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Hamilton Russell Vineyards – one of the most southerly wine Estates in Africa and one of the closest to the sea – pioneered viticulture and winemaking in the beautiful, cool, maritime Hemel-en-Aarde Valley appellation, just behind the old fishing village of Hermanus. The Estate specialises 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. Owner, Anthony Hamilton Russell took...
A tight, minerally wine with classic Hamilton Russell Vineyards 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.
2017 was back to usual after a particularly early 2015 and 2016. As for 2015 and 2016 however, the duration of harvest was short, with all grapes coming in prior to the end of February - having begun the harvest in the first week of February. Based on average maximum temperatures for the crucial months of Dec, Jan, Feb, March, 2017 was a warm harvest -0.53 centigrade above the long-term average of 25 centigrade. December was warmer, January cooler and February warmer than average. Rainfall for these crucial months was only 10mm below long-term average, so conditions could not be described as particularly dry. The rain which fell was in more regular very small amounts however, raising humidity and creating botrytis pressure. The vineyard's organic use of "good" Trichoderma funguses to attack botrytis was fortunately highly effective and there was no detrimental effect on what turned out to be exceptional grape quality. Altogether 2017 was an excellent vintage, with pure, fine, particularly classic, elegant wines with marked minerality.
Aged for 9 Months in 228 liter French Oak Barrels.
- 94+ POINTS -
Chatting to Anthony before tasting the 2018, he warned there might still be a hint of reduction on this young white wine. But to be honest, I found it very fresh, pure and delightfully fragrant, though perhaps aromatically a little more restrained and mineral at the moment, showing more yellow citrus, lemon pastille and wet chalk rather than struck match reduction. There is still a very subtle juvenile lick of salted caramel and vanilla spice from the oak barrel ageing, but on the palate, this is where the real pedigree of this wine is revealed. An ultra tight, pinpoint textural finesse, plenty of core energy and a classically restrained Burgundian dry lemon and limestone finish. Wonderfully intense and focused but simultaneously a suave and supremely balanced Chardonnay from the Walker Bay. Give this wine another 6 months in bottle after release and then indulge at will.See detailed press review