Pinot noir

Our low-vigour, stony, clay-rich soil, cool maritime mesoclimate, naturally tiny yields of well under 35 hl/ha and our philosophy of expressing our terroir in our wines – give rise to a certain tightness, tannin line and elevated length to balance the richness and generosity of our Pinot noir. Our Pinot noir is not overtly fruity, soft and "sweet" and it generally shows hints of that alluring savoury "primal" character along with a dark, spicy, complex primary fruit perfume.

Select Vintage:

Latest vintage available online via Port2Port.

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


  • Alcohol 12.80%
  • Acid 5.44 g/l
  • pH 3.65
  • Residual Sugar 1.90 g/l


  • Barrel Ageing 10 months


  • Wooding 100% 228 litre French Oak Barrels
  • Tight Grain 100%


  • 1st fill 25%
  • 2nd fill 25%
  • 3rd fill 42%
  • 4th fill 8%


  • Blonde Toast 60%
  • Medium Toast 40%


  • French Coopers: Francois Freres 90% Mercurey 8% Tremeaux 2%


  • Yield 21.5 hl/ha, 3.32 tons/ha
  • Production 2 591 x 12 cases


  • Vegan Friendly


  • Release date – February 2021
Growing Season

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 (Pinot Noir of the Year)

96 Points - Miguel Chan, Sommelier, Tsogo Sun

94 Points - Owen Bargreen

96 Tim Atkin MW, South African Report 2021

Bouncing back from the fires in 2019 - and then some - this is the best young Pinot Noir release I've tasted from Hamilton Russell. Representing a subtle shift in style towards greater perfume and fruit, this is a detailed, finely judged blend of clones 113, 115 and 667, with svelte tannins, tidy acidity, rose petal top notes and skilfully integrated oak.

96 Miguel Chan, Sommelier, Tsogo Sun, 18th August 2021

2020 is a classic rendition of Hamilton Russell Vineyards classicisms and a sense of place reflects a hallmark consistent over vintages with the purism of Pinot uncompromised, confidently austere as in the great Volnay's, perfectly ripe cranberries, cherries and mulberry, more neutral amphora like neutrality and blonde oak, spice and tight core with a structured mouthfeel, lean precision and chiselled last like freshness and purity, it is vibrant and long, highly intellectual, rewarding now yet have so much stamina.

Jonathan Ray, The Spectator

The 2020 Hamilton Russell Vineyards Pinot Noir is in a league of its own, surely the finest Pinot in all the Cape and nothing short of a grand cru if such a thing existed in South Africa. It’s not just the wonderful fruit, nurtured by long, hot days and cooling sea breezes; it’s the structure too. Like a fine Gevrey Chambertin it needs time but, goodness, it’s a belter.

94 Owen Bargreen, September 2021

The 2020 Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir is a beautiful, terroir-driven wine by the talented winemaker Emul Ross. Sourced from estate vineyards from Hemel-En-Aarde, vines are set on stony, clay slopes. Once on the nose this takes on highly Burgundian tones of peat moss and wild mushroom alongside blood orange zest and flinty undertones. The palate is very generously textured and seamless with a beautiful air of elegance, as this effortlessly glides across the drinking experience. A thrill to enjoy even so young, this has at least another fifteen years ahead of it. But why wait?

Join our newsletter list