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south-africa

Restless River

“If you have ever wondered whether the Cape would ever make Grand Cru Chardonnay, the answer is in this bottle.” – Matthew Jukes, Money Week on the 2013 Chardonnay

Planted in 1999, Craig Wessels’ farm in Hemel-en-Aarde is only now receiving the recognition it deserves. Currently producing only a Cabernet Sauvignon (a bit odd for a region synonymous with Pinot for reds) and a Chardonnay, he works entirely by hand in an old-fashioned style. We know that “hand-crafted” and “artisanal” are two of the most overused words in wine, but these are the real deal. The wines are opulent yet balanced, ever-evolving and utterly delicious. It’s a sign of Craig’s obsession with quality that he poured his 2007 down the drain, rather than de-classifying it and selling it off in bulk. He’s fastidious and patient. The wines are released only when he feels they’re ready. For an importer, this can be frustrating, but the results in bottle make it worth the wait. His Cabernet is very possibly the best that South Africa produces, calling to mind more the great vintages of Trevallon than the icons of Stellenbosch. The Chardonnay is rich and hedonistic with underlying acidity and minerality that focus
the palate and provide brilliant depth and complexity.