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Domaine des Dieux, Hemel-en-Aarde, South Africa

The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, which translates as Heaven on Earth, rises prettily from just west of Hermanus. For years we have sung the virtues of the Chardonnays from Chamonix and Ataraxia, but as these world-class wines have rightfully become more expensive, we were determined to seek out a classy cool climate, Cape Chardonnay that we could sell more reasonably: so step forward Sharon Parnell of Domaine des Dieux, a small estate just above Ataraxia at the top of the valley in the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge zone. The farm, with vineyards on Babylon’s Toren mountain slopes, was bought in 2002, with an initial focus on making the first sparkling wines in Hemel-en-Aarde, but Chardonnay and Pinot Noir followed.

The multiple accolade winning Chardonnay is stunning, a full-flavoured, perfectly-ready-to-drink, barrel-fermented Chardonnay of concentration and length. We now rightly sell a lot of this - to private customers, Oxford Colleges and top London restaurants. But their Pinot Noir is also getting better and better; and their MCC sparkling wine, Claudia, is also superb: in September 2018 the 2012 vintage won Best Brut and Overall Winner (i.e. the prize for the best Methode Champenoise wine in South Africa) at the 2018 Amorim MCC Challenge.

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