Chardonnay is a grape Mick and Jeanine have always enjoyed drinking and it was only a matter of time before they decided to take the plunge and make a ‘Craven’ example. After looking around for a suitable vineyard, they decided to stay in the Polkadraai Hills for this. The small sub-region brings a real inherent saltiness and freshness to white wines. They reached out to local legend Danie Carinus about purchasing from fruit from his coveted Bluegum Grove Vineyard from fifth generation Stellenbosch vigneron Danie Carinus. 2021 saw slightly higher yields than previous years affected by the infamous drought, and regular cold fronts brought more precipitation than previous seasons. Ripening was consistently about 10-14 days later than the previous year, and the ripening period was moderate with only 8 hours above 35ºC compared to the previous year’s 41 hours above 35ºC. The result was a very well-balanced, expressive Chardonnay.
The grapes were immediately whole-bunch pressed to tank and left to let the really heavy stuff settle. The next day the juice was racked into neutral 500L barrels, still quite dirty to promote a healthy fermentation, and remained there to complete malolactic fermentation. Primary fermentation lasted about two months with ML finishing considerably ahead of the primary. The lees was stirred every so often to reduce reduction. After 8 months of élevage in the same barrels, the wine was racked and bottled without fining or filtration and only a dose of SO2 at bottling.