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.

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Latest vintage available online via Port2Port.

  • Soil Low-vigour, stony, clay-rich, shale-derived soil


  • Alcohol 13.2%
  • Acid 6.4 g/l
  • pH 3.3
  • Residual Sugar 1.89 g/l


  • 90% Barrel Fermentation
  • 4% Foudre
  • 5% Stainless Steel
  • 1% Ceramic Egg
  • Barrel Ageing 9 months


  • 35% 1st fill
  • 35% 2nd fill
  • 30% 3rd fill


  • 48% Blonde Toast
  • 38% Medium Toast
  • 14% Medium Long Toast


  • French Coopers:  Francois Freres 100%


  • Yield 26.68 hl/ha, 3.92 tons/ha   Production 5261 cases


  • Release date – December 2016
Growing Season

2016 was another unusually early and short harvest – almost exactly the same timing as 2015. But as is wonderfully the case with nature, the character of the 2016’s is surprisingly different to the 2015’s. For the winelands in general, the story was of excessive heat and extreme dryness. But this was not the case for our appellation, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Close proximity to the cool South Atlantic kept the maximum temperatures in line and we also benefitted from timely rain from the southeast, which seldom reaches the warmer inland areas. January was quite a bit warmer than our long-term average (the same as for 1998 and 2011) but it was not drier than average. And the crucial month of February was wetter than average without being warmer – as was March. Our main dam was almost full at the end of harvest. A relatively warm December, followed by a hot January was probably the main factor in making 2016 an early year. High humidity did create some anxiety – less over downy mildew – more over oidium – so it will be remembered as a more challenging year than 2015, but the resulting wines for the classicists and purists will perhaps be seen as more typical of our style.

93 Points - Wine Advocate

95 Points - Tim Atkin

95 Points - Decanter

93 Points - James Suckling

93+ Points - Steve Tanzer

95 Points - Michael Fridjhon

92 Points - Tim Appelt, WineDiscovery

Listed as one of Neil Pendock’s Top 10 wines for 2018

95 Andrew Howard MW, Decanter

2016 was a very dry year with extremely low-yields. A very restrained, fine, focussed and precise Hamilton Russell Chardonnay. This still needs a little longer to be at its peak but there is no doubting the class here. More Puligny-like, this is sappy, savoury and fresh with beautifully integrated oak. Great ageing potential here. Finishes with a chalky mineral dryness, and an intriguing lick of spice.

93+ Steve Tanzer

“This wonderfully elegant, taut, seamless wine needs time to blossom and put on weight. Classically tight and austere for this bottling.”

David Lawrason's Wine Pick

"My only one pick this release is the Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay 2016. From the leading producer of fine Chardonnay in the coastal Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, this collector's item packs great structure, balance and complexity. It ages incredibly wel, as witnessed at a vertical tasting at the winery in 2016."

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