Restless River Ava Marie Chardonnay 2019

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Tasting Notes

Glimmering, glinting green in the glass, the nose is tightly wound- softly smokey, chalky and with notes of just ripe pear and creamy almond. It's a little more subtle on the nose than some previous vintages, but we think it's a big step up on the 2018, as does master of wine Greg Sherwood, declaring the 2019 "a belter". Where the nose may be restrained at present, the palate is broad and with great concentration, without being too weighty, loaded with cashew nut butter, lime zest, pink grapefruit, wet quartz stone and lemon bon bons, with sculpted acid frame, innate coolness and a very moreish finish. A Chardonnay of distinction and serious pedigree.

More Info

Restless River is a rising star which has quietly achieved cult-status for its brilliant, Burgundian-style Chardonnay and ultra-elegant Cabernet Sauvignon. Launched in 2012 by Craig Wessels, who, alongside his successful career in digital production, also raced motorbikes and flew helicopters around the Cape, along with his ex-model wife Anne, their farm is located in the beautiful Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Its home to some of the oldest Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay vines in the region (planted in 1998). At Restless River, things are done in an unhurried way, with great dedication and attention to detail. Almost all their production is done by hand, resulting in limited quantities of each wine, and demand far exceeding supply. Restless River is defined by its terroir, and Craig Wessels' thoughtful and careful winemaking allows it to be the star of the show.


“The 2019 Ava Marie is a very impressive creation indeed. While many of the earlier vintages were a little more honied and resinous quite early in their evolution, the last few vintages have firmly moved in a direction that favours textural tension and a stonier minerality led by aromatics loaded with smoky, flinty, struck match reduction nuances, waxy lemon peel, wet chalk and subtle oat meal leesy notes. On the palate there is a very keen line of acidity together with an ample, fleshy, yellow citrus fruit freshness that boast layers of pithy yellow grapefruit, lemon cordial, crunchy white peaches and hints of sophisticated wet river pebble liquid minerality. One of Craig’s most Burgundian expressions to date, this wine combines fabulous tension with sublime balance. If you are a Chardonnay lover, not a liker, track this one down while you can. Drink now and over the next 8 to 10 years. 96+.”
Greg Sherwood MW
“Drought-breaking 2019 vintage conferred rare combo of very low pH & not-too-high acidity, giving delicacy & effortless texture, pleasing hint of salt. Single-vineyard fruit, naturally fermented/year in oak, 5% new, plus 10% amphora component deliver riveting tension, lime & spice complexity, flinty, limy persistence. Magnificent. 5* (96/100)”
Platter Guide 2021

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