Ask wine lovers about South African wine regions and chances are many would do the obvious and talk about the Boland – Stellenbosch and Paarl, possibly Franschhoek. I’m guilty myself of giving the cooler coastal wine regions less attention. Rather shortsighted of course, because these regions produce exceptional wines. The Hemel-en-Aarde valley close to Hermanus is one of our cooler coastal stars, and La Vierge winery a shining example of what can be achieved in this terroir.
The valley is the home of premium South African Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and while La Vierge does produce other wines, their speciality is these classic Burgundy wines that are so at home in the region’s cool, maritime climate and clay-rich soils.
I first discovered La Vierge ten years go when taking a meandering drive through the Hemel-en-Aarde. It’s high up in the valley and offers a wonderful tasting experience with one of the best vistas you could hope for. Relax on their large outside terrace and you’ll be blown away by the views of the valley below and Walker Bay in the distance.
I still remember those views all these years later. What I had forgotten is just how special their wines are, so I was delighted to be reminded recently when the folks from La Vierge sent me a bottle of their Jezebelle Chardonnay and The Affair Pinot Noir to taste. I was blown away. But don’t take my word for it, take the word of the experts who judged them in the recent Investec Trophy Wine Show.