Only Anthony Hamilton Russell of Hamilton Russell Vineyards would be mildly dismissive of his own wine rating 5 Stars in Platter’s but that’s precisely the impression he gave when discussing the 2015 at the recent Hemel-en-Aarede Winegrowers Pinot Celebration, his comment being that it was particularly “commercial” on account of how generous the fruit appears on this particular vintage.
My feeling is that it’s definitely a step up in quality compared to its immediate predecessors. Matured for 10 months in French oak, 42% new, the nose shows red fruit, roses, smoked meat and spice. The palate meanwhile shows good flavour intensity with fresh acidity and fine tannins – a real litheness about it.
Whatever the strengths or weaknesses of the 2015, Hamilton Russell is particularly enthusiastic about the just-released 2016 (Wine Cellar price: R440 a bottle) and I have to concur that it does seem to have greater firmness about it without becoming severe. The nose shows darker fruit, musk, herbs and attractive oak. Pure fruit and freshness but also nice tannic structure that suggests a long future.
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