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Country of Origin & Region


South Africa, Hemel-En-Aarde Valley

Hamilton Russell

Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2017

Hamilton Russell Chardonnay 2017 exceptional.....2018 Wine Spectator Top 100 - #57

Tasting Notes

Consistency has been the underlying factor for this much esteemed producer and year in and year out you will not be disappointed. Hamilton Russell’s Chardonnay has been a benchmark for the Cape for a number of years now and the just released 2017 Chardonnay is again another exceptional offering. The nose is still somewhat primary offering a plethora of exotic fruit tones, lemon/lime cordial, pineapple and orchard fruits of green apple and pear, while oak spice adds a savory note and a touch of nuttiness that will become more pronounced with time. Medium bodied with beautiful fruit purity and vibrancy, an underpinning of acidity gives this nervous tension and edginess to the mineral infused fruit that drives this to an exceptionally long finish. Seamless and beautifully balanced this has a finish you can take time with and should only gain more complexity with time. Although it’s tempting now this should age beautifully over the next ten years quite easily. It would be hard to find a Chardonnay from just about anywhere this good at this price.

Food Accompaniments

fish, chicken, pork

Awards, Reviews and other Notes

96 pts Tim Atkin MW 2018
The 2017 vintage really is a brilliant year for Cape whites, as this stellar, world famous Chardonnay confirms. Tighter and more focused than the 2016, it has notes of beeswax, citrus and tangerine, embellished by aromatic oak. The best release yet of Hamilton Russell Chardonnay. 2019-25
94+ pts Greg Sherwood MW March 19, 2018
This wine was tasted from barrel in March 2017 and showed great potential with bright acidity accentuating the wine’s natural limestone minerality. After 9 months ageing in French oak barrels, the wine is still very primary on the nose, revealing notes of sweet lemon cordial, green honeydew melon, green pear, white blossom and waxy green apple skins. There is lovely nervy tension to the palate which is much tauter and leaner than the nose suggests. Framed by vibrant, steely acids, the white citrus and lemon butter flavours are concertina’d into a complex press of green apple pastilles, pithy green gauge fruits and a stony liquid minerality. Not revealing all its grandeur just yet, but undoubtedly serves as a grand road map to the full pleasures that await the drinker in 6 to 12 months time. A real triumph for the vintage and another benchmark Chardonnay from this winery. Drink now to 2030+
94 pts James Suckling June 2018
A really stylish white with white stones, dried apricots, white blossoms, lemon curd, jasmine and caramelized citrus peel. Medium to full body, some really nice phenolic texture, very zesty acidity and an pinpoint finish. Drink now
93 pts Jeb Dunnuck
The 2017 Chardonnay is classy stuff all the way that's 100% varietal aged mostly in French oak, with small amounts brought up in foudre, ceramic eggs, and stainless steel. Orchard fruits, pineapple, and white flower notes all emerge from the glass. It's medium-bodied, beautifully textured, and seamless on the palate. With beautiful purity, vibrant, integrated acidity, and a great finish, it should keep for a decade or more.
91 pts Vinous/Neil Martin Aug 2018
The 2017 Chardonnay was whole-bunch-pressed, destemmed and matured for nine months with partial malolactic and light bâtonnage, in around 30% new wood, of which 40% is not toasted. It has an attractive bouquet of yellow plum and a subtle patisserie scent, the oak neatly integrated. The palate is well balanced with slightly lower acidity than its peers, good depth, a slightly waxy texture and a touch of candied orange peel toward the finish. Enjoy this over the next five or six years, possibly longer.
93 pts 2018 Wine Spectator Top 100 - #57
Melon, yellow apple, white peach and quince flavors give this an opulent feel, harnessed by honeysuckle and quinine accents through the finish, showing refinement and length in the end. Drink now through 2021

Winemaker Notes

2017 was back to our usual timing after a particularly early 2015 and 2016. As for 2015 and 2016 however, the duration of harvest was short, with all grapes coming in prior to the end of February – having begun the harvest in the first week of February. Based on average maximum temperatures for the crucial months of Dec, Jan, Feb, March, 2017 was a warm harvest – 0.53 centigrade above our long-term average of 25 centigrade. December was warmer, January cooler and February warmer than average. Rainfall for these crucial months was only 10mm below our long-term average, so conditions could not be described as particularly dry. The rain which fell was in more regular very small amounts however, raising humidity and creating botrytis pressure. Our organic use of “good” Trichoderma funguses to attack botrytis was fortunately highly effective and we experienced no detrimental effect on what turned out to be exceptional grape quality. Altogether 2017 was an excellent vintage for us, with pure, fine, particularly classic, elegant wines with marked minerality.
A tight, minerally wine with classic Hamilton Russell Vineyards length and complexity. Unusually 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.

Chemical Analysis




13% alcohol by volume




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Southern Hemisphere Wine Center
5973 Engineer Dr.
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
(800) 504-9463