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Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir, Hemel-en-Aarde is single estate Pinot Noir at its best. Every year we taste the wines from Anthony and Olive Hamilton Russell with the previous vintage sitting as a benchmark and every year they seem to create something impressive enough to beat the previous effort. There are no second wines at Hamilton Russell, so all of the best grapes go into this one wine.
10 months barrel aging, with different levels of toasting, in 1st fill (29%,) 2nd fill (28%,) 3rd fill (36%,) 4th fill (7%.)
Red cherry, touches of tobacco, earthy and herbal. There is an energy to this wine that has made us put down a few cases to cellar.
This stellar vintage was later and cooler than usual. Based on our measure of temperature, the average of the maximum temperatures for the 4 hottest months (crucial to harvest) Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar, 2021 came in at 24.3 Centigrade. This compares to 24.8 Centigrade for a long-term average of the equivalent period in Burgundy. In the last 25 years, only 2001, 2004 and 2008 have been cooler. Winter was wetter than usual with 140mm more rain than average, filling dams and building the water table beautifully. Chill units started accumulating later than usual and a cool Spring and later budding accounted for the later harvest. A warm January was a welcome help towards healthy ripening. Any disease pressure from rain showers during ripening was effectively controlled organicallty. Yields, as always for us, were low. The Pinot noir harvest finished 10 days later than 2020, and the Chardonnay harvest finished 8 days later. Fruit quality and acidity were exceptional for both. The 2021 wines stand out for their complex, layered elegance, purity and mineral liveliness.
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