Newton Johnson’s Dance with Pinot Noir
For Pinot Noir enthusiasts, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley near Hermanus is like the Garden of Eden with more award-winning Pinots made here than any other place in South Africa. This is a true feat considering Pinot, known to some as the “heartbreak grape,” is the most difficult variety of grape, presenting challenges both in the vineyard and in the cellar. The climate of the valley plays an obvious role in the success its wine estates but I wondered if there wasn’t something more to the story so I spent an afternoon chatting with two of the Valley’s most renowned winemakers, Gordon and Nadia Newton Johnson.
From the start of our chat it became evident that Pinot Noir has captured not only their attention, but also their hearts. The couple spoke passionately, describing it as finicky yet elegant, beautiful, soft and expressive of the terroir where it is grown.
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