Their low-vigour, stony, clay-rich soil, cool maritime mesoclimate, naturally tiny yields of well under 35 hl/ha and their philosophy of expressing the terroir in the wines – give rise to a certain tightness, tannin line and elevated length to balance the richness and generosity of the Pinot noir. Hamilton Russell Pinot noir is not overtly fruity, soft and “sweet” and it generally shows hints of an alluring savoury “primal” character along with a dark, spicy, complex primary fruit perfume.
One of the most southerly wine Estates in Africa and one of the closest to the sea – Hamilton Russell has pioneered viticulture and winemaking in the beautiful, cool, maritime Hemel-en-Aarde Valley appellation, just behind the old fishing village of Hermanus. The soil is low-vigour, stony, clay-rich and shale-derived. This stellar vintage was later and cooler than usual. Winter was wetter than usual, filling dams and building the water table beautifully. Chill units started accumulating later than usual and a cool Spring and later budding accounted for the later harvest. A warm January was a welcome help towards healthy ripening. Any disease pressure from rain showers during ripening was effectively controlled organically. Yields, as always, were low. The Pinot noir harvest finished 10 days later than 2020. Fruit quality and acidity were exceptional for both. The 2021 wines stand out for their complex, layered elegance, purity and mineral liveliness. This wine has been matured for 10 months and has gone through Malolactic fermentation in 29% 1st fill, 28% 2nd fill, 36% 3rd fill, 7% 4th fill, 288 litre French oak barrels.
Best served at room temperature alongside grilled or roasted meats or other rich dishes.
“Young and perfumed, this has a bright, clean purity about it with a soft, sensual tannin line and great balance between the dark fruit and gentle elegance. Perfect dark cherries, delicately perfumed it dances across the palate, with a touch of sea freshness, nori, and gently maturing. Drink from 2025 onwards and onwards.”
Roger Jones, The-Buyer, 29th March 2022 Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir 2021
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