Hemel-en-Aarde Wine Region

Hemel-en-Aarde Wine Region

This valley is famous for its chardonnay and pinot noir.  Note that not many estates produce pinot noir in the Cape – so if you are a pinot noir fan – this is the main region you should visit while in the Cape.  Note that on a weekday you will have most of the farms to yourself – this trend differs radically on weekends as many Cape Town people escape to this coastal region on the weekends – especially in summer and during school holidays. Note that Hamilton Russel, Bouchard Finlayson & Newton Jonson are open weekdays and then until lunchtime on a Saturday.  Closed on Sundays. Wine route map: www.hermanuswine.com/map.php

  • Hamilton Russel – this is perhaps the most well know estate in the region.  They only produce two varietals – pinot noir and chardonnay.  Both win many awards internationally and locally every year.  The tasting room is really sweet and is located on the edge of a little dam.  www.hamiltonrusselvineyards.com
  • Bouchard Finlayson – they have a larger range – but visit for the amazing pinot noir and the excellent chardonnay.  They have a nice range of chardonnays form unwooded to quite heavily oaked – all of which are delicious!  I would highly recommend a stop here.  The lady that runs the tasting room is fantastic and you will receive a very warm welcome! www.bouchardfinlayson.co.za
  • Newton Johnson – I love their chardonnay! They have interesting range of wines, a great tasting room with sweeping views of the valley and a very quaint farm kitchen called Heaven.  The food is wholesome and delicious.  The key here is to book a cellar tour with the wine maker Gordon Newton Johnson.  He is such fun and so passionate.  He hops from barrel to barrel and allows you to do barrel tastings.  Really a great experience.  www.newtonjohnson.com
  • Ataraxia – owned by Kevin Grant who was the winemaker at Hamilton Russel for ten years.  He has initially been sourcing grapes from the region until all of his vines are ready for harvest.  He has been winning lots of awards – especially for his chardonnay – which is delicious.  Ataraxia’s name comes from the dictionary and means calmness, emotional tranquillity – a great tie up to the pastime of drinking wine according to Kevin.   The estate is well worth a visit to sit in the tasting room which is quite simply gorgeous.  It has chapel inspired architecture and is locate on top of a hill.  Note that you are welcome to ring the church bell.  If you wish to do a tasting with Kevin, an appointment will need to be made in advance, otherwise – just pop in to taste there range of wines.  Note that he has managed to get distribution in the USA (not an easy achievement!) twitter.com/AtaraxiaWine They do not seem to have a website.  The tasting room is just before Creation with a small sign on the left hand side en route to Creation wines.
  • Creation Wines – I highly recommend that you persevere down the untarred road to find the Creation wines – as the Platters guide says – it is like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  The wines are excellent and they offer a fantastic food and wine pairing of 8 “snacks” to eat with the wines.   The staff are great and give you a fantastic warm welcome on arrival.  The view is fantastic and the setting could not be more pretty.  During the height of summer 15 Nov to 15 Jan they are open 7 days a week and out of season Mon to Sat.  You do not need an appointment, however it is fantastic to do a cellar tour with the assistant wine maker Kevin who will explain his journey from fisherman to handyman to wine maker.  He is seriously in love with his profession and his excitement at the project he is working on is infectious! Book in advance to spend time with Kevin in his cellar! www.creationwines.com