Storm Wines new releases

By , 7 July 2020

Comment

16

Hannes Storm started out at Hamilton Russell Vineyards before going on his own in 2012, working with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to articulate the differences in the site that make up the greater Hemel-en-Aarde area. It is interesting to note that Storm feels his 2018 Pinots have “slightly more perfume and opulence” than the 2017s to which I would say they perhaps don’t have quite the same intensity and energy. His two Chardonnay offerings from the 2019 vintage, meanwhile, are sensational. Tasting notes and ratings for the current releases as follows:

Storm Vrede Chardonnay 2019
W.O. Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. An utterly compelling nose showing lime and lemon, blossom, a hint of struck match and some yeasty complexity. The palate is extraordinarily vivid – excellent fruit concentration, bracing acidity and a pithy finish. Provides great intensity of flavour while being entirely harmonious.

CE’s rating: 96/100.

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Storm Ridge Chardonnay 2019
W.O. Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge. Aromatics of pear, peach and citrus with a hint of earthiness. Slightly sweeter and rounder than its counterpart above but hardly weighty. Lovely fruit expression matched by bright acidity, this has a winning sleekness about it.

CE’s rating: 94/100.

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Storm Vrede Pinot Noir 2018
W.O. Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Cherry, strawberry, musk, earth and some chariness on the nose. The palate is relatively rich and broad with an almost creamy texture, the finish remaining savoury.

CE’s rating: 92/100.

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Storm Ignis Pinot Noir 2018
W.O. Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. The nose shows musk, red fruit and white pepper. The palate is light bodied with good fruit definition, fresh acidity and a gently savoury. Pure, balanced, blemish-free.

CE’s rating: 92/100.

Storm Ridge Pinot Noir 2018
W.O. Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge. A pretty nose showing red fruit, rose, fynbos and spice while the palate is relatively lean with nicely sour acidity and fine tannins, the finish having a saline quality to it.

CE’s rating: 92/100.

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Comments

16 comment(s)

  • Simon10 July 2020

    Point in fact – look at this. Same low scores, same comments – even international commentators asking wtf.

    https://winemag.co.za/wine/review/hemel-en-aarde-pinot-noir-celebration-2018-general-observations/#comments

  • Christian Eedes10 July 2020

    Pinot Noir seems to inflame people’s feelings like no other variety and this website is surely proving its relevance if it elicits such deeply-felt comment as this post has.

    A couple of points:

    1. I am aware that there is a belief in some quarters that this site tends to under-score local Pinot Noir and I’m not unhappy with this. My contention is that the category is a work in progress – newer Burgundy clones that replaced the Swiss BK5 clone are a fairly recent phenomenon and understanding the role of site is seemingly more complicated than it is with other varieties.

    2. You won’t find much coverage of wines from outside South Africa on this site, which is not to say I or the other members of the tasting panel don’t drink them. Our position is that if you’re looking for coverage of international wines, then there are numerous media entities around the world much better positioned to do that whereas we are uniquely well placed to report on South Africa.

    3. As to the notion that supposedly sub-par scores are damaging to the hard work of producers, I would counter that this is to misunderstand the role of criticism. Winemag.co.za is surely not meant to provide unthinking support for all South African wine but rather provide analysis and judgement of its merits and faults with a view to facilitating long-term upliftment of overall quality.

    4. Regarding the Storm new releases, these were not submitted by the producer but were paid for by the site. They were tasted sighted, both with and without food, over a 36-hour period. I don’t believe that they could’ve been given much fairer scrutiny.

    5. Although I’m loath to bring up the tedious subject of score inflation, it again has to be relevant here – if the Storm wines all rate in the late 90s, then it leaves very little room for manoeuvre when quality improvements in vineyard and cellar are made, these being inevitable given the relatively short history of Pinot in the country. Moreover, allowance must be made for vintage and in the case of the Storm Pinots, the 2017s are superior to the 2018s, at least according to my palate.

    6. As for why the three 2018 Pinots all got the same score, I concur they are very different from one another, expressing their separate origins very well but in sheer quality terms, I simply could not differentiate between them – no need to always pick a favourite!

  • Stefan9 July 2020

    Hi Christian. Just from an interest point of view, could you explain to us in which order you approached tasting these wines and why? I tasted them all, however, not in the normal approach to a tasting. We tasted the Pinots first and then the Chards. I also drank the wines in reverse order and I must say that tasting the chardonnays before the pinots has quite a big effect on the overall impression of the power the pinots possess.

  • John9 July 2020

    Simon,
    How does it feel to be so in love with yourself and with your wine knowledge? Any tips on how I could achieve your(self-proclaimed) lofty status?

    • Simon9 July 2020

      John! John? Would that be John as in the toilet – as in where people urinate or defecate, or John as in the guy who visits prostitutes? Or are you a male mule? John – whatever you are – if you were to read my original comment again, this time maybe trace the words with your finger so your eyes don’t go faster than your ability to understand, you would see how I educate myself. You visit other areas renowned for Pinot Noir, immerse yourself in the area, taste as many examples as you can and then maybe you will get a better understanding of what Pinot is. Christian consistently scores SA pinot low, yet I never see him reviewing Burgundy or anything other than SA wine. So what is his benchmark? What is his opinion based on? Shooting down hard working producers with fence sitting scores because his experience is lacking. Compare his scores for SA Pinot with other international tasters – Atkin is a good example, a bit of a dodgy personality, but a great taster with much much much more experience and exposure to what happens in the world of wine than Winemag’s editor – and you start seeing there’s a problem when it comes to the scores.

      If you want to stick your neck out and criticize other’s work with something as mundane as a score our of 100, then expect yourself to be under scrutiny and criticized for your inability to taste a variety properly. I give Christian 89 for his Pinot Noir ability.

  • Hennie Taljaard9 July 2020

    I believe the 2018 vintage was particularly difficult especially for reds, and on a cultivar like Pinot it will show.

  • Richard8 July 2020

    Very surprising to see all the Pinot Noirs get the same score. I found them noticeably different side by side regardless of how loved or not-so-loved they are. Personally I loved them – the Vrede in particular must surely be some of the best Pinot Noir available in SA right now.

    • Simon9 July 2020

      Christian you should rather refrain from scoring SA Pinot. It is clear by your scores that you have no inkling about what’s going on. The question is – and please enlighten us Master Eedes if you will – just how much Burgundy do you drink to make these judgements on SA PN? I travel to the area once a year (plus Otago, Oregon and Sonoma) and I drink as much Pinot as my budget allows and I certainly do not end up with the same low scores for SA PN as you do. So either 1) your ignorance about the variety in the new world and in general is shown or 2) you have a preference for other varieties. [Begs the question, why are you reviewing PN AT ALL] or 3) You don’t taste broadly enough [in my books, along with point 1 the most likely combination].

      Regardless – whatever your faults – try and not project your shortcomings on others efforts. Take some of the money we are pissing (in vain it seems) into the Winemag “donation” coffers and get a Burgundy allocation from Great Domaines, or even buy some of the dross Roland at Wine Cellar or Reciprocal imports and then educate yourself. You can maybe pontificate about Sauvignon Blanc (yawn) in the international context, but your Pinot Noir credentials are incredibly lacking. Rather Stfu until you are educated enough.

      • AB9 July 2020

        Pretty brutal, but I do agree the Pinot scoring on WM seems inconsistent with other varieties. I suppose all critics have their tastes and that is what you choose them for.

        For me, though, those Storm Pinots are sublime.

      • Udo Göebel9 July 2020

        Since when is 92/100 a low score?
        Seems Simon wants to score wines above 100 🙂

        • Simon9 July 2020

          No I want Christian to do his job properly. As an aside – are you related to Joseph Goebels by any chance? Asking for a friend.

      • Rioja10 July 2020

        simple Simon says

      • Roland (not that Roland)10 July 2020

        Simon, most of us come here because we enjoy wine. Discovering, sharing, talking, learning. For most of us, wine has pleasurable, happy, social associations.

        Unfortunately, it seems to have had the opposite effect for you, in fact it seems to make you unhappy. Are you sure you’re drinking the right stuff?

        By all means, share the benefits of your extensive education, but then why not tell us what you think of the *wines*? Give us your own score, tell us if you favour something else at the same price point, or reminisce about you the time you first copped a feel of Sweet Eloise while backpacking thru Burgundy back in your heyday.

        Life is short, lighten up and you may enjoy it more.

        • Simon10 July 2020

          Roland – not that one, whatever – do yourself a favour and buy (or get a free trial if you’re a cheapskate) a subscription for an international wine website like Decanter, Wine Advocate or Spectator – hell, even Jancis or Atkin, and see what real education, qualified criticism and informed opinion is. Then you might learn something if that’s your motivation for reading this site.

          Re scoring wine – you can go back on previous posts by me on the subject of scoring and you will see I repeatedly say scoring wine is dumbing it down to a subjective number which is folly. It shouldn’t be done, but Master Eedes insists on it, which makes it open season in my books on his score and opinion. If you want to dumb it down to a figure, be prepared to defend that number.

          Wine makes me plenty happy. I am halfway through a 2012 Volnay 1er cru as I am typing this. In fact, re your statement of me not drinking the right wine… I can categorically state that I am sure I drink better than you. But that’s not the point – its not a competition – the fact is that wine is an emotional subject if you care about it, and that’s why Christian’s inability to get past his own limitations and biases starts irritating.

  • Matthew Ferrandi7 July 2020

    Hi Christian. Very interesting. I haven’t tried the Chards but have all the 18 Pinots. Thought Vrede the best of them followed by Ignis and Ridge. Did a fun comparison of Vrede and Hamilton Russell 18. HR showed more tannin and less perfume. I would agree with Storm that his 18 Pinots are opulent. I found the Vrede to tick all the boxes for me.

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