Hamilton Russell Vineyards<br />2019 Pinot Noir<br>South Africa

Hamilton Russell Vineyards
2019 Pinot Noir
South Africa

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TYPE Dry - Red
REGION Walker Bay | South Africa
GRAPES Pinot Noir
APPELLATION Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
95 points, Tim Atkin MW |
91 points, Vinous |
90 points, Wine Advocate |
About the Wine
Critic Reviews
95 points, Tim Atkin MW
“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. 2021-29.”

91 points, Vinous
“The 2019 Pinot Noir is Walker Bay in terms of Wine of Origin rather than Hemel-en-Aarde, since much of their Pinot Noir was rejected after wildfires tainted the fruit. The majority of fruit was sourced from benevolent growers in the valley, and completely destemmed but not crushed, then matured in 24% new French oak. This has an open, quite herbal bouquet of vibrant red and black fruit, underlying sous-bois notes coming through with aeration. The well-balanced palate offers fine-grained tannins and a fine bead of acidity. Open and expressive, with a pinch of black pepper on the cohesive finish. Given the trauma suffered this vintage, this should be considered a success, not least because it still seems to bear the imprimatur of Hamilton Russell.”

90 points, Wine Advocate
“Before I begin my tasting note, I’d like to quickly focus on what Hamilton Russell has written on the back of their 2019 Pinot Noir label. While wildfires are not an uncommon occurrence for South Africa, it is refreshing to see such high integrity and transparency as Hamilton Russell has displayed in a challenging situation. Bottled as Walker Bay wine of origin, they had to reject almost all of their Pinot Noir vineyard fruit due to a wildfire. The estate stands to gain more trust and brand loyalty from their followers from the decision to be completely open and transparent about what happened to them and their Pinot Noir in 2019. I wish more of the world were as honest and transparent as Hamilton Russell has demonstrated to every consumer of this vintage. I don’t know everything there is to know about building brand loyalty, but I am confident that the first chapter of that playbook begins with what Hamilton Russell has written on the back of this particular bottling. Hamilton Russell: Good game—well played! Now, where was I... Displaying a classic ruby center, the 2019 Pinot Noir opens with soft expressions of red cherry skin, potpourri and wild strawberry, with a subtle undertone of French baking spices and a slight stemminess. Medium-bodied and with 13.5% alcohol, the wine offers subtle flavors of wild brush, red plum skin and spiced red tea, with a balanced frame and succulent acidity across the mid-palate. Ending with a slightly spicy and tannic finish, the wine remains a delightful expression of Pinot Noir but will be the outlier in a vertical tasting.”

About The Winery
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. His son, Anthony Hamilton Russell, who took over in 1991 (finally buying the property in 1994), narrowed the range to only Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and registered Hamilton Russell Vineyards as an Estate, committing to work only with grapes from their terroir. Today, Anthony and his wife Olive, winemaker Emul Ross, and viticulturist Johan Montgomery are completely dedicated to expressing the personality of the Hamilton Russell Vineyards terroir in their wines. Tiny yields and intense worldwide demand keep the elegant, highly individual, estate-grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in very short supply.