Hamilton Russell, Chardonnay 1500ml 2018South Africa, Hemel-en-Aarde
Although Emul Ross might still seem new, this is his 4th Chardonnay release and he is clearly ensconced in the values of this pioneering property. His deft hand, which is attuned to the DNA of Hamilton Russell Vineyards, is evident in this fine 2018.
There is a sense of surety, precision and, yes, personality in the 2018 Hamilton Russell Chardonnay. Delineated and light-footed with fragrant fruit and a thread of oak on the palate, it is both serious and bright at the same time. Though enjoyable now, primary and fresh, its structured core will ensure that it gets better with time.
‘Complex & deep, 2018 over-delivers with lovely honeysuckle, stonefruit & citrus notes perfectly paired with immaculate oaking (21% new, 5% of wine unwooded). Pithy texture & creamy mouthfeel satisfy through to last mouthful. A little more new wood on 2017 (4.5 stars, 93 pts).’ – Platter’s Guide 2020, 5* (95/100)
'A tight, mineral wine with classic Hamilton Russell Vineyards length and complexity. 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.' – Winemaker
'After the early and short 2015 and 2016 harvests, 2018, like 2017 was back to our usual timing, beginning at the end of the first week of February, but (a longer harvest) finishing at the end of the first week of March. Budding was even and successful, with higher than usual early Spring temperatures, but an unusually wet November and a cool December affected flowering and fruit-set, resulting in particularly low yields - far lower than our already low yields. The berries were smaller and the bunches were lighter, but the resulting wines were deeper, fuller and more structured. December and January were drier than average, making for relatively easy and successful disease control organically, with February only very slightly wetter than our long term average. A warmer than average February, combined with the very low yields and small berries did however contribute to the riper more opulent style of 2018 compared to 2017.
One of the features of 2018 was fairly variable ripening within individual vineyards, and within individual bunches. Picking on taste, combined with analysis, and picking particular areas within individual vineyards at different times, was particularly important in 2018. This required a high level of vigilance and very close teamwork between cellar and vineyard, both of which were carried out with great success. 2018 was an excellent vintage for us.' – Winemaker
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