Hamilton Russell Vineyards – one of the most southerly wine Estates in Africa and one of the closest to the sea – pioneered viticulture and winemaking in the beautiful, cool, maritime Hemel-en-Aarde Valley appellation, just behind the old fishing village of Hermanus. The Estate specializes in producing highly individual, terroir-driven Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which are widely regarded as the best in South Africa and among the finest in the New World.
Anthony Hamilton Russell graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1990. He's returning to the Philadelphia area to host Philly Pours after building Hamilton Russell Winery into what Wine Spectator called "the flag bearer for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from South Africa."
Anthony took over the vineyard from the founder, Tim Hamilton Russell, in 1991. Tim originally purchased the undeveloped 170 hectare property in 1975, after an exhaustive search for the most southerly site on which to make South Africa’s top cool climate wines from a selection of noble varieties. Anthony and his wife, Olive, narrowed their focus to 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 the individual, origin expressive style they aim for and all plantings have now been limited to this soil type.
“Our terroir spoke to us,” Anthony said. “The very first vintage of Pinot and Chardonnay was something different, something unusual. Our terroir wanted to make Pinot and Chardonnay, and encouraged us to stop doing anything else.
“Every single thing we could possibly do to make those wines more interesting and better, we have done. We’ve created a style that reflects individuality and expression of origin.”
Anthony and Olive, with 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.
Philly Pours will be on October 28 from 5:30-8:30 pm at The Fretz Showroom in the Philadelphia Navy Yard, 4050 S. 26th Street, Philadelphia PA, 19112. Please bring ID. The VIP tasting is from 5:30pm-6:30pm.