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Restless River 'Ava Marie' Chardonnay Hemel-en-Aarde Valley 2021

New Arrival

Cape South Coast Collection by Philglas & Swiggot

  • Size: 750ml
  • Vintage: 2021
  • ABV: 13%
  • Origin: Hemel-en-Aarde/South Africa
  • Grapes: Chardonnay


When Craig Wessels isn't working for his animation and design agency or directing films, he and his wife Anne can be found making Restless River wines on their tiny farm in Hemel-en-Arde, located near the fishing village of Hermanus. They bought the only plot of land they could afford and have slowly transformed it into a 5-star rated winery in Platter's guide. Armed with the coolest climate on the cape, self-taught confidence, tattoos, biker t-shirts, a couple of amphoras from Tuscany and a restless drive to experiment and learn, the Wessels family are producing come of South Africa's most exciting wines. They farm as naturally as possible, and believe the grapes develop depth and complexity through struggle. As a result, yields are low, taking off the few tons that the weather, birds, baboons and Kwezi (the grape-loving dog) kindly leave behind. Yet the wine produced is spectacular.

The 2021 Ava Marie is whole bunch pressed and matured partially in amphorae for 12 months. It takes a little while to open, revealing candle wax, pressed white flowers and orange pith notes with aeration. The palate is slightly granular on the entry, just a faint underlying oatmeal note, with fine tension and a little chalkiness towards the finish. Lots going on here. An absorbing Chardonnay. 91pts. Vinous