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3 of SA's Brilliant Pinot Noir Wines

At the recent Hemel-en-Aarde Pinot Noir Celebration, the standard of wine produced in the region proved to be world class.

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Pinot Noir | House and Leisure

Perhaps it's the name, the lovely colour, or the cooler weather that prompts us to sip Pinot Noir while cosying up on the couch. Whatever the reason, there is no denying that it is one of the most romantic wines in the world. When you think of world-class Pinot Noirs, you tend to think of the historical wine region of Burgundy in France. According to Roland Peens, the director at Wine Cellar Fine Wine Merchants, the wines of Burgundy are the most popular in the world right now, a demand that is largely due to the fact that the area only produces small volumes of its top-quality Pinot Noirs. And it is these wines that are setting the standard for all other wineries worldwide.

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Pinot Noir from Hemel-en-Aarde Valley 

Pinot Noir | House and Leisure

Here in South Africa, the Hemel-en-Aarde valley is hitting that benchmark. At the recent Hemel-en-Aarde Pinot Noir Celebration, Peens and his colleagues discussed the valley’s status when compared to the world of Pinot Noir. 'There are pockets around the globe that are able to produce special Pinot Noir and compete with Burgundy,' he says. 'In comparing quality, Hemel-en-Aarde scores very well in the most respected world wine publication, The Wine Advocate. Burgundy wines averaged 93 points for the 2016 vintage and Hemel-en-Aarde came in just under 91 points, behind Central Otago in New Zealand and Ahr in Germany. It seems that our little valley outside Hermanus can produce world-class Pinot Noir.' 

So which Pinot Noirs are the cream of the crop? Peens breaks down the three wards of the valley and the top wines they have produced. 

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1. Storm Vrede Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir | House and Leisure

'After tasting the Pinot Noirs from the beautiful 2017 vintage, we can start seeing homogeneity in the three areas,' says Peens. 'The clay-rich "valley" ward, closer to Hermanus, offers broader shoulders and spicy dark fruit. Storm Vrede Pinot Noir 2017 reaches for the stars.'

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2. Bosman Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir | House and Leisure

 'Moving to the "upper" ward, the granite soils offer a finer acidity and intense perfume,' says Peens. 'Storm and Newton Johnson lead the way, but Bosman vineyards is a relative newcomer, and winemaker Corlea Fourie is making great Pinot Noirs. In fact, Bosman Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Pinot Noir 2017 is simply the best value at R160 and shows the true quality of the region.'

3. Creation The Art of Pinot Noir 2017

 Pinot Noir | House and Leisure

'The "Ridge" at the end of the appellation is higher in altitude and offers a blue-fruited note to the wines,' says Peens. 'The newest of the wards shows lots of promise, but Creation The Art of Pinot Noir 2017 is, however, dazzling! It offers huge depth, power and age-ability with luxurious tannins and floral notes. And it’s worth the R1 000 price tag.' 

If you would like to sample these and other fine South African Pinot Noirs, Wine Cellar is hosting a tasting of the fine 2017 Pinot Noir vintage in Johannesburg and Cape Town througout April. Book your tickets here