Hamilton Russell Vineyards - the most southerly wine estate in Africa and the closest to the sea - is located in the cool, maritime Walker Bay wine appellation, in a beautiful valley 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, who took over in 1991, 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.Anthony and winemaker Hannes Storm are completely dedicated to expressing the personality of the Hamilton Russell Vineyards terroir in their wines. Tiny yields and strong worldwide demand keep their elegant, individual, estate grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in very short supply. Low vigor, stony soils that combine with cool breezes from the Atlantic Ocean help to produce naturally low yields over a long growing season. The combination of Hamilton Russell's climatic and geological influences make it possible to create concentrated Pinot Noir and Chardonnay of great individuality and finesse. Gentle handling of the grapes throughout the winemaking process and traditional vinification techniques enable the Hamilton Russell team to aim for expression of origin and individuality. Vineyard Brands Importer
The 2011 Chardonnay sees 8 months in oak, roughly an equal combination of new, second and third fill. It is well defined and understated on the nose, unfurling to reveal fresh lime, red apple and a touch of crisp pear that is very well defined. The palate is effervescent on the entry with a fine thread of acidity that counterbalanced the ripe mango, Clementine and apricot notes that decorate the finish. It has such brightness and clarity on the finish that makes this irresistible. Drink now-2020. Bravo to Hamilton Russell, who have produced an outstanding Pinot Noir in 2010, one of the finest New World expressions of the grape variety that I have encountered. When Hamilton Russell gets it right, they hit bullseye.
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