Latest vintage available online via Port2Port.
Low-vigour, stony, clay-rich, shale-derived soil
100% 228 litre French Oak Barrels
French Coopers: Francois Freres
2.04 tons/ha, 14.67 hl/ha
Release date – February 2019
After the early and short 2015 and 2016 harvests, 2018, like 2017 was back to our usual timing, beginning at the end of the first week of February, but (a longer harvest) finishing at the end of the first week of March. Budding was even and successful, with higher than usual early Spring temperatures, but an unusually wet November and a cool December affected flowering and fruit-set, resulting in particularly low yields – far lower than our already low yields. The berries were smaller and the bunches were lighter, but the resulting wines were deeper, fuller and more structured. December and January were drier than average, making for relatively easy and successful disease control organically, with February only very slightly wetter than our long term average. A warmer than average February, combined with the very low yields and small berries did however contribute to the riper more opulent style of 2018 compared to 2017. One of the features of 2018 was fairly variable ripening within individual vineyards, and within individual bunches. Picking on taste, combined with analysis, and picking particular areas within individual vineyards at different times, was particularly important in 2018. This required a high level of vigilance and very close teamwork between cellar and vineyard, both of which were carried out with great success. 2018 was an excellent vintage for us.
95 Points - Decanter
95 Points - Greg Sherwood MW
93 Points - Dr Owen Bargreen, International Wine Report
93 Points - Tim Atkin
93 Points - Christopher Waters, The Globe and Mail
93 Points - Tim Appelt, Wine Discovery, LCBO Buying Guide
95 Andrew Howard MW, Decanter
A fine, structured, monumental Pinot with great tannins on the palate. Typical Pinot Noir characters of truffle and 'sous bois' compliment the warm, spicy notes from nine months maturation in Francois Frère oak barrels. Very much a baby at the moment, this has potential to be one of the finest expressions yet of Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir.
95 Greg Sherwood, MW
Every new release reveals a vintage of Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir that is again purer, finer and more distinguished than the previous vintage. The 2018 is no exception showing a broody dark fruited nose with lashings of black cherry, black currant and salted black plums. At this young stage, the oak is incredibly well integrated allowing both the purity of black berry fruit and the limestone minerality to really shine through. On the palate, alluring hints of blueberry and mulberry dance a tightly choreographed routine supported by a well drilled accompaniment of mineral tannins finishing with a long, sappy, black bramble berry finish. This must surely rank as one of the finest young Pinot Noirs produced at the winery to date.
93 Christopher Waters, The Globe and Mail
Eleven splurge-worthy wines perfect for the holidays -
It's a terrific, age-worthy pinot noir that stands out with this collection of 11 splurge-worthy wines that truly deliver. If you have a special occasion coming up, are looking to wow an audience or simply want to take advantage of the ready supply of big-ticket bottles available leading up to the festive season, these are worthy of the investment.
93 Tim Appelt, Wine Discovery, LCBO Buying Guide
This is a benchmark Pinot Noir for South Africa, and a very compelling new world-old world amalgam that holds its own relative to anywhere. Such a lovely Pinot nose — anticipated by the perfect mid-depth garnet red colour in the glass — showing bright sour cherry and raspberry fruit aromas, a glimmer of violets, a hint of underbrush, and then circling back again to further layers of delicate fruit. The wine is crisp, clean and pure, the tannins are fine with a little grip, the fruit is lively and fresh, with a subtle Pinot depth. The best that I've tasted from Hamilton Russell to date, such purity of fruit and such a finely balanced but firm structure.
Welcome to a noirmance. The warm day/cool night, diurnal temperature fix is in, locking in freshness and sweet tension like no recent memory can recall. Makes for a most grippy yet excitable pinot noir of concentration, presence and promise. Benchmark in every respect.
A classy, luminous, refined, elegant pinot, from one of the top producers of the variety in South Africa.
The Hemel en Aarde Valley, Walker Bay, is a blessed spot as its name – Heaven and Earth Valley – suggests. The fishing village of Hermanus is where folk flock to eat the freshest fish on the water’s edge at Bientang’s Cave and to watch the southern right whales frolic.
They come, too, to sample the extraordinary wines from Bouchard Finlayson, say, Ataraxia, Newton Johnson, Creation and La Vierge. There are none finer, though, than those of Hamilton Russell, whose sublime Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs are as sophisticated, elegant and stylish as proprietor Anthony Hamilton Russell himself. You could travel the world and not find better.