The 2017 Hamilton Russell Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Chardonnay is world-class all the way, as its 93 points from Wine Spectator and huge thumbs-up from our tasting panel illustrate. Hamilton Russell’s 2017 Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Chardonnay is a vibrant, complex wine that embodies the best in Old and New World Chardonnay. Full-bodied but well delineated, this terroir-driven Chardonnay offers a superb array of apple, quince, and stone fruit flavors, all of which are beautifully integrated into the wine’s crisp acidity and delightfully complex mineral tones. Touches of honeysuckle and verbena along with a faint hint of spice further add to the keen interest and gustatory pleasure wrapped up in the 2017 Hamilton Russell Chardonnay. Fresh, yet succulent, this wine finishes with a bang. For optimum enjoyment, we suggest enjoying the 2017 Hamilton Russell Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Chardonnay moderately chilled (40°-45° F) after a few minutes of aeration. What else can we say except: ENJOY!
Ardent Chardonnay drinkers will want only a clean glass and the opportunity to obtain more of the 2017 Hamilton Russell Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Chardonnay to believe they are in heaven on earth. Others, including many members of our tasting panel, will not want to miss the opportunity to pair Hamilton Russell’s superb Chardonnay with a special meal or, at the least, the finest food they can muster. Seafood Chowder with scallops, sea bass, potatoes, cream, and a host of savory spices makes a wonderful companion to the 2017 Hamilton Russell Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Chardonnay. Grilled Salmon or Sole Meunière in a delicate butter and white wine sauce will provide a memorable experience, too. Tarragon Cream Chicken bathed with a light Dijon mustard tarragon sauce provides another flavorsome accompaniment. A perfectly prepared Chicken Kiev also makes a splendid companion to the 2017 Hamilton Russell Chardonnay. For a tasty vegetarian accompaniment, consider a dish with marinated zucchini, roasted hazelnuts, ricotta, and fresh mint, all tossed with a lively vinaigrette. Both the wine and the 2017 Hamilton Russell Hemel-en-Aarde Chardonnay will shine. Bon appétit!
If you haven’t already noticed, California holds no monopoly on world-class Chardonnay, nor does France, the ancestral home of the planet’s most sought after wine grape and the origin of the world’s most popular white wine. All one has to do is look to Hamilton Russell’s 2017 Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Chardonnay from South Africa’s Western Cape for evidence that great Chardonnay is being crafted in South Africa. In fact, the white wines from South Africa’s Western Cape are some of the finest in the world, bar none, and they can be enjoyed for far less than the astronomic and often ridiculous prices asked for French and other New World Chardonnays. Besides, the world’s most respected wine critics and publications can’t all be wrong, but here is the downside: what was once the wine world’s best-kept secret is now out of the bag. South Africa makes both world-class red and white wines and Hamilton Russell is at the top of the class.
Hamilton Russell is the pioneer wine estate in the highly regarded Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, which means heaven and earth in Afrikaans. Hamilton Russell Vineyards lie close to the Cape of Good Hope and a mere 8 kilometers from the cool South Atlantic and the great fishing and whale watching port of Hermanus. Hamilton Russel was born in 1975 when Tim Hamilton Russell purchased the undeveloped land after an extensive search for South Africa’s premier site on which to cultivate the best cool climate varietals, most notably Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Tim’s son Anthony took over the estate in 1991 and since 1994 has been fashioning South Africa’s top Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the only two varietals Hamilton Russell Vineyards produces.
All Hamilton Russell Vineyards’ wines are grown and made at the estate and reflect the property’s unique terroir. Anthony Hamilton Russell, his wife Olive, winemaker Emul Ross, viticulturist Johan Montgomery, and their team are devoted to expressing the personality of Hamilton Russell’s special terroir in the estate’s Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. However, as Anthony Hamilton Russell has stated, “We are not so much using Hamilton Russell Vineyards to make Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as we are using Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to express the beauty and personality of Hamilton Russell Vineyards. Our terroir, in effect, ‘chose’ these varieties as its most individual and beautiful expression.”
In addition to fashioning the finest Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in South Africa, Hamilton Russell Vineyards produces outstanding olive oil and honey, all of which are in short supply due to tiny yields, fabulous terroir, and great worldwide demand.
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