In a nutshell: An inviting and elegant South African small production Pinot Noir from the Walker Bay area.
The lowdown: Crystallum's Mabalel Pinot Noir is produced from a unique high altitude vineyard which give it a more perfumed character. The ripe, young red cherry and plum aromas are supplemented by a heady florality and this leads onto a medium weight palate with intense and precise fruit flavours and touches of spice with finely balanced, edgy acidity and soft tannins.
When to drink: It's a wine with old world purity and tension with a dash of polished New World fruit. Roast chicken or guineafowl, rack of lamb or even a rare fillet steak work really well here.
This small winery was established in the Walker Bay region south east of Capetown in 2007 by brothers Peter-Allan and Andrew Finlayson. Their father, Peter, was a pioneer in the production of cool climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir at Bouchard Finlayson, so after university it seemed the natural thing for the boys to return home and source some fruit from the Hemel-en-Aarde valley to start their own label.
Crystallum is now one of the most highly regarded wineries in South Africa. Yet the Finlaysons are determined to make even better wines. Peter-Allan has sourced fruit from some new vineyards, while the winemaking has evolved as well. All the wines are now wild fermented, and new oak has been reduced to help the bright fruit shine through.