals yet also be blended,
- have an affinity with oak
- can be both complex and beguiling.
In a phrase, these are grapes that can produce fine wine!
Romancing the clone
The grapes will be handpicked in the cool early morning, placed in 10kg white berry baskets. The Chardonnay will be tipped directly into a press for whole-bunch pressing and the juice sent directly to barrel. The Syrah will be double-sorted, meaning by bunch and then by individual berry, lightly crushed before being gravity-fed into 3 ton tanks.
Both juices will have no yeast, enzymes or acid additions. The Syrah will use punch-downs over pump overs before a 3-4 week maceration on skins and then racked, gravity fed to barrel. The remaining mash will be pressed in a 500kg basket press and tasted off to determine which quality will be added to the final blend.
More on maturation