With a certain announcement late last night that left many South Africans equally stunned and elated, Valentine’s Day of 2018 will be remembered forever. What a fitting conclusion to the Day of Love!
Bearing this news in mind, I thought now might be a good time to reflect on this year’s very successful and equally well received Hemel and Aarde Pinot Noir Celebration (PNC).
The two day event essentially kicked off with vineyard tours of the three wards within in the Hemel and Aarde Valley. Guests were transported to three wine cellars in the Hemel and Aarde Valley, Upper Hemel and Aarde Valley and Hemel and Aarde Ridge to gain a finer appreciation of the terroir of each of these wards. With specific reference to the Valley it is rather obvious that phrases such as “Burgundy comes to South Africa” and “better than Burgundy” are, while not really distasteful, simply not applicable. The Hemel and Aarde Valley is a powerhouse of Pinot Noir production in South Africa and while comparisons with Burgundy might be flattering, copying other countries regions or wine styles is not what winemakers and viticulturists here are aiming for. Expression of site is paramount and one only needs to sample the variety of Pinot Noirs from Hermanus to realise that they most certainly have their own identity and that something really good is going on here.
One of the highlights of the PNC was surely the charity auction which raised R120 000. This money will be well used by the beneficiaries, all of them in the Hemel and Aarde Valley. For more details about this worthy cause, please read the April issue of WineLand, or watch this space.
Another highlight was the international tasting by Jean-Marie Fourrier, who guided guests through a selection of his Domaine Fourrier wines. These spectacular wines are a brilliant showcase for Burgundy’s finest and evoked much discussion with the panel.
The list of highlights goes on: the themed tastings at individual wineries, the excellent food that was served (particularly on Saturday evening by celebrity chefs Pete Goffe-Wood, George Jardine, Franck Dangereux and Nic van Wyk), the beauty of the Valley, good company and, most of all, the incredible quality and diversity of Pinot Noir that was consumed in vast amounts!
The true winner of the weekend was Pinot Noir. Until next year then – bigger and better!