Where Vrede is approximately 50% clay and 50% shale based, the Ignis site is planted on primarily decomposed granite with just 25% clay at 225m elevation in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Similarly north facing but a bit more exposed to the wind, Ignis sees less disease pressure in general compared to the other two sites and thus has been farmed organically since 2015. However, the size of the plot and prolonged dry conditions means that in 2018 a mere 3,600bts have been produced from a total of 1HA. While paler in colour, Ignis has tighter, crisper tannins compared to Vrede, with a higher toned wild strawberry and cherry stone personality. Juicier acidity and zippy fruit, according to Hannes it has a more immediate fragrant character that is appealing from the outset. Aged in 25% new French barrique for 11 months and released after 15 months in bottle.
Based in the cool Hemel-en-Aarde valley, Hannes Storm and his team craft finely tuned, site-specific wines from each of the sub-regions of the valley. Vrede is a stony, shale and clay based vineyard in the lower part of the valley, abutting the vineyards of Hamilton Russell, where Hannes was head winemaker for twelve years. Ignis is located in the upper valley and planted to decomposed granite, while Ridge is at the highest elevation, in the aptly named Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, where the soils are similar to Vrede in being low-vigour clay and shale.
A respected viticulturist, Hannes has planted and consulted on many of the top sites in the valley over the years and saw his breakaway as an opportunity to develop his own Burgundian-inspired wines in a more natural, hands-off way. As such, he is proud to work with only estate grown fruit, which he ferments naturally in small batches with no additions, before aging in top quality French barrique with a maximum of 25-30% new oak across the range.