Following the uncomfortably speedy sell-out of our 2013, we made the decision to release our 2014 shortly after bottling to ensure continuity of availability.
Our 2013 Pinot noir is a hard wine to follow. It really was a beautiful vintage and received the highest score for a South African Pinot noir from Neil Martin for Robert Parker 94/100. He wrote of the wine: “Dare I say, you might think that you were drinking say a Vosne-Romanee Beaux Monts, if it were not for the opulence on the nose. Superb.”
But our 2014 has its own strong merits and it tells a beautiful story of the same site at another point in time – another vintage.The 2014 has a bright, almost crystalline, purity and tightness with a lovely perfume. Lifted and voluptuous as for the 2013, but more on the wild red fruit than wild dark fruit side – and with the fine-grained, classic tannin structure of Burgundy (a characteristic of Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot noir), present but not as bold as for 2013 . As Roland Peens of Wine Cellar wrote: “There is unlikely a wine in South Africa that closely expresses the vintage as much as Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir.” For lovers of fine Burgundy, who may want the appropriate analogy for our 2014, at this stage the wine seems more Cote de Beaune than Cote de Nuits – around Pommard.
2014 was a really interesting vintage – not without its challenges, but with something unusual that created the opportunity to make exceptional wine. Full ripeness occurred at lower sugar levels than for any other vintage we have experienced. This is an unusually “European” situation for South Africa. It is interesting to note that the average of the maximum temperatures for our 4 hottest months of the year – the most crucial for grape character – Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar, was 24.8 degrees centigrade for 2014. Burgundy’s long-term average for the same equivalent period in the Northern hemisphere – Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, is 24.7 degrees centigrade.
Yields were extremely low at 17.95 hl/ha or 2.68 tons/ha and the wine’s analysis is almost exactly where we would want it. Alcohol 13.51%, Acid 6.1, pH 3.36 (very low and healthy for a red wine).
We hope you enjoy our 2014 and we look forward to the possibility of seeing you on Hamilton Russell Vineyards in 2015.
All the best and we greatly appreciate your ongoing support!
Anthony Hamilton Russell
HAMILTON RUSSELL VINEYARDS
P O Box 158
Ph: +27 28 312 3595
Fx: +27 28 312 1797