2019 is the first vintage for the Ridge Chardonnay, which is planted on an eastern slope at 300m elevation in the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge. Leaner in style next to the Vrede, which is all about buoyant, complex fruit, Ridge by comparison speaks to restraint, length and minerality. Here, we have a wine of crisp citrussy acidity, supported by 30% new French oak. Notes of pink grapefruit and pink pepper emerge with air and accent what is a lovely salty, linear, and focused Chardonnay.
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.