Springfield Estate Methode Ancienne Chardonnay 2005

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I rarely drink South African wine, partially based on availability and partially because while there are some very good wines out there, my preferences tend towards the old world. Springfield Estate, however, is one of the more interesting estates in South Africa.

Seriously Old School

Located in Robertson, SA, Springfield is a family winery owned by the Bruwers, descendants of French Huguenots immigrants to South Africa in the 17th century. Coming from a Loire-based wine making family, the tradition of the vine stems all the way back to that original immigration.

This spirit of adventure and do-what-it-takes is reflected in the Bruwer’s non-comformist approach to wine. A pioneer of using wild yeasts in South Africa, Springfield Estate uses very low intervention to ensure that these yeasts survive through the entire fermentation process. This includes night harvesting (the 15 degree nights are a far more ideal time to harvest than the 30 degree days as the grapes’ metabolisms shut down at night), and all the wines are unfined, unfiltered and unstabilized.

This ‘Method Ancienne’ Chardonnay is made in the Burgundy style and uses new and old Allier barrels along with 12 months on the lees to produce its luxurious texture.

These guys also make a fascinating sounding “Whole Berry” Cabernet Sauvignon that generally sits at about 13.5% abv and is made in an old school style, with whole berry maceration and gravity fed winemaking.

The Wine

The wine pours a very dark golden – so dark I thought there may be premox here, but there wasn’t. Aromas and flavours of butter, honey and lemon that are deep, rich and full-bodied but very balanced. There is a nice honeyed length with some orchard fruit and lemon squeezing out over the finish. The key to this wine’s success is the superb oak treatment – a feat that is not so easy to accomplish.

I wouldn’t call this “Burgundian”, but I would call it extremely well made Chardonnay that is also distinctive, interesting and delicious. For these reasons, it’s definitely worth a try.

Very Good+
$58 at Liberty Wine Merchants

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