Hamilton Russell Vineyards new releases

By , 6 April 2022

Emul Ross, winemaker at Hamilton Russell Vineyards in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, describes 2021 simply as a “great vintage”. How so? It was later and cooler than usual – the average of the maximum temperatures for the four crucial months in the lead-up harvest, namely December, January, February and March, came in at 24.3 Centigrade, slightly lower than the long-term average of the equivalent period in Burgundy while only 2001, 2004 and 2008 have been cooler in the last 25 years.

Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2021
Price: R625

Matured for nine months in a combination of 228- and 300-litre barrels, of which 26% were new, plus a small portion in foudre. The nose shows blossom, intense citrus, subtle oak and a little smoky reduction while the palate has good fruit purity and bright acidity, appearing succulent and sappy, before a pithy finish. Precisely made, this comes across as classy and understated. Total production: 44 400 bottles.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir 2021
Price: R650
Matured for 10 months in 228-litre barrels, 29% new. The aromatics are most appealing if still very primary with notes of rose, musk, red currant, cherry and perhaps some beetroot. The palate impresses with its intricacy – lovely clean fruit to go with a detailed latticework of fine tannins, a nicely dry quality to the finish. Light but retaining vinosity even so, this is indeed a vintage of real finesse. Total production: 34 800 bottles.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

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