Region: Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
Hamilton Russell Vineyards, one of the most southerly wine Estates in Africa and one of the closest to the sea – is located in the beautiful, cool, maritime Hemel-en-Aarde Valley appellation, just behind the old fishing village of Hermanus. The Estate specialises in producing highly individual, terroir driven Pinot noir and Chardonnay, which are widely regarded as the best in South Africa and among the best in the New World.
Founder, Tim Hamilton Russell purchased the undeveloped 170 hectare property in 1975, after an exhaustive search for the most southerly site on which to make South Africa’s top cool climate wines from a selection of noble varieties. His son Anthony Hamilton Russell, who took over in 1991 (finally buying the property in 1994), narrowed the range to Pinot noir and Chardonnay only and registered Hamilton Russell Vineyards as an Estate, committing to work only with grapes from their terroir. Extensive soil research initiated in 1994 identified 52 hectares of stony, clay-rich, shale-derived soil as optimal for the individual, origin expressive style they aim for and all plantings have now been limited to this soil type.
The low-vigour, stony, clay-rich soil, cool maritime mesoclimate, naturally tiny yields of under 30 hl/ha and their philosophy of expressing the terroir in their wines – give rise to a certain tightness, tannin line and elevated length to balance the richness and generosity of this Pinot noir. Not overtly fruity, soft and “sweet”,and it generally shows hints of that alluring “primal” character along with a dark, spicy, complex primary fruit perfume.