2014 Storm Wines, Pinot Noir, Vrede, Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa.
After years at the famed Hamilton-Russell winery, Hannes Storm has struck out on his own with three tiny parcels of Pinot Noir and a little Chardonnay block, his first vintage from young vines in the Bokkeveld shale, clay and granite driven soils of Hemel-en-Aarde was the 2012, and it blew my mind and I couldn’t wait to try this newer releases, and his 2014 Vrede Pinot is exceptional and unbelievably Burgundy like! There is so much going on here, this stuff is killer with an attractive and seductive darkly earthy and sensual start with layers of dusty/stony red fruits, a mix of porcini/truffle, crushed rose petals and pomegranate leading the way with a beautiful natural and elegant mouth feel that is both lively and excitingly rich in texture and detail with tangy plum, black cherry and cranberry fruits forming a powerful core along with velvety ripe tannins and a heady mix of spice, herb and leathery notes, lingering on and on with hints of blueberry, strawberry and mineral. Given time and air the Storm Vrede Pinot Noir, from vines planted in 2008, opens even further and gains structure, density of fruit and more exotically sexy charms, wow, I can’t imagine how amazing this vineyard will be with even more age, because even now it’s awesome! Another thrilling wine from Hannes, who’s brother Ernst is making wine in Santa Barbara, and while flying under the radar is also a producer to search out, it’s a talented family, so while both are great, this South African Storm is really fantastic Pinot, imported by Broadbent Selections, and though not easy to find, is worth looking for. Seriously, while a bit more concentrated than some Premier Cru(s) in a blind tasting this wine would easily be picked out to be a Cotes de Nuits from a warmer/richer vintage, it’s somewhere between a fine Gevrey-Chambertin and a Morey-St.-Denis!
($40 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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