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

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.

Miguel Chan, Sommelier Tsogo Sun, June 2020

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.

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