Latest vintage available online via Port2Port.
Low-vigour, stony, clay-rich, shale-derived soil
Medium Light Toast:
French Coopers: Francois Freres
22.9 hl/ha, 3.47 tons/ha
Release date – December 2015
2015 was an extraordinary vintage – unlike anything we have experienced before. It started a full 2 weeks early and finished over a period of 4 weeks (on February 20th) instead of our customary 7 weeks. The grapes were extremely healthy with thick skins and an unusually low juice content and the resulting wines are fuller and more sumptuous and concentrated than the 2013’s and 2014’s. Full ripeness was achieved surprisingly quickly and this happened despite the average maximum temperatures for the crucial months of Dec, Jan, Feb and Mar being lower at 24.95 Centigrade than our long term average of 25 Centigrade. This makes 2015 cooler than the celebrated 2013, 2012 and 2009. Another previously unexperienced feature of 2015 was the very high yeast conversion rates of grape sugars to alcohol. This was an industry wide feature and 2015’s, to be phenolically ripe, needed higher alcohol levels. A much drier and slightly warmer Spring than usual, in part accounts for the early harvest, combined with a drier and slightly warmer than average January. The harvest period had just over half of the average rainfall for the period. Greater sunlight intensity in the build-up to harvest also sped things up. 2015 was the first organic harvest (with some biodynamic features) for us and we have been thrilled with the results in our wines. We simply feel much better about what we do and we have been brought even closer to our all important vineyards. A logistically challenging but excellent vintage.
94 Points - Wine Spectator
94 Points - Decanter
93 Points - Steve Tanzer
95 Points - Tim Atkin
Number 11 in the Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of the Year
94 James Molesworth, Wine Spectator
"Rippling with tension, featuring Jonagold apple, white peach, mirabelle plum and honeysuckle notes coiled at the core. Citrus oil – and mineral-edged finish.”
94 Andrew Howard MW, Decanter
A sumptuous vintage, this powerful Chardonnay is luscious and shows hints of tropical fruit, as expected from a warmer year. Golden colour in the glass, oak is still evident and there is plenty of richness, ripeness and heft here. 2015 was a record early harvest, with grapes achieving full phenolic ripeness at higher potential alcohol levels. A powerful Hamilton Russell Chardonnay, somewhat reminiscent of Meursault in a warmer year.
Mike Froud, Top Wine SA
“One of South Africa’s Top 20 Wineries 2016 - Best Track Record 2006 - 2015”
93 Steve Tanzer
"Plush, silky and bone-dry, with broad, mouthfilling flavors of lemon and savory minerality”
95 Tim Atkin, South Africa 2016 Special Report
"Why change a winning formula? Emul Ross’s first vintage at Hamilton Russell Vineayrds continues the stellar work of his predecessors with Chardonnay. Leesy, spicy, yet focused, this is a beautifully balanced organic wine with mealy undertones and layer upon layer of complexity. The oak is appealingly understated.”
5 stars Platter’s 2017 South African Wine Guide
"Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2015 was placed at number 11 on the prestigious Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of the Year list for 2016. Only 1 other Chardonnay was placed higher and Hamilton Russell Vineyards was the only South African wine on this year’s list.”