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Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2008

Chardonnay from South Africa
    13% ABV
    • WS93
    • RP93
    • JS93
    • WS94
    • RP91
    • RP93
    • TP93
    • WS92
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    13% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Hamilton Russell Vineyards Chardonnay is different to most New World Chardonnays. Our stony, clay-rich soil, cool maritime mesoclimate, naturally tiny yields of around 30 hl/ha and our philosophy of expressing our terroir in our wines - give rise to a tighter, drier, more complex mineral character and length to complement the varietal fruit. Many wine enthusiasts prefer this more "classic" style to the round, viscous, vanilla and sweet fruit character of so many Chardonnays. For this reason, many knowledgeable enthusiasts around the world regard Hamilton Russell Vineyards as the best "Chardonnay" in South Africa and one of the best in the New World.

    A tight, minerally wine with classic Hamilton Russell Vineyards length and complexity. A prominent core of intense pear fruit aromas and flavors is brought beautifully into focus by a tight line of natural acid and a dry minerality. An elegant, yet textured and intense wine with a strong personality of both place and vintage.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Hamilton Russell

    Hamilton Russell

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    Hamilton Russell, , South Africa
    Hamilton Russell
    Hamilton Russell Vineyards is one of the most southerly wine estates in Africa. The estate specializes in producing highly individual, terroir-driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Founder, Tim Hamilton Russell purchased the undeveloped 170 hectare property in 1975. His son, Anthony, purchasing property in 1994, focused their efforts on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay only and registered Hamilton Russell Vineyards as an estate, committing to work only with grapes from their terroir. Extensive soil research initiated in 1994 identified 52 hectares of stony, clay-rich, shale-derived soil as optimal for their signature style and all plantings have now been limited to this soil type.

    Anthony with his wife Olive, winemaker Emul Ross and viticulturist Johan Montgomery are completely dedicated to expressing the personality of the Hamilton Russell Vineyards terroir in their wines. Tiny yields and intense worldwide demand keep the elegant, highly individual, Estate grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in very short supply.

    Beaujolais

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    The bucolic region often identified as the southern part of Burgundy, Beaujolais actually doesn’t have a whole lot in common with the rest of the region in terms of climate, soil types and grape varieties. Beaujolais achieves its own identity with variations on style of one grape, Gamay.

    Gamay was actually grown throughout all of Burgundy until 1395 when the Duke of Burgundy banished it south, making room for Pinot noir to inhabit all of the “superior” hillsides of Burgundy proper. This was good news for Gamay as it produces a much better wine in the granitic soils of Beaujolais, compared with the limestone escarpments of the Côte d’Or.

    Four styles of Beaujolais exist though most is sold under the basic Beaujolais appellation. The simplest, and one that has regrettably given the region a subpar reputation, is Beaujolais Nouveau. This is the wine that is made using carbonic maceration (a quick fermentation that results in sweet aromas) and is released on the third Thursday of November in the same year as harvest. It's meant to drink young and is flirty, fruity and fun. The rest of Beaujolais is where the serious wines are found. Beaujolais-Villages, which must come from the hilly northern part of the region, offer reasonable values with some gems among them. The superior section are the cru vineyards coming from ten distinct communes: St-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, Moulin-à-Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Regnié, Brouilly, and Côte de Brouilly. Any cru Beajolais will have its commune name prominent on the label.

    Delightfully playful yet at its best capable of impressive gravitas, Gamay is responsible for juicy, berry-flavored wines in Beaujolais and parts of the Loire Valley. It has received some criticism for its role in Beaujolais Nouveau, a young beverage more reminiscent of fruit punch than wine. But make no mistake—the Gamay grape is very capable of producing light yet serious wines, especially in the cru villages of Beaujolais. The variety is also widely planted in Savoie and Switzerland, and has recently found success on a small but growing scale in Oregon.

    In the Glass

    Gamay can be decidedly light and fruity with flavors cherry candy and cranberry. Made for Beaujolais Nouveau, with a quick fermentation process, the wines give fun and flirty aromas of banana or bubblegum. The Nouveau style is to drink early and not contemplate. More complex Gamays (Village or cru level) offer dark blackberry or ripe cherry flavors with enticing aromas of baking spice, violets and dark wet earth as well as aging potential.

    Perfect Pairings

    Gamay is delicious on its own, especially with a light chill. It is the quintessential picnic red and goes well with simple charcuterie, country pate, and terrines. Served at a cool temperature, it is an unexpected but outstanding partner for freshly shucked oysters. Gentle tannins and bright acidity make it a great option with Asian food, even dishes with a bit of a spicy kick. Gamay can also be a great pairing with poultry, especially duck or Thanksgiving turkey with cranberry sauce.

    Sommelier Secret

    Within Beaujolais, there are ten different crus, or highly ranked grape-growing communes. Each one has its own distinct personality—Fleurie is delicate and floral, Côte de Brouilly is concentrated and elegant, and Morgon is serious, structured, and age-worthy, capable of rivaling some red Burgundies.

    PIN261198_2008 Item# 99973

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