Newton Johnson, Southend Chardonnay 2019
Cooler south-facing vines produce a wine with sparkling clarity, high-toned fruit flavours, compact structure and vibrant acidity.
Lightly wooded, this wine is fragrant and focussed with aromas of both citrus and stone fruits.
Another of Newton Johnson’s ‘entry level’ wines that is anything but entry level quality.
Southend’s vineyards lie in the shadow of the Babylonstoring Mountains in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and is owned and farmed by Newton Johnson neighbours, the Pringle family. It is a notably cooler slope, with less sun exposure and consequently slower ripening.
It produces wines with sparkling clarity, high-toned fruit flavours, compact structure, and vibrant acidity. These features are preserved by fermenting in larger format casks that often ferment slowly into the winter and finish in the spring. This parcel takes a steely and light-footed point of difference from the other Chardonnay vineyards of this appellation.
LOCATION & CLIMATE
These vineyards lie on the south-facing slope at altitudes of 300m down to 210m, in the porphyritic Granite soils of the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. This appellation ranges from 4 to 8 km in proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.
The climate is cool and temperate, where parallel mountain ranges channel the southerly oceangoing winds through the appellation during the summer. These southerly winds in turn create regular sea mists and overcast conditions, moderating the temperatures in the valley. The annual rainfall is 850mm, with 50% falling in the winter months (May – August).
The grapes are handpicked and packed into small, shallow crates to limit crushing of the bunches. The day’s harvest is cooled down overnight to 8ºC in the winery’s refrigerated cold room. The grape bunches are hand-sorted on a conveyor table and fall directly to the press for whole bunch pressing.
The best quality juice (approximately 40% of the press yield) is drained directly to barrel, with the balance settled by temperature only (no enzyme used) and racked the next day to barrel for spontaneous fermentation.
No sulphur is used in the winemaking, allowing diverse micro-organisms from the grape itself to flourish unrestrained in the fermentation.
MATURATION & BOTTLING
Matured for 11 months in mostly puncheon (500L) and some barrique (228L) barrels produced in Burgundy. Tighter grained oak is preferred for subtle flavour, with longer seasoning and slower, lower temperature toasting. New oak comprises 20% of the final blend.
The wine was blended and kept for further élevage of 5 months in stainless steel. No fining, coarse filtration and sulphur adjustment before bottling.
Rich seafood or creamy pasta dishes.