Hemel & Aarde Heavenly Pinots

The Hemel en Aarde Valley outside Hermanus is so named as its best Pinots can be classified into two types: those made from the soil (Aarde) and a more ethereal style descended from heaven (Hemel). The two best known soil sips are double-barreled: Hamilton Russell and Bouchard Finlayson while the heavenly host is represented by the angelic wines of Marc van Halderen (Dutch for “from heaven”) under the brand names La Vierge (“the virgin”) and Domaine des Dieux (“God’s pozzie”).

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The earthy wines have to date made most of the running in sighted wine guides and perhaps not surprisingly command the highest prices although this could be about to change as a new angel called De Bos 2012 has descended from on high, full of righteousness, it being a FairTrade tipple, and on the very day Pope Benedict retired. It is most reasonably priced too, at R95 a bottle, a true miracle.

The R95 price is why Petrus Bosman (above) decided to launch it at 95 Keerom Street plus the news that 95 chef Giorgio Nava makes the best risotto in the world, as confirmed by his victory last month in New York where his rice beat out 2000 other chefs. His prize was a wheel of Parmesan, shown below, that coupled with sirloin carpaccio and a glass of De Bos is a dish from an archangel’s bistro.

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The wine is quite remarkable. 12.5% alcohol made from vines planted 7777 to the hectare (the same Burgundian squeeze employed by heavenly Marc) which yield one bunch per plant. Two thirds were fermented and matured in stainless steel, the rest in second and third fill barrels.

This is a thoroughly modern twitter wine, as electronic advice was received by winemaker Corlea Fourie (below) from Peter-Allan Finlayson via social media. Stems were added during fermentation to ramp up the mouth-feel and German yeast was employed to ensure precise flavours and with a German Pope in mind. Jawohl!

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The cosy cartel of pricey Pinot producers has just been exploded and with the FairTrade marketing machine behind it, this wine is set to run and run.