Restless River new releases

By , 9 November 2022



Craig and Anne Wessels have been on their Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley farm Restless River just short of 20 years – “a fairly significant chunk of time” as Craig puts it. Moreover, Craig gave up a career in film “five or six years ago” to tend his vineyards on a permanent basis. “The extra knowledge I’ve gained as a result is reflected by greater detail in the wines,” he says. Tasting notes and ratings for the new releases as follows:

Restless River Wanderlust Red Field Blend 2020
Price: R370
Grapes from the vine garden established by Bosman Family Vineyards on its Upper Hemel-en-Aarde property, a source of mother material for propagation purposes. Wessels selected eight varieties that all sat “within a certain window of ripenss” and then co-fermented.

Some 50% consisting of Cinsault, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, the rest being Barbera, Malbec, Roussanne, Ruby Cabernet and Tinta Barocca. The nose shows red berries, floral perfume plus hints of herbs, pepper and spice. Good clarity of fruit, bright acidity and quite soft tannins – most appealing.

CE’s rating: 92/100.

Restless River Ava Marie Chardonnay 2020
Price: R510
Matured for 12 months, 90% in barrel of which 10% was new, and 10% in terracotta pots. Aromatics of struck-match reduction before lime and lemon plus hints of oatmeal and vanilla. The palate is taut and tense – pure fruit, arresting acidity and a pithy finish. Restrained to the point of severe, this needs at least another 12 months in bottle before showing anywhere near its true potential.

CE’s rating: 95/100.

Restless River Main Road & Dignity Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Price: R690
Matured for 20 months in French oak, 25% new. The latest harvest ever, the last parcel of fruit brought in on 17 May. Black and blue berries, fennel, pencil shaving and earth on the nose. The palate is luscious and smooth textured – dense fruit plays off against fine-grained tannins, the texture presenting as smooth but there’s good freshness here, too, and the finish is deeply savoury.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

Check out our South African wine ratings database.


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