Hemel-en-Aarde Valley | An Artists Retreat #southafrica #hemelenaarde #ataraxiawines

An Artist’s Cottage

At the foothills of the Babylon Toren Mountain you will find this enchanting cottage for rent. We love the whispered views and its scenic escape with neighboring vineyards.

For more information visit, Perfect Hideaways.

Wine Trails

The wine trail are impressive and here are the top vineyards according to decanter.

Hamilton-Russell Vineyards grew in reputation from its first vintage in 1981. Peter Finlayson, its first winemaker, also recognised the valley’s potential for the Burgundian duo, and this was confirmed when the 1986 Pinot Noir won a local competition at which Paul Bouchard (of Bouchard Aîné) was a judge.

From the centre of Hermanus to Hamilton Russell Vineyards is roughly 8km, and it‘s best to set off after rush hour. The Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that established Hemel-en-Aarde’s reputation are a good launching pad for the day. Also excellent are the estate’s peppery extra virgin olive oil and fynbos honey.

La Vierge

A few bends further up the valley finds La Vierge, where Gerhard Smith, with several years’ experience in New Zealand’s Wairarapa region, brings Pinot expertise to the four versions he produces. These can be enjoyed on the verandah with spectacular views of the nearby mountains and sea.

Bouchard Finlayson

Hemel-en-aarde, Bouchard cellar

Bouchard Finlayson.

In 1989, Finlayson assembled a group of shareholders, later to include Bouchard himself, to start Bouchard Finlayson, on a site just above his former employer.

While pristine fynbos with indigenous vegetation covers most of the property (guided walks with a botanist are offered), Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the focus in the vineyards, though like others, Finlayson ventured beyond: his Hannibal blend, featuring Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Barbera, offers an intriguing diversion.

Ataraxia Wines

Before wending your way slowly down the valley, stop to taste Kevin Grant’s Ataraxia Wines in his eye-catching Wine Lounge: an art-filled chapel built in keeping with the vernacular Overberg style.

Hannes Storm

Alongside Bouchard and Grant, Hannes Storm is another Burgundy enthusiast to start his own winery after being schooled in Hemel-en-Aarde’s possibilities at Hamilton-Russell. Open by appointment only.

Newton Johnson

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hemel-en-aarde wineries, Newton Johnson

Newton Johnson

Others have arrived in the valley, setting up their own cellars: Newton Johnson was soon acknowledged, both locally and internationally, in particular for its Pinot Noir, but also for quality across its range.

Founder and Pinot devotee Dave Johnson, with wife Felicity (née Newton), bought their current property in Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in 2000, establishing the vineyards the following year.
Johnson chose a higher altitude site in the belief that it offers greater maritime influence and more complex soil profiles.

Sea-foragers, the Newton Johnsons found a perfect seafood partner in Albariño, producing a South African first in 2013.

Restless River

Craig and Anne Wessels have shown Cabernet Sauvignon can be a success at Restless River, as well as the excellent Chardonnay they’ve made for some years.

Creation

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Hemel-en-aarde wineries, Creation

Creation

Jean-Claude and Carolyn Martin, high up on the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge at Creation, have ventured into Rhône territory with fresh, elegant Viognier, Syrah and Grenache.

Alheit Vineyards

Chris and Suzaan Alheit’s Alheit Vineyards (open by special arrangement only) new Hemelrand Vine Garden, a field blend of Roussanne, Chenin, Chardonnay, Verdelho and Muscat de Frontignan, is destined to become as acclaimed as their Chenins from other parts of the Cape.

When to go

Today it is a thriving tourist resort, hosting annual events such as Hermanus Fynarts Festival, 10 days of music, wine and art – many famous South African artists lived and worked here – and a whale festival held annually during spring when the much-loved southern right whales return to Walker Bay to give birth.

With so many diverse pursuits and wines located in such beautiful surroundings, visitors to Hermanus and Hemel-en-Aarde are spoiled for choice.
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The Unforgettables

Vintage Finds? If you missed the cocktail event on March 6th, you do not need to be upset. You can still keep up to date on Afraid of Mice’s events and great chic finds online with their blog.

KeyAesthetics spend two weeks in South Africa and CapeTown and you can indulge in their secret finds here.

And our love of Spain is always showcased here and at KeyAesthetics. Here I am crushing on Juana Martin and Christina Garcia for their Moda Flamenca.

Cristina

KeyAesthetics 2014

In 2013, KeyAesthetics traveled to six countries.  When we counted we couldn’t believe it and the diversity is shown through the pages of our online magazine.  We covered Denmark, Sweden, Copenhagen, Belgium, South Africa and London. Wowsers!

Enjoy the March/ April 2014 Issue that features our Paris 2014 trip, Gardens and the Color White. Coming Soon this month.

KA_TeaserEntry Halls we adore.

EntryWays

South Africa Now

Ah remembering South Africa just like it was yesterday.  A friend shared this photo with me and it is just loveliness.  I miss South Africa SO SO SO much and the Jacaranda season is the best.

Our post from when we returned.  And our magazine feature that references our vacation in Cape Town and Johannesburg/Pretoria.

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