2017 Storm, Ridge, Pinot Noir, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa
About this WINE
Winemaker Hannes Storm worked 12 vintages in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley before he discovered two parcels of land with exceptional terroir and embarked on his eponymous project, Storm Wines. His aspiration is clear: to create wines with a sense of place. His natural approach and careful viticulture produce classically proportioned wines with distinctive personality and an innate purity.
Storm focuses on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Located in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, their three vineyard sites – Ignis, Vrede and Ridge – each possess an individual character. Storm Wines is now the only producer with Pinot Noirs from each of the three appellations in the Hemel-en-Aarde.
The Ignis vineyard is located on a northern slope in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. The vineyard is cluttered with round pebbles on the soil surface with underlying decomposed granite. The Ridge and Vrede sites both rest on a cool, eastern slope in the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, with low-vigour, stony, clay-rich Bokkeveld shale soils and a cool Atlantic Ocean influence, producing wines with high natural acidity and cool minerality.
Pinot Noir is probably the most frustrating, and at times infuriating, wine grape in the world. However when it is successful, it can produce some of the most sublime wines known to man. This thin-skinned grape which grows in small, tight bunches performs well on well-drained, deepish limestone based subsoils as are found on Burgundy's Côte d'Or.
Pinot Noir is more susceptible than other varieties to over cropping - concentration and varietal character disappear rapidly if yields are excessive and yields as little as 25hl/ha are the norm for some climats of the Côte d`Or.
Because of the thinness of the skins, Pinot Noir wines are lighter in colour, body and tannins. However the best wines have grip, complexity and an intensity of fruit seldom found in wine from other grapes. Young Pinot Noir can smell almost sweet, redolent with freshly crushed raspberries, cherries and redcurrants. When mature, the best wines develop a sensuous, silky mouth feel with the fruit flavours deepening and gamey "sous-bois" nuances emerging.
The best examples are still found in Burgundy, although Pinot Noir`s key role in Champagne should not be forgotten. It is grown throughout the world with notable success in the Carneros and Russian River Valley districts of California, and the Martinborough and Central Otago regions of New Zealand.
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