At Richard Kershaw Wines (RKW), we have selected particular clones of Chardonnay and Syrah grapes that are most suitable for the cool climatic conditions that Elgin offers.
These labels emphasise this important and often disregarded aspect of varietal choice – that of clone. The Kershaw Chardonnay uses clonal varieties of Chardonnay developed at the University of Burgundy in Dijon, France, known as the "Dijon clones", namely clone 95, 76 and 96 while the Kershaw Syrah makes use of the local South African clones 9c and 22.
Listed below are their flavour profiles:
CY 96 produces wines that are nervous, aromatic, elegant and sharp with slightly lower alcohol and finely balanced. In South Africa this creates more white peach and citrus/orange peel flavours along with nutty elements.
CY95 is known for its excellent quality creating wines that are aromatic, fuller bodied and rich yet tightly structured, well–balanced with length of flavour, managing to show restraint and mouth-watering passivity with a great line through the palate. I find that in South Africa the CY95 brings a yellow peach and tropical note.
CY76 tends to yield aromatic (lifted floral), fine wines that are minerally and tight, typically well-balanced and underpinned by a rich palate structure with great ageing potential. The fruit profile leans towards melons, figs, stone fruits, lemons, nuts, and cashews – for me white peach and lemon are particularly emphasised. CY76 and CY95 are particularly successful as a blend, with CY95 bringing structure to the wine whilst CY76 brings finesse.
SH 9c produces wines in cooler areas that are well scented, delicately balanced and savoury. They are medium in weight resonating elegance, finesse of tannin, and purity of fruit, the flavours revealing more white pepper, violet/lavender, Victoria plum and iodine. They tend to exude freshness and energy with lively acidity giving precision to the wine.
SH 22 produces fuller, well coloured yet finely structured wines. They tend to be more concentrated as yields are low with more black fruit, black pepper and meaty notes working well as a minor blending partner for SH 9c.
Vineyard owners and winemakers love clones the world over as they can select the best clonal varieties for their terroir and the characteristics of the wine they want to produce, rather like a chef selects the best local and seasonal produce to create his menu.