Sunday, January 19, 2014

2012 Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay (Hemel en Aarde, South Africa)

Hamilton Russell have long been on my list of must try wines, and I was lucky enough to find a bottle of this a few weeks back.

Tim Hamilton Russell was one of the pioneers of fine wine in South Africa. He set up his vineyard in 1979, after a detailed search to find the ideal cool climate spot to grow chardonnay and pinot noir. From the winery itself -

“Hamilton Russell Vineyards, one of the most southerly wine Estates in Africa and one of the closest to the sea - is located in the beautiful, cool, maritime Hemel-en-Aarde Valley appellation, just behind the old fishing village of Hermanus.”

Since that time Hamilton Russell has built a reputation as one of South Africa’s finest estates. Tim Hamilton Russell passed away last year aged 79, and undoubtedly leaves behind an amazing legacy.

To the wine at hand. The is real Chardonnay. Juxtaposition and joy. To drink it delivers richness and complexity, and yet it remains at all times tight and linear. The palate weight is just so, with a generosity that retains a lightness of feel. Limes and stonefruit. Quality oak input that’s just a bit unresolved at present, and yes there’s an undoubted minerality that emerges through the mid to back palate. It needs a bit of time in the cellar to show it’s best and there’s a big emphasis on the plus sign with the score. Given both the reputation of this wine and factoring in all the silly import costs for overseas wines into Australia, this is something of a bargain at the $40-$50 it retails for. The only issue is they’ve stuck a cork in it, but it’s worth exploring regardless.


RRP: $40-$50 approx.
ABV: 13.0%
Closure: Cork
Drink: 2015-2020+


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