Hamilton Russell is one of the most southerly wine Estates in Africa. This Pinot Noir and Chardonnay specialist pioneered viticulture in the beautiful, cool, maritime, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley appellation.
The Estate specializes in producing highly individual, terroir driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which are widely regarded as the best in South Africa and among the finest in the New World.
Anthony Hamilton Russell took over the estate in 1991 from his father. Inspired by the wines of Burgundy, he decided then to grow only Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Then in 1994 extensive soil research was initiated and identified 52 hectares of stony, clay-rich, shale-soil. Optimal for the individual, origin expressive style they aim for.
Below sums up the 2020 vintage:
The vintage was cooler than 2019 and equal to the celebrated 2009 and 2015 vintages. A standout feature of the 2020 vintage was phenolic ripeness at lower alcohol than usual, combined with low sugar to alcohol conversions for the fermentations. A highly positive situation. The wines have a marked elegance, mineral purity and saline quality. A very exciting outcome despite weather challenges.
A tight, mineral wine with classic length and complexity. Unusually prominent pear and lime fruit aromas and flavours are brought beautifully into focus by a tight line of bright natural acid and a long, dry minerality. An elegant, yet textured and intense wine with a strong personality of both place and vintage.
This has a vibrant nose of jasmine, grapefruit zest, sliced pear, buttered toast and smoked almonds. It’s medium-to full-bodied with bright acidity. Bright, zesty and spicy. Pretty almond notes on the finish.
92 points James Suckling
51.99/btl – case of 6
2020 Pinot Noir
The stony, clay-rich soil and cool maritime climate produces naturally tiny yields which give rise to a certain tightness, tannin line and elevated length to balance the richness and generosity of the wine. This Pinot Noir is not overtly fruity, soft and “sweet” and it generally shows hints of that alluring savoury “primal” character along with a dark, spicy, complex primary fruit perfume.
Bouncing back from the fires in 2019 – and then some – this is the best young Pinot Noir release I’ve tasted from Hamilton Russell. Representing a subtle shift in style towards greater perfume and fruit, this is a detailed, finely judged blend of clones 113, 115 and 667, with svelte tannins, tidy acidity, rose petal top notes and skilfully integrated oak.
96 points Tim Atkin
57.99/btl – case of 6