La Vierge

Situated in Hemel-en-Aarde in the Walker Bay, La Vierge is a real gem: quirky and with bags of character we found the wines as irresistible as the winery itself: a chic little building whose terraced restaurant overlooks the lush and verdant valley below.  The winery was established in the early 2000’s with the purchase of the evocatively named Babylon Farm on the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge. A relatively cool climate region, it shows great promise for Pinot Noir and is arguably already producing the best Pinot Noir in South Africa. This is the varietal that La Vierge consider their flagship in the form of La Vierge Noir which comes from a single block on the farm, 6 years old and all clone 115 (Dijon Clone), although future vintages will be sourced from a wider selection of blocks on the farm – all still Dijon clones 113, 114, 115, 667 and 777.The cold, wet and windy growing season helps keep crop levels at the optimum 5-6 tons per hectare (around 35 hl/ha) or around 1kg per vine. The climate is maritime; parallel mountain ranges channel southerly sea breezes through the region in the summer. The winds also bring regular sea mists and overcast conditions to the valley and with it even temperatures, averaging 19°C annually with 750mm of rain. Most of the rain falls in winter, loading up the argillaceous shale soils with enough water to allow dry farming throughout the year. The winery’s branding adds a little spice and humour to an already interesting mix with designs based on drawings by the Seychelles-based British artist Michael Adams MBE. These reflect the rich symbolism of Hemel-en-Aarde, the breathtakingly beautiful valley whose name does not mean “Heaven on Earth” for nothing.

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