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The wines of Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Walker Bay, South Africa
Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Hermanus, Cape of Good Hope, South Africa Tel: +27(0) 283 23595

I'm increasingly convinced that the wines of this estate are among the best in South Africa. Hamilton Russell Vineyards have been making wines in the cool-climate Walker Bay region of South Africa since the early 1980s, and in that time has carved out a reputation for producing wines that straddle the old and new worlds. Only two varieties are grown: there are 22 Ha of Pinot Noir vines, and 30 Ha of Chardonnay. This contrasts with the usual new world model of growing perhaps 10 different varieties, with no attempt to concentrate on the varieties that best suit the terroir available. In addition, recent vineyard improvement (the old Champagne clones of Pinot Noir have gradually been replaced with better vines) is paying off with an increase in quality of the Pinot Noir. Sister estate Southern Right specializes in Pinotage and Sauvignon Blanc, but these wines were not on show.

Chardonnay 1999
I'm a big fan of the Hamilton Russell Chardonnay. Wonderful toasty nose: complex, nutty and full. Rich and balanced on the palate with a rich, savoury edge. Lovely stuff. Excellent.

Pinot Noir 1999
Light cherry red colour. Sweet cherry nose with some herby complexity. Good balance and complexity on the palate with some spice, fruit and tannin. Nice potential ahead of it. Very good+

see a more recent review of this producer here

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