Hamilton Russell Wines specialises in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, while their neighbouring farm Ashbourne, also belonging to Anthony Hamilton Russell, diversifies with reds: Pinotage, Cinsaut, Grenache and whites: Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.
The winemaker at Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Emul Ross, hosted a special tasting in the barrel maturation cellar.
We were welcomed with a tasting of the Ashborne red 2017. The blend varies from tear to year. The ’17 being a 80:20 blend of Pinotage and Cinsaut. It is unoaked and no malolactic fermentation, giving it a fresh red berry and gamey nose and palate. Light and delicious.
The Ashbourne Pinotage was one of the most delicious that we’ve tasted. It had excellent fruit and had no ‘baddies’ that make give the old style Pinotages a bad reputation.
Then onto the Pinot Noir: The 2015 showed beautiful black cherries and spice but the grippy tannins indicate that the wine needs time in the bottle. The 2016 was remarkably more accessible but also needs maturation time. Both are delicious wines of superb quality.
The chardonnays were stunning. The 2015 Chardonnay was one of my best wines tasted over the week-end. It had flavours of delicate pear, lime marmalade elegantly balanced with gentle oak. The finish was long and full. The 2016 was less intense than the 2015, but also a stunning wine.
We were introduced to a remarkable lady, Berene Sauls who started in the office as an admin assistant and now makes her own wine in the Hamilton Russell cellar under the Tesselarsdal label. Both the 2015 and 16 Pinot Noirs are outstanding. A delicious hint of spice and gamey flavours are perfectly balanced with cherries. Tannins are gentle making the wine very accessible.
Look out for this fine wine!
We also taste honey and olive oil, both of which are harvested on the Hamilton Russell farms.