Tim James, Platter's
About this WINE
Richard Kershaw Wines
Born and raised in the UK, Richard Kershaw enjoyed a successful career as a chef before discovering wine. After travelling extensively, he arrived in South Africa in 1999 and, by 2009, was Group Winemaker of Mulderbosch and Kanu. Richard became a Master of Wine in 2011 and established Richard Kershaw Wines in January 2012.
He is now pursuing his dream of making his own wine in the cool climate of Elgin, in the Overberg wine region of the Western Cape. His intention is to create site-specific, cool-climate wines from high-quality French clones of the Chardonnay and Syrah grapes. His site, in one of South Africa’s coolest wine districts, Elgin, benefits from higher altitude, proximity to the ocean, specific cloud cover sequencing and large differences in day and night temperatures, all of which allow his Chardonnay and Syrah to show a true sense of place. The climate leans toward Southern Burgundy and the Northern Rhône, affording Richard’s wines a surprisingly Old World feel.
They are extremely impressive, a fact recognised by John Platter, who awarded the first vintage of his Chardonnay (2012) a straight 5/5 stars, a feat that was repeated with the ‘13 Chardonnay. This is a small operation, however, and volumes are limited.
This cool lush corner of the Western Cape is east of Stellenbosch. Historically Elgin has been better known for its apple orchards, but is fast proving its potential for wine, with elegant examples of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and even Syrah.
Circled by mountains, the cool-climate ward sits within the Overberg region. Aromatic grape varieties thrive in Elgin’s slow-ripening conditions, with Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir and even Syrah showing promise.
Recommended producers: Richard Kershaw MW
Chardonnay is the "Big Daddy" of white wine grapes and one of the most widely planted in the world. It is suited to a wide variety of soils, though it excels in soils with a high limestone content as found in Champagne, Chablis, and the Côte D`Or.
Burgundy is Chardonnay's spiritual home and the best White Burgundies are dry, rich, honeyed wines with marvellous poise, elegance and balance. They are unquestionably the finest dry white wines in the world. Chardonnay plays a crucial role in the Champagne blend, providing structure and finesse, and is the sole grape in Blanc de Blancs.
It is quantitatively important in California and Australia, is widely planted in Chile and South Africa, and is the second most widely planted grape in New Zealand. In warm climates Chardonnay has a tendency to develop very high sugar levels during the final stages of ripening and this can occur at the expense of acidity. Late picking is a common problem and can result in blowsy and flabby wines that lack structure and definition.
Recently in the New World, we have seen a move towards more elegant, better- balanced and less oak-driven Chardonnays, and this is to be welcomed.