Ashbourne new releases

By , 19 August 2022



Ashbourne was founded in 1996 by Anthony Hamilton Russell, the 64-hectare property located on the eastern border of Hamilton Russell Vineyards in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. The property is named after Anthony’s great, great grandfather who was Lord Chancellor of Ireland in the late 1800s. Tasting notes and ratings for the new releases as follows:

Ashbourne Sandstone 2022
Price: R325
51% Sauvignon Blanc, 25% Semillon and 24% Chardonnay. Fermented and matured for five months in a combination of terracotta amphorae, concrete and ceramic eggs as well as neutral oak. The nose is fragrant but extremely primary at this stage with notes of citrus blossom, fresh herbs, lime and lemon while the palate is light and clean (alcohol is 13.3%) with bracing acidity and a dry finish. Seems rather too unresolved to be on the market already.

CE’s rating: 89/100.

Ashbourne Pinotage 2020
Price: R850
Matured for 10 months in 400-litre barrels of which 40% new before a further 10 months in 2 000-litre foudre. Red and black cherry, fynbos, earth and some reduction on the nose while the palate has a good core of fruit, bright acidity and firm tannins, the finish very dry. Alcohol is just 12.9% and this vintage has a particular austerity about it.

Price: 92/100.

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3 comment(s)

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    David Clarke | 19 August 2022

    A clarification please, Christian.

    Regarding the “too unresolved to be on the market” – are you marking the wine down because it is too young ? Or are you saying it won’t resolve? Or something else I am missing here?

      Christian Eedes | 19 August 2022

      Hi David, I find the 2022 very difficult to read. Relative to previous vintages (which admittedly have also been tended to come to market early), it’s seems slight and frankly short of weight and texture. Will it become less tense/provide more pleasure with time in bottle? It might very well but it’s being offered for sale right now so I’m compelled to call it like I see it. I always contend that releases that are excessively delayed deprive consumers of seeing all stages of a wine’s development but the premature release of a premium wine is not particularly helpful, either.

        Emul Ross | 22 August 2022

        Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the wine, Christian.
        The wine has indeed been released very young. We have been fortunate to see huge interest in the wine, both locally and internationally and the previous vintages sold out much sooner than anticipated. We do have listings and markets that we need to honor and keeping the wine in the cellar for much longer would damage many of these markets. Many consumers even prefer the wine as it is now. We have been able to successfully grow the production and we believe that this will allow for a slightly later release of future vintages.

        The wine style that we get from these sandstone sites has always been one that is very tense, dry and saline. I do also currently get the primary aromatics that you mention, but I’m confident that the wine will further resolve and be up there with previous vintages.
        It was great to see that many people at a recent trade show loved the wine and specifically commented (positively) on the texture and salinity of it.

        I’m excited to learn more about these sites and look forward to including some Sauvignon Gris into the blend in a few years time, if our plantings go as planned!

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