David Finlayson Camino Africana Chardonnay 2020
92 points Tim Atkin – “using grapes from four different vineyards, this finely judged Chardonnay is supple and smooth, with good texture, some cream from partial malolactic, pear and nectarine fruit and nuanced 10% new wood. 2021 – 2024”
92 pts James Suckling – 3 Dec, 2021 – “Aromas of dried pineapple, spiced apple, burnt lemon, crushed stone, vanilla bean and praline. It’s full-bodied, yet elegant, with vibrant acidity. Lemony and flinty. Excellent length. Drink now or hold.”
Hand-picked into 30 lb boxes that were then loaded by hand into the press. Whole bunch pressing took place immediately, before settling overnight – after which the wine was fermented spontaneously in brand new French (Dargaud & Jaegle) 300 litre oak barrels, for 14 months. Partial malolactic fermentation was allowed to take place naturally, after which the wine rested and matured at 46 F for 14 months. It was then filtered and bottled in the hopes that people would cellar it for medium to long term, and serve it as a food wine. The idea behind this wine – and all the Camino Africana wines – is to let the vineyard speak, through the wine, void of winemaker manipulation.
This vineyard is 18 years old and was planted by David Finlayson on terraces he cut into the steepest hillside on his home (Edgebaston) property in Stellenbosch. The trellis system is low to the ground and uncommon in South Africa as it produces very low yields and small bunches. The vineyard is hand farmed and processed only with organic principles in mind. It has been a 15 year project that is now beginning to deliver the results. David – “This wine signifies something truly special to me as a winemaker and is part of my journey in life and wine in South Africa, hence the name, Camino Africana, (The African Way)”.