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.
Glimmering, glinting green in the glass, the nose is tightly wound- softly smokey, chalky and with notes of just ripe pear and creamy almond. It's a little more subtle on the nose than some previous vintages, but we think it's a big step up on the 2018, as does master of wine Greg Sherwood, declaring the 2019 "a belter". Where the nose may be restrained at present, the palate is broad and with great concentration, without being too weighty, loaded with cashew nut butter, lime zest, pink grapefruit, wet quartz stone and lemon bon bons, with sculpted acid frame, innate coolness and a very moreish finish. A Chardonnay of distinction and serious pedigree