Wild Yeast Chardonnay 2019

Producer: Springfield Estate
Region: Breede River Valley
Appellation: Robertson Valley
Country: South Africa
Wine Type: White
Variety: Chardonnay
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Alcohol: 13.5%
Residual Sugar: 1.6 g/L
Soil: Rocky and Calcareous
Farming Practices: Sustainable
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Cellar Profile

Established in 1898, Springfield winery is one of the pioneers of the Robertson Valley. This family-run farm is owned by seventh-generation farmers and ninth-generation settlers to the region. The vineyards sit on some of the most inhospitable areas for growing, many with as much as 70% quartz content in the soil. There are also vineyards with high levels of limestone, as well as those closer to the Breede River that are sandy loam. Over the years, they have adjusted plantings and cultivars to best utilize these soils and have realigned the vineyards, planting the rows east-west so the canopy protects the berries from the scorching daytime sun. In the cellar, a gravity flow system is used to avoid over-handling the fruit, which is whole-cluster pressed. Most of their wines are fermented using natural wild yeasts found on the grape skins and are bottled unfined and unfiltered, with the belief that filtering strips key elements from the finished product. Springfield wines are known for their balance, elegance and, particularly, minerality. Current 4th generation winemaker and viticulturist, Abrie Bruwer says: “I only want to sell wines I am proud of”. At Buyers + Cellars, we agree wholeheartedly!


The Robertson Valley wine region is locally known as the Valley of Wine and Roses. Famous for both red and white wines, the valley benefits from the cooling effects of the Beede River running through it. The large diurnal shift, which allows the grapes to cool at night, results in wines with crisp acidity and bold flavours.


The Estate vineyards are planted in stony and rough terrain, in an east-west orientation to best mitigate the scorching heat of the midday sun. 6060 vine/ha rows are angled into the sunset on very gentle, southerly slopes. Special care is taken in the vineyard to ensure optimal phenolic ripeness, while still allowing enough midday shade to keep the acidity in the grapes for balancing freshness.


The Chardonnay grape has been popular in South African vineyards since the 1980s. Chardonnay is known for its ability to grow well in a wide variety of soils. It enjoys the dry climate of South Africa and the cool evenings of the Robertson Valley wine region. While many Chardonnays have high aromatic complexity, this is usually due to winemaking techniques (particularly the use of oak) rather than the variety’s intrinsic qualities. Malolactic fermentation gives distinctive buttery aromas. Fermentation and/or maturation in oak barrels contributes notes of vanilla, smoke and hints of sweet spices such as clove and cinnamon. Extended lees contact while in barrel imparts biscuity, doughy flavours.


True to its moniker, the Wild Yeast Chardonnay is fermented in underground concrete tanks using only native, wild yeasts that occur naturally on the skins of the grapes. An extended time on lees provides additional complexity and texture. This slow, volatile process, which can take anywhere from six to nine months, is risky but results in incredibly expressive wine with a wisdom that is unattainable in wines made using commercial yeasts.

Tasting Notes 

Full-bodied, deliciously complex, terroir-driven and fruit-focused. Tropical aromas are followed by notes of ripe pineapple and pear on the palate. The rich fruit is framed by soft acids and steely minerality.