Latest vintage available online via Port2Port.
Low-vigour, stony, clay-rich, shale-derived soil
90% 228 liter French Oak Barrels
9 Months in 228 liter French Oak Barrels
Medium Long Toast:
100% Francois Freres
3.92 tons/ha, 26.68 hl/ha
Release date – December 2016
2016 was another unusually early and short harvest – almost exactly the same timing as 2015. But as is wonderfully the case with nature, the character of the 2016’s is surprisingly different to the 2015’s. For the winelands in general, the story was of excessive heat and extreme dryness. But this was not the case for our appellation, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Close proximity to the cool South Atlantic kept the maximum temperatures in line and we also benefitted from timely rain from the southeast, which seldom reaches the warmer inland areas. January was quite a bit warmer than our long-term average (the same as for 1998 and 2011) but it was not drier than average. And the crucial month of February was wetter than average without being warmer – as was March. Our main dam was almost full at the end of harvest. A relatively warm December, followed by a hot January was probably the main factor in making 2016 an early year. High humidity did create some anxiety – less over downy mildew – more over oidium – so it will be remembered as a more challenging year than 2015, but the resulting wines for the classicists and purists will perhaps be seen as more typical of our style.
93 Points - Wine Advocate
95 Points - Tim Atkin
95 Points - Decanter
93 Points - James Suckling
93+ Points - Steve Tanzer
95 Points - Michael Fridjhon
92 Points - Tim Appelt, WineDiscovery
Listed as one of Neil Pendock’s Top 10 wines for 2018
95 Andrew Howard MW, Decanter
2016 was a very dry year with extremely low-yields. A very restrained, fine, focussed and precise Hamilton Russell Chardonnay. This still needs a little longer to be at its peak but there is no doubting the class here. More Puligny-like, this is sappy, savoury and fresh with beautifully integrated oak. Great ageing potential here. Finishes with a chalky mineral dryness, and an intriguing lick of spice.
93+ Steve Tanzer
“This wonderfully elegant, taut, seamless wine needs time to blossom and put on weight. Classically tight and austere for this bottling.”
David Lawrason's Wine Pick
"My only one pick this release is the Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2016. From the leading producer of fine Chardonnay in the coastal Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, this collector's item packs great structure, balance and complexity. It ages incredibly wel, as witnessed at a vertical tasting at the winery in 2016."