Hamilton Russell 2019 Pinot Noir

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South Africa

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Product Overview

The 2019 Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir is an estate wine that is not overtly fruity, soft, and "sweet," but rather, it shows savory hints of that alluring "primal" character along with a dark, spicy, complex primary fruit perfume.

Varietal Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Appellation: WO Walker Bay
Aging: 10 months in tight-grain French oak barrels, typically ~35% new (details not released this vintage)
Winemaker: Emul Ross

91 Points - Vinous
"The 2019 Pinot Noir is Walker Bay in terms of Wine of Origin rather than Hemel-en-Aarde, since much of their Pinot Noir was rejected after wildfires tainted the fruit. The majority of fruit was sourced from benevolent growers in the valley, and completely destemmed but not crushed, then matured in 24% new French oak. This has an open, quite herbal bouquet of vibrant red and black fruit, underlying sour-bois notes coming through with aeration. The well-balanced palate offers fine-grained tannins and a fine bead of acidity. Open and expressive, with a pinch of black pepper on the cohesive finish. Given the trauma suffered this vintage, this should be considered a success, not least because it still seems to bear the imprimatur of Hamilton Russell." -NM, Apr/2021

90 Points - Wine Advocate
"Before I begin my tasting note, I'd like to quickly focus on what Hamilton Russell has written on the back of their 2019 Pinot Noir label. While wildfires are not an uncommon occurrence for South Africa, it is refreshing to see such high integrity and transparency as Hamilton Russell has displayed in a challenging situation. They had to reject almost all of their estate-grown Pinot Noir fruit due to nearby wildfires, and thus the 2019 was bottled as Walker Bay wine of origin. The estate stands to gain more trust and brand loyalty from their followers from the decision to be completely open and transparent about what happened to them and their Pinot Noir in 2019. I wish more of the world were as honest and transparent as Hamilton Russell has demonstrated to every consumer of this vintage. I don't know everything there is to know about building brand loyalty, but I am confident that the first chapter of that playbook begins with what Hamilton Russell has written on the back of this particular bottling. Hamilton Russell: Good game—well played! Now, where was I...
Displaying a classic ruby center, the 2019 Pinot Noir opens with soft expressions of red cherry skin, potpourri and wild strawberry, with a subtle undertone of French baking spices and a slight stemminess. Medium-bodied and with 13.5% alcohol, the wine offers subtle flavors of wild brush, red plum skin and spiced red tea, with a balanced frame and succulent acidity across the mid-palate. Ending with a slightly spicy and tannic finish, the wine remains a delightful expression of Pinot Noir but will be the outlier in a vertical tasting." -AM, 2/26/21


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