It has been a year of debuts in South Africa. First, the remarkable wines from Duncan Savage, and now this – Richard Kershaw MWs first solo venture, a Chardonnay from Elgin. It’s truly fabulous. Up there with South Africa’s best.
It mentions the geeky term ‘clone’ on the label: this is because Richard’s a firm believer in the importance of clones. This is how he describes the clonal effect in his Chardonnay:
CY 96 produces wines that are nervous, aromatic, elegant and sharp with slightly lower alcohol and finely balanced. In South Africa this creates more white peach and citrus/orange peel flavours along with nutty elements.
CY95 is known for its excellent quality creating wines that are aromatic, fuller bodied and rich yet tightly structured, well–balanced with length of flavour, managing to show restraint and mouth-watering passivity with a great line through the palate. I find that in South Africa the CY95 brings a yellow peach and tropical note.
CY76 tends to yield aromatic (lifted floral), fine wines that are minerally and tight, typically well-balanced and underpinned by a rich palate structure with great ageing potential. The fruit profile leans towards melons, figs, stone fruits, lemons, nuts, and cashews – for me white peach and lemon are particularly emphasised. CY76 and CY95 are particularly successful as a blend, with CY95 bringing structure to the wine whilst CY76 brings finesse.
Richard’s wines come into the UK via Naked Wines, and so you have to really join as an angel to buy the wine at the proper price (£21.99) – if you aren’t you pay an elevated price of £31.99. If Naked Wines carries on listing proper wines like these and Rod Easthope’s (which I’ll review tomorrow) it might be worth becoming an angel. I’ve criticized Naked Wines in the past for being more about marketing than wine quality, but here we have a real coup for them.
Kershaw Elgin Chardonnay Clonal Selection 2012 Elgin, South Africa
Such an impressive debut from Richard Kershaw. Complex flavours and aromas of nuts, minerals, toast, citrus and pear. Lively and intense with a lovely precise, taut mineral quality, and a hint of matchstick. Such a complex, fresh Chardonnay which will age beautifully, and finishes with lemons, toast and herbs. 94/100