Restless River
Ava Marie Chardonnay

What a sincere joy this wine is. Every year I look forward to the vintage release of this Hemel-en-Aarde chardonnay and 2018 is the best yet. Winemaker Craig Wessels is obsessive in his approach; he does nine pickings through the vineyard to ensure quality and optimum ripeness, followed by whole bunch pressing and natural fermentation in the cellar. For the latter he used a variety of different barrel sizes with only one new barrel in the mix (approx. 5% in total), the wine then spent 11 months on the lees, further adding texture and complexity, after which a resting period of two years in the bottle before release. Clean, lemony citrus rides on a persistent wave of gunpowder, flint and peach-pip spice. Crunchy green apple and a proper stony acidity are tempered in a soft lemon curd like character. More relentless than restless; the wine does a few laps on the finish. Totally enlivening and inspiring. R405 (95).