Winemaker: Emul Ross
Background: No stranger to the wine world, Anthony Hamilton Russell of Hamilton Russell Vineyards, has since 1981 produced fine Burgundy style wines from his Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes grown on his property in the Hemel en Aarde Valley outside Hermanus. Countless awards, both locally and internationaly, honour each vintage of these outstanding two wines.
However Anthony, never content to rest on his laurels, and rather than to dilute the Hamilton-Russell brand created two other successful ventures, Southern Right and Ashbourne. Southern Right, named after the type of Whale found off Hermanus has been producing a respectable Sauvignon Blanc and Pinotage since 1995. Ashbourne on the other hand is a113ha property on the eastern boundary of Hamilton-Russell Vineyards and has been producing wine since their first bottling in 2001.
Ashbourne wines are named after Anthony’s great, great grandfather, Lord Ashbourne who was Lord Chancellor of Ireland in the late 1800’s. For several years two premium wines have and will still continue to be made, a white from Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, called Sandstone and the red aptly called Ashbourne with the recently released 2015 vintage made entirely from Pinotage. However a few years back with the idea to give more visibility to the brand he released an easy drinking white wine, a Chardonnay Sauvignon Blend which continues today and earlier this month saw the release of the first Ashbourne Pinotage/Cinsault 2017, an unwooded wine made from Swartland grapes.
Anthony explains “Our extreme shortage of Pinotage grapes in the face of dramatically increased local and international demand (yes, it has become really “cool” to like Pinotage – good Pinotage that is) forced us to consider sourcing grapes from outside our appellation. We have always been intrigued by the idea of creating a Pinotage with a youthful, fresh, fruit purity un-tarnished by any wood influence. Our cooler climate clay-grown grapes are simply too restrained, tightly wound and bright in acidity to do without time and air-exchange before release.
By sourcing grapes from the warmer Swartland, we were guaranteed a lower acidity and higher pH to afford an attractive early mouthfeel – even at our lower target alcohol levels. By blending in 20% Cinsault, we were able to ameliorate the dense richness of the Pinotage and add a lovely, tight, bright freshness to the wine.”
Result: Lively, pale plum colour with subtle aromas of vibrant red berry fruit with hints of wild spice. The medium bodied palate offers silky red cherry and ripe strawberry flavour entwined with balanced fruit acid and soft tannins.
When to drink: now till 2022
Drink with what: Enjoy slightly chilled or room temp and perfect for al fresco dining.
Expect to pay: R180.00