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Hamilton Russell Vineyards

Hamilton Russell are located near the old fishing village of Hermanus, in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. They are one of the most southerly wine estates in South Africa, and also one of the closest to the sea. Timothy Hamilton Russell was looking for the most southerly cool climate site he could find to plant vines, and in 1975 after an extensive search, found what he was looking for in this 170 hectare undeveloped property. He wanted to make top cool climate wines from noble grape varieties, and he was the first to plant Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the region; both quite rare in South Africa at the time. Timothy's son Antony took over in 1991 and pared the range down to just two grape varieties, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and registered Hamilton Russel as an estate. They only produce wines from their own vineyards. The vines for the Hamilton Russell range are exclusively planted on 52 hectares of
clay-rich, shale-derived soils, identified in 1994 following considerable research; this was the optimum terroir for the origin expressive style of Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs Hamilton Russell aim for. There are 20 parcels which are all vinified separately, giving a Burgundian subtlety to the finished wines. Tiny yields and global demand mean that these highly individual terroir-driven wines are in short supply. Additionally Hamilton Russell have two associated properties. The Southern Right brand specialise in Pinotage and Sauvignon Blanc, named after the Southern Right Whales which visit Walker Bay, just 3 kilometres from the vineyards. Ashbourne, planted on the eastern border of the Hamilton Russel vineyards is named after Antony's great great grandfather Lord Ashbourne, who was Lord Chancellor of Ireland in the late 1800's. Here Pinotage is also produced, but in a classically crafted and age worthy style, and an intriguing Chardonnay, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc blend called Sandstone, which is fermented and aged in ceramic eggs and amphorae. The whole range is stunning!