Latest vintage available online via Port2Port.
- Soil: Low-vigour, stony, clay-rich, shale-derived soil
- Alcohol: 12.90%
- Acid: 6.90 g/l
- pH: 3.45
- Residual Sugar: 2.20 g/l
- Barrel Ageing: 9 Months
- Wooding: 100% 228 liter French Oak Barrels
- Barrel Fermentation: 95%
- Foudre: 5%
- Tight Grain: 100%
- 1st fill: 24%
- 2nd fill: 23%
- 3rd fill: 36%
- 4th fill: 17%
- Blonde Toast: 48%
- Medium Toast: 46%
- Medium Long Toast: 6%
- French Coopers: Francois Freres 100%
- Yield: 2.68 tons/ha, 16.9 hl/ha
- Production: 4293 cases of 12 bottles equivalent
- Release date – January 2021
- Vegan Friendly
Harvest was a touch earlier than usual, beginning in the first week of February. Budding was even and complete, helped by a fortuitous two days over 30 Centigrade in mid-September. The weather at flowering was benign, if a little wet. Ripening was a touch uneven. Overall the year was wetter than the previous few years (with a total annual rainfall of 849mm for calendar year 2019). A particularly wetter than average October and January created downy mildew pressures, which became odium and later botrytis pressures, not helped by high humidity and early morning dew. These were however satisfactorily held at bay with organic treatments. The average maximum temperatures for Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar were exactly equal to our long-term average of 25 Centigrade (the long-term equivalent for Burgundy for Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep is 24.8 Centigrade), so on our measure, the vintage was cooler than 2019 and equal to the celebrated 2009 and 2015 vintages. A standout feature of the 2020 vintage was phenolic ripeness at lower alcohol than usual, combined with low sugar to alcohol conversions for the fermentations. A highly positive situation. Yields were, as always, very low. Pinot noir came in at 3.32 tons/ha (21,5 hl/ha) and Chardonnay came in even lower at 2.68 tons/ha (16.9 hl/ha). The wines have a marked elegance, mineral purity and saline quality. A very exciting outcome despite weather challenges.
WWF Conservation Champions
96 Points - Tim Atkin MW, South African Report 2021 (Chardonnay of the Year)
95 Points - Greg Sherwood MW
94 Points - Owen Bargreen
92 Points - James Suckling
93 Points - Wine Advocate
96 Tim Atkin MW, South African Report 2021
Lower in alcohol than the 2019 release - the vintage was cooler, explains Emul Ross - this nuanced Chardonnay combines grapes from 22 different blocks on the farm and confirms the wine's status as one of the best examples in the Cape. Focused and saline, with subtle notes of struck match reduction, fine oak and some texture from 10% malolactic. Bravo!
95 Greg Sherwood MW, 9 April 2021
If 2018 produced a super taut, reductive serious expression and 2019 showed a lusher, more forward, accessible opulence, then 2020 is perhaps a marriage of these two styles. This is a wine full of confidence and composure, brimming with taut white citrus pith, green pear and lime peel, bruised green apples, white blossom and a complexing saline oyster shell minerality. On the palate there is a feel of density, dry extract, concentration and a really precise harmonious balance with layers of green melon, sweet lime jelly, melted butter and a full glycerol finish with just the faintest hint of butterscotch, lime cordial and vanilla pod spice. Seemless and sleek, the layers just melt into each other leaving a sensation of utter completeness. What a truly fabulous wine, resplendent in its mellow classical restraint, intense concentration and harmonious length. A big high five for Emul Ross!!
Jonathan Ray, The Spectator
The 2020 Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay is lip-smackingly fine. Aged for nine months in French oak, it’s resolutely Burgundian in style — though far from an imitation — with citrus, ripe white stone fruit, butter and even a hint of oyster shell on the nose. It’s beautifully textured, elegant and stylish and is a wine to tuck away and savour.
James Lawrence, UK, March 2021
Taut and citric in its youth, it opens up after a few years to glorious complexity. Lazy writers always reach for comparisons in Burgundy. And I’m not going to stop this fine tradition – it’s Puligny Montrachet, minus the price tag.
Miguel Chan, Sommelier, Tsogo Sun, June 2021
The purism and purity of the Hamilton Russell Vineyards in capturing their Chardonnay and Pinot noir sites expressions over the last four decades consistently places Hamilton Russell Vineyards amongst the world's finest producers of the variety, a South African benchmark.
94 Owen Bargreen, September 2020
Anthony Hamilton Russell has told me several times how he loves Burgundy wines with balance that are not overly oaked. This wine literally screams terroir with salty diatomaceous earth aromatics with wet granite, and lighter orchard fruit aromas that take shape in the glass. The palate shows good richness and a silky texture with gobs of acidity and beautiful length. This is up there with the finest Chardonnay I have tasted from South Africa.
93 Anthony Mueller, Wine Advocate, June 2022
Gorgeously seductive in the glass, the 2020 Chardonnay immediately offers aromas of citrus pastry cream, butterscotch, nutmeg, crème brûlée and yellow apple panna cotta. Medium-bodied and impeccably balanced, there is a pleasing texture to the mouthfeel, followed by bright acidity that frames the mid-palate. Ending with a long-lingering and inspiring finish, persistent flavors of toasted almonds, citrus blossom and quince skin linger on the aftertaste. It’s a beautiful and delicious wine, one I cannot wait to retry in 10 years' time. Bravo!
92 James Suckling, November 2021
This has a vibrant nose of jasmine, grapefruit zest, sliced pear, buttered toast and smoked almonds. It’s medium-to full-bodied with bright acidity. Bright, zesty and spicy. Pretty almond notes on the finish.