Tesselaarsdal - Pinot Noir 2017 (750ml)
Probably the best Tesselaarsdal to date, the 2017 has greater depth, structure and plushness of palate than 2016 (and even 2015) without sacrificing the clean, lifted blue fruit that is a characteristic of the best Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge Pinot noir. This is a wine with the tight minerality of the old-world and the pure sumptuous fruit of the new-world.
Berene Sauls has exceeded all expectations with Tesselaarsdal. In more than one respect, Tesselaarsdaal is a breakthrough. Formerly employed by Hamilton Russell Estates and mentored by Anthony Hamilton Russell, not only is the first wine project for Berene, but importantly it is the first wine project wholly-owned by a member of a “previously disadvantaged community” in the Hemel-en-Aarde area and, indeed, the Overstrand. The wine is named after the historic rural hamlet Tesselaarsdal, not far from Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, where Berene was born. It was at Tesselaarsdal where Berene’s ancestors once lived as freed slaves on land bequeathed to them in 1810 by former East India Company Settler, Johannes Tesselaar. The naming of her first wine appropriately honors her roots. Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir and Chardonnay continue the legacy of the Sauls and the Tesselaarsdal farm.
Vinous: 91 Points
The 2017 Pinot Noir from Tesselaarsdal (one of my discoveries in 2017) has an attractive bouquet of crushed strawberry and red currant aromas and a touch of undergrowth in the background. The palate is well balanced with lovely, slightly plump red fruit, but there is energy and tension throughout. This is a beautifully proportioned Pinot Noir that stays true to the grape variety. Superb.
-- Neal Martin
Wine Spectator: 91 Points
Alluring cherry and blood orange fruit flavors glide through, lined with light mineral, rooibos tea and wood spice accents. Light-bodied, but balanced and refined through the lacy finish. Drink now through 2023. 100 cases imported. — JM
James Suckling: 90 Points
Red cherries, citrus, orange peel, lime soda, smoke and some tar, as well as cedary elements below. Medium body, lots of tangy acidity and a taut finish. Drink or hold.