Dilla: A surfer who is confidently secure in being different or unique.
“Surfer-Dudes” is a term often used when describing Peter-Allan Finlayson and his brother, Andrew. Wine Goggle writer Emile Joubert writes: “Trendy. Cool. Dishevelled in a cultivated manner.” Now we’ll have to take his word for it as we have not had the pleasure, though we’re well versed in the wines of their Crystallum brand. As the sons of Pinot Pioneer, Peter Finlayson (founder of Bouchard Finlayson and erstwhile contributor to our stories here), one would expect no less.
Theirs is a confident, relaxed style of winemaking. Simple, powerful in its simplicity, with a singular focus on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the two Burgundian varietals so well suited to the coastal region of Southern Africa. We would argue that their winemaking style takes its lead from their love of the sea (from what we’ve been able to ascertain from numerous interviews and their Instagram account @crystallumwines), though we might be the first to say so. We aim to be INSIGHTFUL, if nothing else. Haruki Murakami, author of ‘Kafka on the Shore’ draws an interesting parallel: “Surfing’s a more profound sport than it looks. When you surf, you learn not to fight the power of nature, even if it gets violent.” Their love of surfing then mimicking their ethos in the vineyard, a kind of implicit trust in the workings of nature, demonstrated by their cultivation of only two varietals, trusting them to find their truest expression in the hills and valleys of the Walker Bay area. Which they have done to much acclaim.
As ‘Kooks’ (wannabe surfers of limited skill) we understand enough to know a perfect wave when we see one. Crystallum wines being part of the new wave of South African winemakers who focus on limited interference, terroir-specific wines, made with an emphasis on the actual GROWING of the grapes, rather than just the MAKING of the wine (the grapes being of such quality that the MAKING becomes almost a natural process). As ever, on-trend as we are, we’ve been able to secure a selection of their very finest for you to acquaint yourself with what a Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay SHOULD taste like.