It appears many things came together for good in the case of the Pinot Noir 2015 from Hemel-en-Aarde Valley producer Hamilton Russell Vineyards. Emul Ross, previously understudy to Gottfried Mocke at Chamonix, was in charge as winemaker for the first time; the property is now operating organically; harvest was early and short, leading to grapes thick skins and unusually low juice content and the fermentation cellar has been upgraded with new open fermenters and a particularly gentle press.
The resulting wine has more depth than its most recent predecessors and this is very much to its credit. The ante has been upped when it comes to ripeness, the wine clocking in at 14.11% alcohol by volume, and whether this simply due to vintage conditions or by specific design of Ross and owner Anthony Hamilton Russell one can only speculate.
On the nose, red and black cherry plus darker notes of earth and spice. The palate is rich and sweet fruited with very good tannin management, the wine possessing a winning smoothness and showing much less of the greenness that was starting to become an unfortunate hallmark of this cuvée. In fact, it’s a pretty delicious drop. Wine Cellar price: R395 a bottle.