Made in tiny quantities, Richard Kershaw MW’s wines are always in high demand. Born in Sheffield, Richard trained and worked as a chef before discovering wine. After extensive travelling he settled in South Africa in 1999, and by 2009 he was Group Winemaker at Mulderbosch and Kanu. He established Kershaw Wines in 2012, specialising in the cool-climate wines of Elgin. Being one of the few MW’s to make his own wine, he uses his vast knowledge to craft stunning wines that are easily a match for some of the world’s very best wines.
Below-average winter rainfall resulted in drier soils and as a result the crop sizes were smaller, as less ground water was available for the tap roots. Wet, cool and windy weather during flowering meant less fruit was pollinated. However, the smaller berries delivered high aromatic intensity and good colour for the reds. During the vegetative period the days were warm, but without damaging heatwaves and the growing season was cool, resulting in fruit with excellent balance.
The grapes come from 11 tiny vineyard parcels in several locations in the Elgin Valley. Elgin is the coolest wine region in South Africa and is situated on an inland, hexagonalshaped plateau, at an altitude of 300 metres. The region is surrounded by mountains and lies just over six miles from the Atlantic Ocean, which brings occasional sea-borne mists. February is the hottest month of the year, with daytime temperatures peaking at 23°C and night-time temperatures dipping to 14°C. The benefit of this cooler climate, is that the grape cluster stays connected to its roots for longer, so it develops complex characteristics and achieves physiological ripeness more gradually, resulting in lower sugar levels and consequently lower alcohol levels. The French vine clones PN777, PN667, PN115 and PN113 flourish in the Bokkeveld Shale and Cartref soils, which offer good drainage and produce elegant wines.
The grapes were hand-picked, manually sorted and destemmed before being transferred to small open-topped fermenters. A three-day maceration took place followed by spontaneous fermentation with wild yeast. Skin contact lasted for 10 to 12 days before being run off and the remaining marc was gently basket pressed. The wine was racked by gravity to barrel where malolactic conversion took place. Maturation in French oak lasted for 10 to 11 months. Each clone and soil type was micro vinified as a separate batch; the average comprised 39.4% in new oak; and 82.2% was aged in 228-litre barriques with 17.8% in 500-litre casks.
This Pinot Noir is characterised by its purity of fruit, focus and freshness. Fine powdery tannins frame notes of black cherry, pomegranate, rose petal and raspberry on the deliciously succulent palate.
Pinot Noir 100%.
• 92 Points, Tim Atkin MW, 2019