Tesselaarsdal Chardonnay 2019 | Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge – Maiden Release

After five gloriuos vintages of Tesselaarsdal Pinot noir, Chardonnay has been added to production, an amazing fresh Chardonnay 2019 matured 50% Amphorae, 50% old oak for 6 months with grapes from the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge. 

Cellar price at R250 per bottle.

Tesselaarsdal was founded in 2015 by long-standing Hamilton Russell Vineyards employee, Berene Sauls.  This wine is named after the historic Overberg farming hamlet of Tesselaarsdal, not far from the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge wine appellation, in which Berene was born – a descendant of the freed slaves who were bequeathed the land by former East India Company settler, Johannes Tesselaar in 1810.

Extreme care is taken to ensure this small-production, classically styled Pinot noir expresses the personality of the cool, maritime, Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge from un-irrigated vines and its elevated, stony, clay and iron-rich soils.


A particularly bright, tight and pure Chardonnay with marked elegance. Clean and lifted primary fruit character and citrus blossom introduce a long, gentle palate, very expressive but also deliciously classical and restrained. This is a graceful and age-worthy wine with an almost crystalline purity.

I grew up in a small village called Tesselaarsdal situated 24 km North East of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Hermanus in the Overberg region.  Tesselaarsdal has a unique history where East India Company settler, Johannes Tesselaar, left his land to his freed slaves to farm upon his death in 1810. 

After completing school I initially joined Hamilton Russell Vineyards in February 2001 as an au pair at the age of 19.  I soon moved to an administrative position and quickly got involved in the much more  complicated administration linked to wine exports, labelling as well as warehousing of the estate’s wines.  

Experiencing so many aspects of the business already my curiousity turned towards the delicate process from grape to bottle, the very layered wine culture and living the excitement of each harvests.  

Fifteen years after starting my career in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Anthony Hamilton Russell offered to assist me with the wonderful opportunity to wholly own my own wine business and join the rest of the Hemel-en-Aarde area as a producer with the expert assistance of Hamilton Russell Vineyards wine maker, Emul Ross and the Hamilton Russell Vineyards’ team.

Grapes purchases are secured with Babylon Vineyards, Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge (unirrigated vineyards) until Tesselaarsdal’s vineyards is secured and ready for harvest.

I will be focussing production on Pinot noir as our climate and soil type is best suited for this cultivar and named my wine Tesselaarsdal, honouring my history and continuing my family legacy.

Going forward I added Chardonnay to production as well which is also from the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge or and once planted in Tesselaarsdal would be from Overberg region.

We often reference to Burgundy and I suppose my palate is very much shaped by these great wines.  I love the diversity of wines in South Africa, am particularly fond of Pinot noir produced in our area, but have been following the production of new wave Pinotage in South Africa with great interest.

I am humbled at the ratings Tesselaarsdal Pinot noir 2015 has already received, Master of Wine Greg Sherwood referred to “next SA Pinot noir icon” on social media, Christian Eedes from Wine Magazine scored it 91/100, Jamie Goode reviewed it and scored it 94/100 and Master of Wine Tim Atkins scored 92/100.

Damon Quinlan of SWIG.co.uk referred “The wine is looking beautiful, even in the short time since we first tasted it it’s taken on a bit of weight and shows a lovely balance between power, freshness and spice. it’s a great effort ……”  And honoured to have it listed at some of South Africa’s top restaurants such La Colombe, Greenhouse, Aubergine and Overture.

93/100 – MW Greg Sherwood Tesselaarsdal Pinot noir 2017

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Categories: Chardonnay, Region, Tesselaarsdal WinesTags: , , , , , ,

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