Price:  £29.95 | Case Rate: £29.00
Ex Tax: £24.96

Hamilton Russell Vineyards - Pinot Noir 2017


  • Country: South Africa
  • Wine Region: Overberg
  • Wine Area: Hemel-en-Aarde
  • Wine Maker: Hannes Storm
  • Grape: Pinot Noir
  • Grape Percentage: 100%
  • Alcohol Percentage: 14.11
  • Unit Quantity (ml): 750
  • Best To Drink: Drink Now - 2020
Duty/Vat Paid
Minimum Qty: (6 btls)
WA: 90 to 92 (2014) VS: 92 (2013) JR: 16.5 (2012) WS: 93 (2015) JS: 93 (2012) WE: 93 (2012) JP: 4.5 Stars (2014) Misc: 91 Stars (2015)

Wine tasting notes

Our low-vigour, stony, clay-rich soil, cool maritime mesoclimate, naturally tiny yields of under 30 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. 2011 is a beautiful, finely-tuned wine with great elegance. It shows tremendous purity and clarity of fruit with excellent balance. It is lower in alcohol than the celebrated 2010 (95 points from Parker) and the fruit profile is more towards red forest fruits than the darker fruits of the 2010. The wine displays the characteristic Hamilton Russell Vineyards savoury hints and minerality, with the fine-grained tannin structure which results from our iron and clay-rich soils. -

Expert Reviews

Wine Advocate/Robert Parker (2014)90 to 92 pts #215 , Oct 2014. Reviewer : Neal Martin - Tasting a barrel sample of the 2014 Pinot Noir, Hannes outlined the challenges of that season. ?The last two weeks of November saw 260mm of rain and then 230mm in January and this dramatically affected the vegetal growth of the plant. Consequently the alcohol is lower at around 13.4 degrees.? It has an open and transparent nose that clearly does not possess the precocity of the 2013: tart red cherries, more sous-bois notes, tertiary instead of fruit-driven. The palate is more promising ? the tannins are quite svelte with lively strawberry and raspberry flavors, with a slight oatmeal note coming in towards the harmonious vintage. Hopefully the aromatics will gain more vigor by the time of bottling.

Vinous/Antonio Galloni (2013)92 pts

June 2015 - Bright red. High-toned aromas of red berries and spices, plus a touch of mint. Pliant but youthfully tight, with strawberry and raspberry flavors dominating. A touch of warmth conveys sweetness without coming off as alcoholic. Sexy earth tones give this wine unusual complexity for a Pinot Noir that's not from Burgundy. (2012)16.5 pts

Tasted June '14 - Pale ruby. Funky, really rather convincing nose. Fresh and dry. Pretty with some strong red fruit aromas and no obvious oak. Appetising and pure. With just a the merest hint of cough sweets. Really quite burgundian. Pretty impressive!

Wine Spectator (2015)93 pts

Gorgeous, with a silky, persistent and racy structure guiding alluring rooibos tea, blood orange, damson plum and singed wood spice notes along. Drink now through 2020.—J.M.

James Suckling (2012)93 pts

This is so juicy and savory with dried-strawberry, cedar and light dried-meat character. Full body, pretty acidity and a delicious finish. The real deal. The master of South Africa does it as usual.

Wine Enthusiast (2012)93 pts

This opens with attractive earthy aromas of forest floor, cola, vanilla bean and toasted spice, grounded in a core of red currant, cherry and raspberry fruit. The medium-weight mouthfeel is lush and seductive, with fine yet structured tannins that result in a satiny texture. Pure fruit flavors dominate the palate, but the finish is layered with notes of white… — L.B. (3/1/2015)

John Platter (2014)4.5 stars

More interesting, typical pinot features on 2014: black cherries, hint undergrowth & spice but none of the mint on 2013 . Quite luscious, richly silky but well-contained by fresh thread acid, fine bracing tannins.

Miscellaneous (2015)91 stars - "It appears many things came together for good in the case of the Pinot Noir 2015 from Hemel-en-Aarde Valley producer Hamilton Russell Vineyards. Emul Ross, previously understudy to Gottfried Mocke at Chamonix, was in charge as winemaker for the first time; the property is now operating organically; harvest was early and short, leading to grapes thick skins and unusually low juice content and the fermentation cellar has been upgraded with new open fermenters and a particularly gentle press. The resulting wine has more depth than its most recent predecessors and this is very much to its credit. The ante has been upped when it comes to ripeness, the wine clocking in at 14.11% alcohol by volume, and whether this simply due to vintage conditions or by specific design of Ross and owner Anthony Hamilton Russell one can only speculate. On the nose, red and black cherry plus darker notes of earth and spice. The palate is rich and sweet fruited with very good tannin management, the wine possessing a winning smoothness and showing much less of the greenness that was starting to become an unfortunate hallmark of this cuvée. In fact, it’s a pretty delicious drop. "

Vinification Notes

2015 was an extraordinary vintage - unlike anything we have experienced before. It started a full 2 weeks early and finished over a period of 4 weeks (on February 20th) instead of our customary 7 weeks. The grapes were extremely healthy with thick skins and an unusually low juice content and the resulting wines are fuller and more sumptuous and concentrated than the 2013's and 2014's. Full ripeness was achieved surprisingly quickly and this happened despite the average maximum temperatures for the crucial months of Dec, Jan, Feb and Mar being lower at 24.95 Centigrade than our long term average of 25 Centigrade. This makes 2015 cooler than the celebrated 2013, 2012 and 2009. Another previously unexperienced feature of 2015 was the very high yeast conversion rates of grape sugars to alcohol. This was an industry wide feature and 2015's, to be phenolically ripe, needed higher alcohol levels. A much drier and slightly warmer Spring than usual, in part accounts for the early harvest, combined with a drier and slightly warmer than average January. The harvest period had just over half of the average rainfall for the period. Greater sunlight intensity in the build-up to harvest also sped things up. 2015 was the first organic harvest (with some biodynamic features) for us and we have been thrilled with the results in our wines. We simply feel much better about what we do and we have been brought even closer to our all important vineyards. A logistically challenging but excellent vintage.