The 2021 Ava Marie is whole bunch pressed and matured partially in amphorae for 12 months. It takes a little while to open, revealing candle wax, pressed white flowers and orange pith notes with aeration. The palate is slightly granular on the entry, just a faint underlying oatmeal note, with fine tension and a little chalkiness towards the finish. Lots going on here. An absorbing Chardonnay.
"I fell in love with Chardonnay through Chablis," says Craig Wessels and you can see that influence here. Reflecting the coolness of the 2021 vintage, this is taut, focused, stony and engagingly mouth-watering, with effortless concentration, notes of brine, lanolin and lemon juice and extra layers of complexity from old barrels and amphoras. Drink 2024-31
Glinting green in the glass, with dusty florals, rock melon. The palate is piercing bright - tighly wound to start but softens with a rush of cocnentration led by lime, green figs, physalis and a steeliness too. Very long, with tingling acids and a sweet sour finish.
An industry benchmark. Matured for 12 months, 90% in 500-litre barrels of which 10% were new, and 10% in amphorae. A later vintage and the nose is a little more exotic than usual with notes of lemon and orange to go with blossom plus hints of oatmeal and flinty reduction. The palate is not without depth although alcohol is just 12.7% – pure fruit and zesty acidity, the finish possessing a subtle pithy quality. Great definition and poise.