Mabalel is named after a poem by the legendary South African polymath Eugene Marais, which tells the story of a local chieftain’s daughter of the same name who was ambushed while fetching water from the Limpopo river by the crocodile, Lalele. The vineyard is planted on ‘Kaaimansgat’ farm – meaning Crocodile’s lair – and a river flows past the vineyard. The site is 700m high and surrounded by dramatic mountains, with peaks that are are often snow-capped in winter.
An intense and focused vintage showing off its dramatic terroir. Distinctive from the 2018 in its more savoury leanings. Sour cherry, plum, blackcurrant, tomato leaf and dark chocolate on the nose lead into a decadent palate with sweet spice, soy and liquorice. The trademark structure is there with ripe tannins and a bracing, fresh acidity promising ageing through 2030.
Fermented using only native yeasts and with a far lower portion of the fruit kept as whole clusters (10%) than the other Crystallum cuvées. The total time in tank was 29 days with a 14 day post-fermentation maceration. The wine was then transferred to barrel (20% new) where it remained for 11 months before bottling.
Total acidity 5.5 g/l
Total sulphites 63 mg/
Residual sugar 2.4 g/l
Crystallum is a family-run and privately-owned winery based in the Walker Bay region of South Africa.
We specialise in the Burgundian varieties, working with the ideal conditions in and around the Walker Bay region. Our winemaking approach favours low intervention, with only native yeasts used for fermentation. Our Pinot Noirs are fermented in small stainless steel tanks and aged in French oak for 11-16 months before bottling. The Chardonnay is whole-bunch pressed and fermented in barrel where the wine remains for 11 months before bottling. All fruit is hand picked in small crates.
Brothers Andrew and Peter-Allan are the third generation of Finlayson winemakers and sons of the man who pioneered Pinot Noir winemaking in the Hemel-en-Aarde region. Andrew is an architect by training and Peter-Allan a student of philosophy and economics, but it didn’t take long for the lure of wine to take effect, with Andrew drawn to the vineyards and Peter-Allan to the cellar.
The company was founded in 2007 when it produced just over four thousand bottles of Sauvignon Blanc. The following vintage saw the introduction of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and Crystallum now produces these Burgundian varieties exclusively, making up its collection with multi-vineyard blends and single-vineyard wines.
Peter Allan Finlayson