(2021) A label of the Hamilton-Russell family, only nine barrels of this wine are made. It is grown on ancient shale soils over clay in Hemel-en-Aarde, three kilometres from the ocean, but separated by hills, so maybe not so much ocean influence. This is from 60-year-old trellised vines. 10% of stems are dried in the sun and added to the fermentaion, the wine made in a small basket press. Big, super-heavy statement bottle. Vinous nose of dark cherry and plum, all about dark savoury fruit at first, but a little glimpse of something floral and some espresso barrel component comes through. Powerful, sweet-fruited and concentrated on the palate, very firm in its blue/black fruit and tannins. Well-judged acid also adds a touch of salinity in the finish.
(2019) From the two single vineyards named on the label, just released after four years, two in older barrels and two in bottle. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and a singular wine from an area where this variety is rarely seen. A fascinating nose, with touches of camphor and green, green fig, that austerity and touch of ashy , dry smokiness, but the black fruit is there. Lovely palate, marrying that austerity with a rich, fully ripe and sweet blackcurrant core, a softening underpinning from the barrel and spices, but such fine tannins and cool, clean acidity.
(2019) Grown on shale in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Only picked the south facing side of each vine for the cool fruit, leaving the rest for the farmer. No punch downs or temperature control. Seven months in old wood. Very pale colour, a very pure perfume here, a super light blackcurrant fruitiness, that pastille character comes from two thirds of the wine being made with carbonic maceration perhaps, the final third natural ferment. Cherry and blackcurrant pastille fruit, so pretty, sweet and light, just great acidity but tannins so chalky and fine, and everything so gentle.
(2019) In this bottling 60% whole cluster were used, again wild fermented, and from a vineyard on rocky shale and a warmer site that for the Cuvée Cinema. The extra ‘weight’ seems apparent here, with a richer, slightly more ripe berry fragrance, and there is a lovely spices and plumskin character, lots of chocolate and darker spices, and a long, long finish, a touch of Negroni bitters in the finish.
(2019) Again from the Hemel-and-Aarde Ridge, made with 50% whole clusters from a vineyard on heavy clay with iron. Wild fermented. Just fabulous nose, the exotic spices of the oak and the Pinot fragrance of flowers and seasoning, totally inter-twined, the palate flowing and fresh with red fruits and a hint of rhubarb tart and bittersweetness, lots of tension and drive, but in the most elegant way.