Last week I was incredibly honoured to receive Anthony and Olive Hamilton-Russell who caught the train down from London to see us especially. We have stocked their wines ever since we opened, and they are out of this world. Sometimes in your quest for new discoveries you can forget about the jewels that you have already discovered. Our tasting reminded me how utterly majestic their wines are.
Founded in 1975 these vineyards are situated in the beautiful, cool, maritime Hemel-en-Aarde Valley appellation, just behind the old fishing village of Hermanus.
The standout wines were:
Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2017
A tight, minerally wine with classic Hamilton Russell Vineyards length and complexity. Unusually prominent pear and lime fruit aromas and flavours are brought beautifully into focus by a tight line of bright natural acid and a long, dry minerality. An elegant, yet textured and intense wine with a strong personality of both place and vintage. At £24 this an absolute bargain and would give many a Meursault a good run for its money.
Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir 2017
Our low-vigour, stony, clay-rich soil, cool maritime microclimate, naturally tiny yields of well under 35 hl/ha and our philosophy of expressing our terroir in our wines – give rise to a certain tightness, tannin line and elevated length to balance the richness and generosity of our Pinot noir. Our Pinot noir is not overtly fruity, soft and "sweet" and it generally shows hints of that alluring savoury "primal" character along with a dark, spicy, complex primary fruit perfume. Very Burgundian and reminds me of Pomard. £35
Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc 2017
Made reductively in order to maximize the fruit personality of the vintage, while maintaining the typical Southern Right balance of Old World minerality and length with hints of New World palate coverage and body. The 2017 is a wine that favours origin expressive individuality, minerality and palate complexity ahead of pure, pungent varietal aroma. A significant percentage of fruit from clay-rich soil has added an intense mid-palate structural component and addition overall complexity to this wine. Exceptional value at £12!
These wines are made in very limited quantities, and invariably sell out.