The Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Upper Hemel-en-Aarde and Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge appellations are now firmly established as some of the most exciting new-world regions for Pinot. Becoming increasingly sought after and scarce, these excellent small allocations of 2017 Tesselaarsdal and Hamilton Russell will sell out quickly.
The Tesselaarsdal label was created by the long-standing Hamilton Russell employee Berene Sauls who named the wine after the small hamlet where she was born. The community of Tesselaarsdal are descendants of the freed Khoi slaves who fought hard to keep their land. This is a wine that celebrates Berene’s entrepreneurial spirit and a dream come true. The Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir 2017 is from the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge and has the higher acidity, fleshier fruit profile and fine detailed structure typical of the appellation. This wonderfully crafted wine, overseen by Hamilton Russell winemaker Emul Ross, is serious and needs at least 6 months before being broached.
The second wine is from SA’s Pinot Noir pioneers. The Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir 2017 is typical of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and retains the fine, structured elegance that has become its trademark. Once again, the excellence of the 2017 vintage shines in this wine and will be best appreciated in a year or so.
Tesselaarsdal, Pinot Noir 2017 – R 495
Started by Berene Sauls in 2015, this is the third vintage of the Tesselaarsdal Pinot. It is certainly the best to date. The 2017 has a long, structured undercarriage and is fleshier with a greater fruit-depth than the previous vintages. It is wonderfully focused and lean at the moment but needs time in bottle to open up. Typical of Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge, it is half new-world and half old-world in style. This is an authentic wine and a true story of transformation that celebrates Berene’s pioneering spirit. – James Pietersen (January 2018)
Hamilton Russell, Pinot Noir 2017 – R495
Emul Ross is now firmly entrenched as the winemaker at Hamilton Russell. His wines are elegant and refined and this 2017 is especially detailed and shows a great sense of ‘place’. It is structured with a classical nature and is the most old-world in style to come from the Hemel-en-Aarde appellations. Still very young, it is crucial that this wine is left for a few years. – James Pietersen (January 2018)