I want to try and answer a perfectly reasonable question someone looking at our range might ask - why on earth do you have 11 different Pinot Noirs from South Africa in your range?
The answer ultimately lies in our desire to find the very best wines for the very best value we can and Pinot Noir is SA delivers this in spades. So we have 11 different wines in the range because firstly and mainly it gives the opportunity to work with wines from four amazing producers, all of which have their individual character and charms. As with many of the ‘new world’, countries South Africa has a superb generation of younger winemakers who have spent time travelling the world and learning from the best before returning home to apply what they have learnt. As a result, we get to enjoy the fragrent elegance of Mick and Jeanine Craven’s Faure alongside the savoury freshness of Stompie Meyer’s Elands Rivier, the richness and structure of Peter-Allan Finlayson’s Cuvee Cinema and the pure, cool minerality of Hannes Strom’s Ignis; all of which are beautifully crafted, individual wines that would hold their own against wines from any other region.
What’s more, we love the value offered by the wines – here value is not a euphemism for cheap, it means bang for your buck. All of them are between $240-$380 per bottle. In Burgundy for that price you’re now looking at Bourgogne Rouge or maybe a village wine from a big Negociant. Furthermore, the bad news is Burgundy prices are only going to continue to go one way as demand intensifies worldwide. My view is that longer term to be the smart money we need to keep discovering some of the top-quality Pinot Noirs (and Chardonnays) that exist elsewhere.
Cradock Peak Pinot Noir
Only just over 700 bottles of this wine were produced and we have over 10% of that exclusively for Hong Kong. What justifies making a wine in such tiny quantities? Well here it’s access to a tiny, incredible vineyard hidden high in the Outeniqua Mountains which produces tiny yields of grapes. The resulting wine is both perfumed and powerful with incredible structure.
Elands Rivier Pinot Noir
It's a savoury, rich red wine that reflects the tough, cool mountainous conditions it was grown in. There’s lots of tension here with bright, crunchy red fruit, spices, pepper and firm tannins that will allow the Elands Rivier to age really well. Another great wine that showcases South Africa’s capacity to make great Pinot Noir.
Faure Pinot Noir
The Faure is everything reallly good Pinot should be - crunchy red fruit (raspberry & cranberry) with bright acidity and a silky elegant structure. Whilst Stellenbosch is better know for its Bordeaux style reds Mick brilliantly showcases how well Pinot can perform here.
Ignis Pinot Noir
This Pinot Noir is a winning combination of bright cherry fruit, spicy oak and supple elegant tannins – perfectly showcasing Hannes’ winemaking style. It will make a delicious partner to a wide range of dishes but would go superbly well with Yakitori.
Peter Max Pinot Noir
A spot on rendition of cool climate Pinot Noir the 2015 Peter Max is brimming with juicy red cherry fruit and sweet spice all swept along on by refreshing acidity and elegant refined tannins. Delicious already for those with space and patience this will reward 3-5 years of cellaring.
Ridge Pinot Noir
From a site high up on the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge this is a really spicy, juicy style of Pinot Noir that shows off just how fantastically perfumed this grape variety can be. Lots of red plum and cherry here on the nose with a touch of sweet pudding spice (cloves, cinnamon) that add complexity to the wine.
Vrede Pinot Noir
The Vrede is the richest and most opulent of the Storm Pinot Noirs with a core of concentrated black cherry and red plum fruit with hints of spice, coffee and smoke. After being poured it will open up beautifully in the glass to reveal incredible depth and subtly of flavour.