Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir 2001

By , 7 August 2020

Long-distance runner.

Regarding the ageing potential of modern-era South African red wine, eight to 10 years from vintage seems like a good rule of thumb when it comes to peak drinking and thereafter it all depends on your personal tolerance of developed aromas and flavours.

Of course, there are always pleasant surprises and the Pinot Noir 2001 from Hamilton Russell Vineyards in Hemel-en-Aarde Valley drunk yesterday was astonishingly good. Kevin Grant, now of Ataraxia, was winemaker and Hannes Storm, now of Storm Wines, had started as his assistant on 1 January of that year. The property’s excellent website contends that this was the best Pinot Noir it had produced up until then and describes growing conditions as follows: “2001 was a vintage characterised by a long period of drought,  despite the cool cloudy conditions. This was the principal reason for healthy rot-free fruit at harvest.   A cool vintage with fewer than average sunlight hours meant that the bunches had a long hang time on the vine”.

Maturation lasted nine months in French oak, 52% new and the alcohol is 14.2% so certainly not underdone. The nose currently shows red fruit, musk, mushroom, smoked meat and spice while the palate has good depth, fruit definition still very good although the tannins are now pretty much resolved. Still remarkably intricate and intact. The 2003 edition of Platter’s suggested a drinking window of 2005 to 2012 but this still has a way to go.

CE’s rating: 92/100.

Check out our South African wine ratings database.

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