Saturday, January 30, 2010

2004 Springfield Estate Méthode Ancienne Chardonnay 79 Points

2004 Springfield Estate Méthode Ancienne Chardonnay 79 Points

Pale gold, good fruit definition, touch overripe, medium complexity with sun ripened citrus fruit notes, fine but lacking acidity for better precision and focus, could have attained higher rating if Residual Sugar (RS) was not so perceptible as well as less oak influence which tends to overshadow fruit. Now until 2010.

The era of highly wooded overaoked chardonnay is over, why does some regions, districts and wards of South Africa still persists in doing it? Australia have learn it 12 years ago!

Especially when their climate is from warm to hot, again I say it with confidence South Africa is not a cool climate viticulture, at best it will be moderate such as some areas of the West Coast, like Bamboes bay, Groenekloof, some pocket of Darling Cederberg, Ceres, Durbanville, Cape Point, Constantia, Hout Bay, Helderberg and Bottelary in Stellenbosch, Elgin, the whole Overberg, Walker Bay, Hemel en Aarde, Klein River, Cape Agulhas, Elim, Outeniqua and Upper Langkloof, Nottingham Road in Kwazulu Natal, these are prime moderate areas of South Africa with an average of 18 - 19.5 degrees Celsius.

The remaining vineyards and further inland will be warm, hot to very hot, no names mention here, have a Cape Winelands map and you will find out……..

The world want delicate fruit, freshness, elegance and finesse, not sweet and syrupy, oaky, deep gold stuff that flabby, smell of cornflakes and caramel, which is a disaster with food pairings………………

I am still convince there are 2 ways to handle Chardonnay grapes in the Robertson valley, pick it under ripe, in the first 3 weeks of January (equivalent of picking grapes in Champagne in the first 3 weeks of July!) and make a bottle fermented sparkling wine ( Méthode Cap Classique) Robertson is know for it with some fine stuff as the Cuvee Clive of Graham Beck or some Weltevrede classic or pick it 2 weeks after an make a delicate unwooded version ( think of Limestone Hill of Danie de Wet or Unoaked Chardonnay from Rietvallei Estate, these gusy respect the Chardonnay fruit!) with at least 7 month lees contact and you got it, stay away from lengthy barrel fermented and new oak when dealing with ripe to overripe grapes, the region of Robertson can be classified by all means and world standards as a hot climate growing regions irrespective of all marketing non sense of having some of the coolest vineyard block in South Africa at night! Does that compensate when your day time temperature is over 40 degrees Celsius, and the soil is baking! common ladies and gentleman the world is awash with accurate information and wine drinkers seeking the truth do not want to hear BS like this.