2019 Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir
2019 Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir, from Walker Bay, South Africa
Winemaker Notes; This Pinot noir is 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.
TATim Atkin; Made with 84% purchased fruit because of the fire in Hamilton Russell’s own vineyards, this is a cuvée of the three Hemel-en-Aarde Valley sub-regions, and all the better for it. A one-off it may be, but it’s less earthy and backward than the estate’s normal style, combining fragrance elegance with racy red berry fruit, some clove spice, supporting tannins and stylish oak.
Thin-skinned, finicky and temperamental, Pinot Noir is also one of the most rewarding grapes to grow and remains a labor of love for some of the greatest vignerons in Burgundy. Fairly adaptable but highly reflective of the environment in which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate and requires low yields to achieve high quality. Outside of France, outstanding examples come from in Oregon, California and throughout specific locations in wine-producing world. Somm Secret—André Tchelistcheff, California’s most influential post-Prohibition winemaker decidedly stayed away from the grape, claiming “God made Cabernet. The Devil made Pinot Noir.”
A relatively cool, maritime climate area, Walker Bay includes three important wards: Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge. These sites benefit from the cooling ocean winds and are reputed for the production of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinotage.
Hamilton Russell Vineyards – one of the most southerly wine Estates in Africa and one of the closest to the sea – pioneered viticulture and winemaking in the beautiful, cool, maritime Hemel-en-Aarde Valley appellation, just behind the old fishing village of Hermanus. Tim Hamilton Russell purchased the undeveloped 425-acre 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.