In Review

Wine of the week: a phenomenal, plush chardonnay

With stunning depth and juiciness, plush, but controlled oak and serious length, this is a phenomenal wine

2019 Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Chardonnay, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa
 

In particularly challenging vintages there is an outside chance that a winery can make truly remarkable wines. Some estates find it impossible to step up, but others, in the face of adversity, have the confidence, experience and sometimes luck to make the inspired decisions that result in remarkable outcomes.

In 2019, Hamilton Russell managed to swerve potentially catastrophic damage from smoke taint caused by a massive fire in January. An unusually warm May, June and July affected chardonnay dormancy and the resulting bud break was extremely uneven.

In addition, the vintage was cooler than 2017 and 2018. Rainfall was lower than average, too, but during harvest, frequent showers caused sustained high humidity. HR’s organic treatments proved highly effective against the threat of mildew. They also picked the day before the skies opened, too. 

While the chardonnay crop was 44% down, this is the most remarkable HR chardonnay I have ever tasted. With stunning depth and juiciness, plush, but controlled oak and serious length, this is a phenomenal creation.

2019 Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Chardonnay, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa

There is exquisite balance here, too, and all of this class and luxury sits atop stiletto-sharp acidity and a restrained 13.2% alcohol level. Pound for pound, this wine is in contention for Chardonnay of the Year. “Against all odds” is a recurring theme for this terrific winery.

2019 Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Chardonnay, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa – £21.67 in bond per bottle, farrvintners.com; £22.50 in bond per bottle, uncorked.co.uk; £33.40, hedonism.co.uk; £35.99, thornewines.com; £34.99, harrogatefinewinecompany.com

Matthew Jukes is a winner of the International Wine & Spirit Competition’s Communicator of the Year (matthewjukes.com)

This article was originally published in MoneyWeek

Recommended

The Ivy Asia Mayfair: prepare to awaken your senses
Inside The Ivy Asia Mayfair on North Audley Street
In Review

The Ivy Asia Mayfair: prepare to awaken your senses

Recipe: spiced yoghurt, cauliflower and mango
Spiced yoghurt, cauliflower and mango
On the menu

Recipe: spiced yoghurt, cauliflower and mango

The UK’s best summer food and drink festivals
Bakers on a stall at the Abergavenny Food Festival
On the menu

The UK’s best summer food and drink festivals

Recipe: American buckwheat pancakes
Recipe from Van Life Cookbook by Danny Jack and Hailee Kukura
On the menu

Recipe: American buckwheat pancakes

Popular articles

Is World War Three on the cards?
Ukrainian soldiers patrol on the frontline in Zolote, Ukraine
In Depth

Is World War Three on the cards?

Will China invade Taiwan?
Chinese troops on mobile rocket launchers during a parade in Beijing
Fact file

Will China invade Taiwan?

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022
Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll in Murder in Provence
In Depth

Best new TV crime dramas of 2022

The Week Footer Banner