Latest vintage available online via Port2Port.
Low-vigour, stony, clay-rich, shale-derived soil
100% 228 litre French Oak Barrels
French Coopers: Francois Freres
2.87 tons/ha, 18.76 hl/ha
Release date – February 2017
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.
91 Points - Wine Advocate
93 Points - Steve Tanzer
95 Points - Tim Atkin
93 Points - James Suckling
93 Points - Christian Eedes
93 Steve Tanzer
“This has the soil complexity and light touch of a top Burgundy. Boasts rare energy and subtle grip for South African Pinot noir.”
93 Christian Eedes, Wine Magazine
“Whatever the strengths or weaknesses of the 2015, Hamilton Russell is particularly enthusiastic about the just-released 2016 (Wine Cellar price: R440 a bottle) and I have to concur that it does seem to have greater firmness about it without becoming severe. The nose shows darker fruit, musk, herbs and attractive oak. Pure fruit and freshness but also nice tannic structure that suggests a long future.”