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NEW RELEASES : 2019 Pinot Noir and 2020 Chardonnay from Hannes Storm

October 2021

NEW RELEASES: 2019 Pinot Noir and
2020 Chardonnay from Hannes Storm

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The only disappointment with the 2019 releases from Hannes Storm is the quantity.  
 
The 2019 vintage represented the third dry vintage in a row for South Africa’s Hemel-en-Aarde valley and, as Hannes Storm comments, ‘stressed vines to the limit with three years of drought and they focused all their energy into very few grapes’ with the only counterbalance that ‘low yields are awesome for wine intensity’. He goes on to add that ‘if we do our job right, that intensity goes into the fermenter, barrel and, eventually, the bottle.’
 
Well, having tasted the impressive 2019s, we don’t think Hannes has put a foot wrong. They show fine intensity, perhaps not as open for early drinking as some vintages, but undoubtedly have the quality to reward mid-term cellarage. In time, they may prove to be one of the longest-lived vintages that Hannes has produced. What we know right now is they rank with the very best.
 
By way of 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 had been 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.
 
These wines are avidly followed by Atlas clients – and this offer regularly proves to be one of our fastest selling offers of the year. The quality, individuality and value for money of this range are all exceptionally high and we look forward to tasting the new releases as a team, however this year only two of us had the chance to taste at a central tasting hosted by the UK agents. I have included my notes below, along with Tim Atkin’s recent reviews and scores for the Pinot Noir. He hasn’t yet reviewed the 2020 Chardonnays.

Sadly production is down 30% in 2019, meaning our volumes are tight and we will be obliged to limit clients to a maximum of one case of each wine from this offer.
 
The wines:
 
2020 Chardonnay, Vrede, Storm
£150 per 6 bottle case in bond


Northeast-facing slope, stony, clay-rich shale soils. 250 cases produced.
On the nose, aromas of ripe peach, melon and pear jump out of the glass. The palate reveals subtle vanilla and sweet spice notes, with a certain richness and creaminess to the texture, all underpinned by a vein of minerality and a mouth-watering saline finish. Drink 2021-2026 (LH).
 
2020 Chardonnay, Ridge, Storm
£150 per 6 bottle case in bond


Cool, east-facing slope, stony, clay-rich shale soils. 170 cases produced.
More restrained on the nose than the Vrede, the palate here offers zestier notes of lime skin, grapefruit and dried orange peel. Taut and precise, with understated background notes of vanilla and ginger, leading to a long, persistent finish. Drink 2021-2028 (LH).
 
2019 Pinot Noir, Vrede, Storm
£150 per 6 bottle case in bond


Steep, northeast-facing slope, stony, clay-rich shale soils. 275 cases produced.
Bursting with sweetly-scented red fruit on the nose – cranberry, sour cherry, raspberry. On the palate, the purity of the fruit comes through, with some herbal complexity and gentle smoky, toasty notes. With smooth, fine tannins, this is a fresh, supple and approachable Vrede. Drink 2022-2028 (LH).
96 points, Tim Atkin MW
Yields were down by 50% in this small, dry vintage, not helped by the fact that Vrede is an unirrigated vineyard, but the quality of this stunning Pinot Noir was as high as ever. Planted in 2008 with clones 113 and 115, it’s one of the best sites in the Cape. Pale, floral and sweet, with rose petal and wild strawberry fruit, fine tannins, subtle 10% whole bunch spice and wonderful palate length. Drink 2021-2027.
 
2019 Pinot Noir, Ignis, Storm
£150 per 6 bottle case in bond


North-facing slope, granite soils with pebble top soils. 275 cases produced.
More aromatic and scented on the nose, and with a darker fruit profile – black cherry, blackberry and violet. Lifted and scented, there is a juiciness to the core of sweet red fruit on the palate, but what is most striking is the elegance and finesse here. Poised and mineral with a long saline finish. Drink 2022-2031 (LH).
95 points, Tim Atkin MW
The pinots treated identically in cellar (but for slight variances in 25% new oak & 20% wholebunch portions) to express terroir. Here light-structured decomposed granite of Upper Hemel-en-Aarde. 2019’s raspberry & cranberry generosity wraps athletic frame, thrilling acid tension & oystershell persistence promising minimum decade improvement.

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


East-facing slope, low-vigour stony, clay-rich shale soils. 340 cases produced.
As always, denser, darker and broodier – notes of dark plum, damson and black cherry dominate on the nose. There is great depth on the palate, still showing that vein of minerality, with notes of wood smoke, spice and graphite, and savoury complexity. Drink 2024-2035 (LH).
94 points, Tim Atkin MW
Ridge comes from the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge and is the youngest of the Storm Pinot Noir vineyards, located on the same shale soils but at a considerably higher altitude. Darker in colour than Hannes Storm’s other wines, it’s dense, fresh and a little tighter with dark cherry and graphite notes and a savoury, spicy finish. Drink 2022-2027.
 
Please let us know of your interest as soon as you can; as mentioned, we have significantly less volume available than in previous years.
 
Best wishes, 
 
Laura


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. 

Atlas House, 1 King Street
London, EC2V 8AU
T: +44 (0) 20 3017 2299
F: +44 (0) 20 3017 2290
W: atlasfinewines.com 
E: info@atlasfinewines.com