They say that winemaking tends to run down the generations in a family, and this is no different from the Finlayson family. The thing that really sets them apart however, is that brothers, Peter-Allan and Andrew, did not simply fall into controlling the same farm as their father, Peter. They rather founded a new farm, named it Crystallum and began creating their own legacy. The first attempt at creating this legacy however did not go as planned and the first batch of Pinot Noir and Chardonny had to be discarded. This initial attempt was made at the farm, Creation and of the three cultivars first attempted, 4,000 bottles of Sauvignon Blanc could be sold.
2008 saw the next attempt receive much higher success and in the last few years, they have since set themselves apart from other winemakers in the region. Crystallum has currently established itself as one of the top cool climate producers in the country, and with its idyllic positioning in the Walker Bay region, the wineary has managed to flourish and draw a huge following.
Not owning vineyards themselves, the brothers source their fruit from nine different farms in the region, selecting the perfect combination to produce their outstanding wines. This has allowed them to essentially pioneer Pinot Noir in the Hemel-en Aarde Valley, an area known for its fertile, clay soils and steep slopes. The sea breeze feeding straight off the Atlantic provides the coolness that sets this Pinot Noir aside from the others and the perfect winegrowing conditions of the regions ensures it is a spectacular wine.
The gorgeous Pinot Noir itself is fermented in small stainless steel tanks, aged in French Oak and stored in a straw bale cellar for about a year before bottling. The Peter Max Pinot Noir is one of the most spoken about Pinot Noirs and is named after the two growers who supplied the fruit for the first vintage. This wine, is feminine, floral and echos of strawberries, blueberries and a wooded spice and smoky notes. The body is perfectly textured and allows for a flawless, vibrant finish
The Chardonnay is carefully hand-picked, whole bunch pressed and then fermented in a barrel where the wine remains for almost a year before it is bottled. The winery prides itself in as little intervention as possible. The Agnes Chardonnay, named after their grandmother is a multiple vineyard blend and speaks of the sturdy nature of their grandmother. Tastes of the cooler region come through in this Chardonnay and this crisp wine boasts a zesty nature, packed with honey tones, apple, pear and granadilla.
The Clay Shales Chardonnay can be described as pure satin on the tongue. It has tropical fruit, citrus and almond notes that play out on the nose and palate. This wine indicates a ten year aging potential and the winery boasts its capacity to rival a Grand Cru. Its origins are from a single South facing vineyard on the ridge of the Hemel en Aarde valley and the altitude, sea breeze and soil type speak through the wine.