Storm Pinot Noir Vrede 2014
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Soft earthy spice and sweet cured-bacon aromas are at the front of the bouquet here, with supporting fruit tones of brambly berries, wild strawberry, peach pit, fruit cake, sweet smoke and rooibos. There's a real mélange of aromas and flavors here, just stunning, with more nuance and complexity discovered with each sniff and sip. Bright, snappy red berry fruits abound on the palate, while hints of sous bois, tree bark and cocoa nib unfold on the close. It's medium in weight, well-composed and balanced, with a smooth, suave and silky texture.
Meticulous viticulture, minimal intervention in the cellar and a constant nod to the Old World present the wines with a warm personality and character. With the maiden vintage for both vineyards in 2012, Storm Wines continues to handcraft, perfect and shepherd Pinot Noir from their unique terroirs into very distinctive site specific wines.
With an important wine renaissance in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century.
Today, however, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot. But the Benguela Current from Antarctica provides brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.
South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for red-fruit-driven, spicy, earthy reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following close behind.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”