Storm Wines Ridge Chardonnay 2019 Hemel-en-Aarde


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Storm Vineyards are a relatively recent addition to the South African fine wine scene, having released their first vintage in 2014. Formerly head winemaker at Hamilton Russell, Hannes Storm crafts beautiful Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in a more hands-off fashion and is the only producer to bottle Pinots from each of the three sub-regions of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley – namely the Valley, Upper Valley and Ridge. A quality viticulturist, he planted a number of the top vineyards in the region himself and is now proud to work exclusively with his own, estate-grown fruit. Inspired by Burgundy, the Pinots are fragrant and dashing, with a purity of fruit and restless energy we have not before encountered in South Africa. The Chardonnays are pure class, offering, in the case of the Vrede, sunny fruit and dancing complexity, while the Ridge is an altogether cooler, more mineral bottling of great precision. Hannes places an enormous amount of attention to picking times, and ferments in one ton blocks in stainless steel with no additions whatsoever, before aging in Burgundy barriques for a year, employing 25% new oak across the range. Believing that the wines need time to show at their best, they are released only after 15 months in bottle – another marker of quality. Limited production, attentive viticulture, minimal intervention in the cellar, and continued reverence to the terroir and vintage conditions means fabulous wines of distinct personality and character.

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Producer Information: Storm

After 12 vintages in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley working intimately with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Hannes Storm discovered two tiny parcels of land with particularly exceptional terroirs. The two vineyards, one in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and the other in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, were planted in 2008 to Pinot Noir. Storm’s maiden vintage saw the light in 2012 and, after spending 18 months in bottle, the wines were released in August 2014.

Storm handcrafts his Vrede Pinot Noir and Vrede Chardonnay from low-vigour, stony, clay-rich Bokkeveld (‘Buck Veld’) shale soil in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, his Ignis Pinot Noir from decomposed granite soil in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and his Ridge Pinot Noir, also from low-vigour, stony, clay-rich Bokkeveld shale soil in the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge. Storm Wines is the only producer with Pinot Noirs from each of the three appellations in the Hemel-en-Aarde.

Storm Wines strives to steer the purest characteristics of each vineyard site towards bottle and cork. Small production, careful viticulture, minimal intervention in the cellar and a constant nod to the Old World present the wines with distinctive personality and character.

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