Hannes Storm was the winemaker at Hamilton Russell for 13 years (with 12 vintages under his belt), so he got to know the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Hamilton Russell has proven to be quite the university for winegrowers in the valley, and as with Peter Finlayson and Kevin Grant, a lengthy spell there was the prelude to starting his own project.
With his wife Nathalia, Hannes has planted three vineyards, beginning in 2008 and resulting in a debut release of the 2012 vintage in 2014. Initially there were two vineyards, in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde, and the focus was Pinot Noir. Now they have vineyards in each of the three subregions of this rather beautiful cool-climate wine region, and make both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
- Vrede Pinot Noir and Vrede Chardonnay come from low-vigour, stony, clay-rich Bokkeveld shale soil in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.
- Ignis Pinot Noir comes from from decomposed granite soil in the Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.
- Ridge Pinot Noir and Ridge Chardonnay come from lowvigour, stony, clay-rich Bokkeveld shale soils in the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge.
Hannes planted the three vineyards on a long-term contract, and has full say on management of them. These wines were all tasted recently, including the older vintages which were part of a vertical tasting put on by Hannes’ agents Justerinis in London.
Storm Ridge Chardonnay 2021 Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge
Bokkeveld shale-derived clay soils, same soils as Vrede but 200 m higher with SE-facing slopes. Winemaking is wild ferment, 50% malolactic, 25% new French oak. Lively and intense with lovely spicy framing to the powerful citrus fruit with some pineapple and pear richness. Such lovely acidity here with a crystalline quality and subtle meal and toast. Tightwound and potentially long-lived, with length and viscosity. 95/100
Storm Vrede Chardonnay 2020 Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
Lovely mineral edge to the rich pear and white peach fruit with a spicy, mealy, fine palate showing nice precision. Lovely weight here: very fine. 94/100
Storm Vrede Pinot Noir 2021 Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
Planted in 2008, maiden vintage 2012. 125 m above sea level and 1.6 km from the Atlantic. Heavy clay soils give floral perfume and good structure. ‘15% whole bunch. If we go higher than this we start masking the terroir,’ says Hannes Storm. Light coloured. Elegant, floral and bright with a touch of negroni, as well as spice and iodine. Herby hints complement the sweet raspberry fruit. Juicy, fine and elegant. 95/100
Storm Vrede Pinot Noir 2020 Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
Vibrant aromatics with raspberry and redcurrant as well as a bit of iron. The palate is vivid and intense with concentrated, juicy red fruits and some nice crunch. Has vivid acidity and some really nice structure. This is such a lovely, taut Pinot with real personality. 95/100
Storm Vrede Pinot Noir 2018 Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
Mineral and smooth with spice on the nose and elegant raspberry, cherry and strawberry fruit, showing nice focus. So finely spiced, detailed and mineral. 96/100
Storm Vrede Pinot Noir 2016 Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
Juicy and mineral with raspberry and spice, as well as notes of dried herbs and iodine. Lovely red berry and cherry fruit here, as well as good structure. Nice depth, with a bit of firmness. 95/100
Storm Vrede Pinot Noir 2015 Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
Fine, elegant and structured. Notes of cherry and raspberry with good tannins, some dried herbs and a bit of spiciness. Elegant and also structured, this is quite lovely. 95/100
Storm Vrede Pinot Noir 2014 Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
Pale colour. Has notes of malt and spice, as well as lovely cherry and berry fruit on the nose. In the mouth this has lovely strawberry and bright raspberry fruit with some notes of tar and herbs. 93/100
Storm Vrede Pinot Noir 2013 Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
Juicy, bright and vivid with nice firm tannins, as well as notes of iodine and spice. Lovely weight here: tannic and nicely dense. 94/100
Storm Vrede Pinot Noir 2012 Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
Earth, spice and malt in the mix here with good tannins and some firm berry fruits. Appealing with a grainy texture, and showing development. 93/100
Storm Ignis Pinot Noir 2021 Upper Hemel-en-Arde
Pale coloured. Sappy and fragrant. Very fine with juicy red cherry and cranberry fruit with lovely elegance. Hints of orange peel. Lovely fruit here. 95/100
Storm Ignis Pinot Noir 2020 Upper Hemel-en-Arde
Upper Hemel-en-Arde on decomposed granite on the Onrus River. Such lovely, fine aromatics with sweet red cherry and redcurrant and some iron and blood notes. So expressive and elegant on the palate with fine red cherry and raspberry, with real elegance to the juicy, refined red fruits, with a lovely ferrous character. Some tea and fynbos too. So expressive, and although this can age, it’s lovely now. 96/100
Storm Ignis Pinot Noir 2015 Upper Hemel-en-Arde
Warmly herbal with spice and nice generous raspberry and strawberry fruit. Good structure here: very fine, sappy and detailed. 94/100
Storm Ridge Pinot Noir 2021 Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge
Pale in colour. Ripe, elegant and lightly structured, with fine red cherry notes. Juicy, light and with some orange peel notes. Supple and pure. 96/100
Storm Ridge Pinot Noir 2020 Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge
Bokkeveld shale-derived clay soils, SE-facing slopes, 320 m. Rich and quite intense with sweet raspberry and cherry fruit. This is concentrated and dense with powerful raspberry and blackcurrant characters as well as some spicy structure. There’s some Christmas-cake richness in the background, and there’s also depth and volume. Lovely concentration and depth, and some richness. 94/100
Storm Ridge Pinot Noir 2017 Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge
Supple and elegant with fine raspberry, red cherry and strawberry fruit. Bright with nice acidity and structure. Polished, expressive and fine. 95/100
Storm Ridge Pinot Noir 2015 Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge
Strawberry and raspberry fruit with fine spices. Detailed and bright, and ageing very nicely. Good structure here with iodine, spice and lively detail. Quite mineral. 95/100
UK agent: Justerinis