The Valley comprises of 3 contiguous appellations: Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge. Not only known for outstanding classically styled Pinot Noir, but for extraordinary, classically styled Chardonnay. This is fitting, given Chardonnay’s ancient genetic relationship with Pinot Noir and its natural optimal performance in the same/similar terroir. The ancient soils in the Hemel-en-Aarde And cool maritime growing conditions have proved to be ideal for both varieties.
What better way to celebrate Chardonnay with its green skin on Chardonnay Day than in the picturesque Hemel-en Aarde Valley at Spookfontein. While the weather was all dreary and grey, our glasses were filled with the finest Chardonnays from the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.
South Africa overall, produces great Chardonnay in a wide range of styles and is of great value when viewed in an international context. But probably nowhere in South Africa are a greater number of Chardonnays produced that have gained as much international recognition from the world’s sommeliers and fine wine lovers, then the Hemel-en-Aarde. While production is small, the international and local impact has been significant.
Creation terroir is eminently suited to the production of world-class Chardonnay. Each wine is the ultimate expression of its terroir and indeed an elegant and multifaceted artwork in its own right.
Creation Reserve Chardonnay: A single-vineyard wine. Vibrant grapefruit and fragrant apple with a hint of honey and a sprinkling of cinnamon.
Creation the Art of Chardonnay: Single-site specific and barrel selection – individually numbered bottles. Seams of quartz sparkle in this vineyard; a wine with steely tension, yet elegantly refined.
Creation Glenn’s Chardonnay: Glenn Martin is the fourth generation winemaker in the Martin and Finlayson families. This natural ferment wine was made from specially selected, clone 96 Chardonnay grapes.
Creation’s winning recipe is definitely their wonderful team where each and every person has sense of purpose. It’s wonderful to see how their passion shines through in the quality of the wines and the knowledge they share.
Domaine des Dieux
Also known as ‘Place of the Gods’ began as a dream. A boutique winery situated in the Hemel-en-Aarde ridge that produces small quantities of Cap Classique and a wonderful range of wines. A combination of good quality grapes, much patience and a love of champagne set the stage for Domaine des Dieux to officially become the first producer of Cap Classique in the Hemel-en-Aarde region.
Domaine des Dieux Chardonnay 2018 is a smooth and elegant wine with lovely citrus notes and beautifully integrated oak flavours.
Bosman Family Vineyards
The Bosman family have been in the vine growing and winemaking industry for 8 generations. Was wonderful to meet the bright and young winemaker, Natasha Williams of Bosman Family Vineyards. She also has her own brand, Lelie van Saron, which is named after the small, rural town Saron where she grew up. Lovely Chardonnay with vibrant citrus notes, balanced mineral structure and subtle hints of oak.
Bosman Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Chardonnay 2021 The lively combination of oak and bright fruit exhibits aromas of butterscotch, pear and brioche. Beautiful mouthfeel with a long, creamy finish.
Hasher Family Estate
A wonderful buzz in new ownership in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley as recently Sumaridge Estate was bought by Belgian couple Céline Haspeslagh and Frederik Herten, and they have renamed it to the Hasher Family Estate.
They have plans to uproot and replant, focussing on the production of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as the terroir in the Hemel & Aarde Valley is well suited for these varietals.
Marimist Chardonnay 2020. A wooded chardonnay named after the maritime mist that pours in from the cool Atlantic. This wine expresses the delicate fruit of the varietal by means of lime, citrus blossom, and peach.
Was wonderful to spending time with the team behind Hasher Family Estate drinking wonderful Chardonnays on Chardonnay Day. Welcome to the new kids on the block! Can’t wait to come and visit once the tasting room is ready for the public.
Restless River Wines
These wines are crafted by the Wessels family in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. The Ava Marie Chardonnay is named after their daughter.
The Chardonnay Ava Marie 2019 is bright with notes of citrus and limes. Refreshing acidity with lingering notes of almonds and lime.
Cap Maritime Wines brings Boekenhoutskloof to a different Level. The label on the bottle is quite unique, carefully etched and sand-blasted and sealed with wax for added elegance.
The Chardonnay 2019 shows a certain tightness and smooth, rich, creamy textures, along with a mineral core, and surrounded by stone fruit and a well-rounded mouthfeel.
Newton Johnson Vineyards
Newton Johnson Vineyards is owned and managed by the Newton Johnson family and is based in the upper Hemel en Aarde Valley.
Newton Johnson Family Vinyards Chardonnay 2020 with abundant layers of complex flavours of citrus and lime zest that follows through onto the palate with a lively, zesty finish. has bright citrus intensity and light creamy oak. Amazing Chardonnays!
Hemel-en-Aarde Chardonnay has vibrant acidity, bright minerality, tightness and classic styling. Its fruit profile tends more towards citrus fruit, apples and pears than anything tropical. Stellenbosch Chardonnay is generally fuller, richer, softer and rounder and tends to be more towards tropical. Elgin Chardonnay, while bright and vibrant, has a fruit profile tending a little more towards stone-fruit and is perhaps a touch less “old world” in its expression than the Hemel-en-Aarde.
Sweet memories celebrating Chardonnay Day with amazing food that was paired to enhance the diverse flavour components and also to highlight the style of the Chardonnay, with a beautiful setup in the Spookfontein restaurant area. The tables were beautifully set with elements one can find in a Chardonnay. A memorable event spending time in the company of amazing wine producers telling their story and sharing their passion and knowledge.
Soft pillows of Gnocchi served with Butternut, Goats Cream, Carrot Puree and Parmesan.
Storm Vrede 2017 Chardonnay
Ataraxia 2016 Chardonnay
Tesselaarsdal 2020 Chardonnay
Hasher Marimist 2020 Chardonnay
Delicious Salmon Gravlax served with Lemon Cream, and Citrus on a bed of Melon-Cucumber-Tomato Salsa.
Restless River Ava Marie 2017 Chardonnay
Lelie van Saron 2018 Chardonnay
Cap Maritime 2017 Chardonnay
Spookfontein 2018 Chardonnay
Juicy and tender Chicken Ballotine, served with Oyster Mushroom Velouté, Spinach Puree and crispy fondant Potato.
Hamilton Russell Vineyards 2018 Chardonnay
Bouchard Finlayson Missionvale 2019 Chardonnay
Creation 2020 Art of Chardonnay
Domaine des Dieux 2015 Chardonnay
Klein Rivier Colby, duck ham, Lavash and Preserved. Delicious Lemon Macaron with a gooey centre which was absolutely delightful!
Newton Johnson Family Vineyards 2013 Chardonnay
Bosman Upper Hemel-en-Aarde 2015 Chardonnay
La Vierge Apogee 2018 Chardonnay
Whalehaven Conservation Coast 2014 Chardonnay
“What is clear is that the wines from the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley can be more than a match for Burgundy, with a level of vivacity and profoundness that’s rarely seen” – Lay & Wheeler Fine Wine Merchants
Consumers can choose from a wide range of styles, Stellenbosch, Elgin, Robertson, Hemel-en-Aarde and more. No one style is necessarily better than the other. It is however the case that if vibrant, classically styled Chardonnay is what is most admired and enjoyed, there are very few places outside Burgundy that deliver it so beautifully and consistently as the Hemel-en-Aarde.
Categories: Chardonnay Day