‘The high quality of the best Cape Pinots is the single biggest achievement of the modern South African wine industry.’ – Tim Atkin MW.2017 is a watershed vintage for SA Pinot…

The high quality of the best Cape Pinots is the single biggest achievement of the modern South African wine industry.’ – Tim Atkin MW
2017 is a watershed vintage for SA Pinot Noir – the vineyards have matured, the winemakers are more experienced, and the competition is fiercer than ever. This all leads to ever-improving wines and makes 2017 the finest Hemel-en-Aarde Pinot Noir vintage to date.

Hannes Storm has spent nearly 2 decades in the pursuit of Pinot Noir perfection. No single SA winemaker is more dedicated or focused on growing and vinifying Pinot and it shows. At our recent tasting, it was evident that the Hemel-en-Aarde is home to SA’s best Pinots. At the very pinnacle is the remarkable Storm trio – the Ignis, Ridge and Vrede Pinot Noirs. These are super special in 2017. To our minds, and not comparing them directly to Burgundy, these must be viewed as our ‘Grand Cru’ Pinots.

2017 was an excellent vintage for us – perhaps a favourite – with poise and elegance and layered concentration showcasing its sense of place.’ – Hannes Storm

While there’s a lot of focus on Pinot, the 2018 Storm Vrede Chardonnay is not to be overlooked. The vines grow on the same low-vigour, stony and clay-rich Bokkeveld shale soils in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley as the Vrede Pinot Noir. The 2018 has a bit more concentration than previous vintages but it stays true to its style with a refined finish and super length. Take note, this wine is in shorter supply this year due to vintage challenges.

Both the Storm Ignis and Ridge 2017 Pinot Noirs impress with perfume, florals and fruit purity followed by detailed acidity over lithe, etched tannins. The Ignis is a touch prettier and lighter while the Ridge is a bit more structured. These are dead sexy wines. The 2017 Storm Vrede Pinot Noir is grown on richer clay soils, giving it a darker, more intense fruit profile with more grunt and depth on the palate.

Each of these is impressive in their own right, from silky tannins to power and structure, and light, pretty florals, perfume and spice to darker fruit, power and density. They’re absolute knockouts!

Tasting notes:

Storm Wines, Ignis Pinot Noir 2017
Ignis comes from a north-facing slope on decomposed granite soils and is the lightest and most delicate of Hannes Storm’s excellent trio of Pinot Noirs. Subtle, succulent and refined, it has beautiful poise, nuance and complexity. Drink: 2020-2026. – Tim Atkin MW, 96/100

Storm Wines, Vrede Pinot Noir 2017
Another stunning Pinot from Hannes Storm, who makes some of the best examples of the grape in the Cape. This is on shale-derived clay and has produced a wonderfully aromatic red in 2017: lifted, floral and serene with fine tannins, supple red berry fruit and some tannic support. Drink 2019-2025. – Tim Atkin MW, 95/100

Storm Wines, Ridge Pinot Noir 2017
Ridge comes, obviously enough, from the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge and is made with the youngest vines in the Storm portfolio. Grown at 330 metres of Bokkeveld shale, it’s spicy and refreshing, showing pomegranate and red berry fruit and some underlying grip. Drink: 2020-2025. – Tim Atkin MW, 94/100

Storm Wines, Vrede Chardonnay 2018
Notes on the 2017 vintage: Acid levels where high in 2017 – partly because of diurnal variation – so Hannes Storm put this through 80% malolactic. Naturally fermented, it’s a focused, subtle, toasty Chardonnay with good viscosity and noticeable freshness and zip. Drink: 2019-2023. – Tim Atkin MW, 96/100


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