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2018 Pinot Noir and 2019 Chardonnay from Hannes Storm

October 2020 

With a number of our mainstay estates, we saw something that fascinated us at the outset, a trigger that inclined us to get involved. That trigger could have been the quality, the style, something unique or even an understanding on a winemaking level that convinced us that this particular estate was one to follow. While the wines were impressive at the outset, we anticipated finer results over time. That is exactly what has happened with the wines of Hannes Storm. These wines are now avidly followed by an increasing number of our clients so it is worth stressing here that if you are interested, don’t delay as production is small (notably so in the 2019 vintage) and demand is on the up. Late respondents are highly likely to be disappointed.

A South African wine blog website, Wine Cellar Plus, asked the following questions in a recent article:
Which producer focuses on Pinot Noir more than any other? Which producer works with the very best vineyards in SA’s greatest Pinot Noir region? Which producer focuses on fruit purity and acidity ahead of sweetness and oak? Which producer sells out faster than any other? We believe that Hannes Storm is the clear answer here and his new set of 2018 Pinots are completely thrilling.
 
That is a very succinct summary, but I agree entirely with the comments. We first offered the wines of Hannes Storm in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley over five years ago and I approach the samples of the new vintage releases with the same air of expectation and excitement each year. The 2018 Pinot Noir continue this estate’s run of form and show greater differentiation than before, each of the three vineyards with slightly different attributes. His Chardonnays, (yes, now there are two single vineyards) are comfortably his finest whites yet and show vastly different styles even in the bolder 2019 vintage. Simply put, if you are interested in high class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, and are not blinkered by Burgundy, I would suggest you find out what all the fuss is about for yourselves; these are beautiful wines, with remarkable purity and poise, coupled with a distinctive sense of place.
 
As background, the Hemel-en-Aarde valley lies on the coast, due south of Stellenbosch, and the valley stretches inland from Hermanus (famous for whale-watching). As a wine-growing region it is classed as part of Walker Bay, though the Hemel-en-Aarde has three ‘wards’ within it. This is a wonderfully picturesque part of the world, and it comes as no surprise that Hemel-en-Aarde translates as ‘heaven on earth’. This is a great location in which to cultivate fine Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as the area benefits from the cooling oceanic influence.
 
Hannes had worked in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley for some time before setting up his own estate – 14 vintages, to be precise. To found his estate, he acquired distinct, small parcels of vineyard that he felt offered exceptional terroir and resulted in wines of differing characters. The vineyards were planted in 2008 and were therefore already established. The first vintage releases of Storm were the 2012s, when Hannes ran it as a side-line venture. Today, given the success of his wines, he, and his wife Nathalia, devote all their time to Storm.


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Please see below for the complete range of Storm wines – the Pinot Noir from the 2018 vintage and the Chardonnay from the 2019.

2018 Pinot Noir, Vrede, Storm
£150 per 6 bottle case in bond

A production of just 650 cases of Pinot Noir (though Hannes’ largest holding) from low vigour, stony, clay-rich soils on a north-east facing slope in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
Bright, garnet in the glass, the aromas here capture juicy red berry with a slightly floral hint. There is a bright airy nature to the 2018 Vrede which exudes wonderfully ripe, yet fresh, almost sappy red cherry and raspberry notes. Always the more open of the Storm trio of pinot noir, this vintage shows a greater charm and juicy vibrancy. Subtle mineral nuances build on the finish, but the accent here is firmly on the fruit. Beautifully balanced with an incredibly more-ish summer berry character. Possibly the most impressive Vrede yet, given that heightened sense of elegance. (SL) 2020-2026

 
2018 Pinot Noir, Ignis, Storm
£150 per 6 bottle case in bond

Formerly known as Moya – a production of 275 cases of Pinot Noir from decomposed granitic soils on a northern slope in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Ignis is a nod to granite – igneous rock.
Darker in hue than the Vrede, the aromas evoke characters of dark cherry and wild hedgerow fruits. The palate captures a seamless quality, silky and refined on account of the impeccably ripe tannins. This captures characters of small dark fruits and loganberry, almost forresty characters, wonderfully ripe and expressive. It is hard not to be struck by the elegance and abundance of fruit. Despite its flowing style, there is no lack of substance here. A streamlined Pinot with terrific balance. (SL) 2020-2026

 
2018 Pinot Noir, Ridge, Storm
£150 per 6 bottle case in bond

A production of 250 cases of Pinot Noir from low-vigour, clay-rich, shale soils on a cool eastern slope in the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge area.
Similar in depth of colour to the Ignis, there is a more mineral nuance to the nose here, with dark cherry and brambly fruit notes. This is the most powerful of the trio with a denser fruit – it currently seems more compact and reserved, but there is a fine depth to dark, almost brooding, spicy fruit with herbal nuances. This will take a few years to hit its stride, but it should be well worth the wait. Subtle saline mineral qualities emerge on the finish. (SL) 2022-2028.

 
2019 Chardonnay, Vrede, Storm
£150 per 6 bottle case in bond

A quarter of the normal volume of Vrede Chardonnay was made in 2019 as this was a drought vintage.
The 2019 is open and accessible already, showing a honeyed touch to the juicy, tangy nectarine fruit on show. This has a smoky, oatmeal character from lees ageing, allied to tropical fruit nuances and grilled grapefruit. This is clearly from a warmer vintage with its more viscous touch, but it doesn’t lose its poise on account of the lively mineral vein that underscores it. It finishes positive and fresh with lingering stone fruit and exotic notes. (SL) 2020-2024.
 

2019 Chardonnay, Ridge, Storm
£150 per 6 bottle case in bond

A new addition to the Storm range from a densely planted vineyard on the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge.
An interesting contrast to the Vrede, the Ridge Chardonnay is a more compact, mouthwatering style. Tangy grapefruit nuances, with notes of lime – there is a citrus oil character here and a denser fruit. This wine opens out with some time in the glass, but retains a certain austerity. A firmer style of Chardonnay with a nervier stoney mineral accent to the fore. Zippy acidity carries it to a long focused finish. A strong showing, particularly for a first release. (SL) 2020-2026.

 
Please let us know of your interest at the earliest opportunity. I have said it before, but for me, in their category, these wines are virtually in a class of their own – not just for their quality, but their value too.
 
All the best,
 
Simon


To request a wine, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Atlas team. We can be reached on +44 (0) 20 3017 2299, info@atlasfinewines.com or by submitting the form below. Please note that stock may be limited and is always sold on a 'first come, first serve' basis. 

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Atlas Fine Wines Ltd. 

4-5 Castle Court  
London EC3V 9DL
T: +44 (0) 20 3017 2299
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