Pinot Noir 2015


Pinot Noir


* Suggested retail price
Product code
6 x 750ml
Listing type
General listing
South Africa
Regulated designation
Wine of origin (WO)
Western Cape
Hemel-en-Aarde Valley
Pinot Noir 100 %
Alcohol percentage
Closure type
Winery's website

About this winery

Hamilton Russell Vineyards – one of the most southerly wine Estates in Africa and one of the closest to the sea – pioneered viticulture and winemaking in the beautiful, cool, maritime Hemel-en-Aarde Valley appellation, just behind the old fishing village of Hermanus. The Estate specialises in producing highly individual, terroir driven Pinot noir and Chardonnay, which are widely regarded as the best in South Africa and among the finest in the New World. Owner, Anthony Hamilton Russell took...

See the HAMILTON RUSSELL VINEYARDS detail page for more information on this brand

Notes about product

2015 was an extraordinary vintage – unlike anything we have experienced before. It started a full 2 weeks early and finished over a period of 4 weeks (on February 20th) instead of our customary 7 weeks. The grapes were extremely healthy with thick skins and an unusually low juice content and the resulting wines are fuller and more sumptuous and concentrated than the 2013’s and 2014’s. Full ripeness was achieved surprisingly quickly and this happened despite the average maximum temperatures for the crucial months of Dec, Jan, Feb and Mar being lower at 24.95 Centigrade than our long term average of 25 Centigrade. This makes 2015 cooler than the celebrated 2013, 2012 and 2009. Another previously unexperienced feature of 2015 was the very high yeast conversion rates of grape sugars to alcohol. This was an industry wide feature and 2015’s, to be phenolically ripe, needed higher alcohol levels. A much drier and slightly warmer Spring than usual, in part accounts for the early harvest, combined with a drier and slightly warmer than average January. The harvest period had just over half of the average rainfall for the period. Greater sunlight intensity in the build-up to harvest also sped things up. 2015 was the first organic harvest (with some biodynamic features) for us and we have been thrilled with the results in our wines. We simply feel much better about what we do and we have been brought even closer to our all important vineyards. A logistically challenging but excellent vintage.

Winemaking notes

Aged 10 months in 100% 228 litre French Oak barrels.

Tasting notes

Low-vigour, stony, clay-rich soil, cool maritime mesoclimate, naturally tiny yields of well under 35 hl/ha and the philosophy of expressing the terroir in this wine – give rise to a certain tightness, tannin line and elevated length to balance the richness and generosity of this Pinot noir.

Press reviews

Natalie MacLean

- 95 points -

Natalie MacLean, January 2017

Breathing this in is like walking into an opium den for wine lovers. Satin pillows of fleshy black cherry invite you to lie back, close your eyes and let your senses roam. Surely one of South Africa's finest Pinot Noir producers! Hamilton-Russell leads the way in the country for cool-climate viticulture and racy, exciting wines. Sophisticated and complex, but extremely easy to drink. Lavish fleshy ripe cherry aromas and flavours yet not simple or sweet. Complex, elegant and layered South African Pinot Noir from a master producer. Some dark spice on the finish. Silk texture...This is easy to mistake for a top shelf Burgundian Pinot.

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Tim Atkin MW

- 94 points -

September 2016

After some disappointments in recent years, the Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir seems to be back on track under the hand of Emul Ross. Using a fruit salad of clones, and benefiting from more unvirused material and less obvious wood, it’s savoury, structured and complex with an undertone of mint and ferrous concentration.

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- 94 points -

May 2017

Bright medium red. Sweet scents of cherry, redcurrant, raspberry and spices. Juicy, sharply delineated red cherry and red berry flavors show more texture than the 2016 but less soil complexity. This is richer, sweet, fruitier and deeper, and its soil character, saline minerality and complexity will emerge with time in the cellar. Finishes firm and very long, with sweet, integrated tannins and perfectly harmonious framing acidity. South African Pinot does not get better than this.

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Wine Spectator

- 93 points -

June 2016

Gorgeous white pepper and savory notes leap out, quickly followed by a solid core of bitter cherry, red currant and damson plum fruit. The finish is racy and tightly coiled, revealing a strong and persistent iron accent. Riveting acidity underscores this cellarworthy version.

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Wine Spectator

- 93 points -

James Molesworth, September 2016

Gorgeous, with a silky, persistent and racy structure guiding alluring rooibos tea, blood orange, damson plum and singed wood spice notes along. An iron edge underscores the elegant finish. Already approachable, but there's no rush.

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Wine Advocate

- 92 points -

April 2017

The 2015 Pinot Noir offers attractive red cherry and bergamot tea-like scents on the well-defined bouquet, that "foxy" note on the 2014 fortunately not in evidence here. The palate is fresh and crisp on the entry, vivid red cherry and raspberry fruit, a fine silver bead of acidity, the 40% new oak neatly embroidered into the fabric of the wine. I like the symmetry here, the warmth of the growing season really benefiting the style of this Pinot Noir. 

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