Out of stock
2016 was another unusually early and short harvest – almost exactly the same timing as 2015. But as is wonderfully the case with nature, the character of the 2016’s is surprisingly different to the 2015’s. For the winelands in general, the story was of excessive heat and extreme dryness. But this was not the case for our appellation, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Close proximity to the cool South Atlantic kept the maximum temperatures in line and we also benefitted from timely rain from the southeast, which seldom reaches the warmer inland areas. January was quite a bit warmer than our long-term average (the same as for 1998 and 2011) but it was not drier than average. And the crucial month of February was wetter than average without being warmer – as was March. Our main dam was almost full at the end of harvest. A relatively warm December, followed by a hot January was probably the main factor in making 2016 an early year. High humidity did create some anxiety – less over downy mildew – more over oidium – so it will be remembered as a more challenging year than 2015, but the resulting wines for the classicists and purists will perhaps be seen as more typical of our style.
93 pts Decanter
93 pts Owen Bargreen, International Wine Report
93 pts Andrew Howard MW, Decanter – “For those who are skeptical of the ability of Pinotage to make fine wine, this is an eye-opener. From a 1.3ha single-vineyard, planted in 1996, this is an ultra-classy wine. There’s a hint of smoke on the nose and the palate is full of juicy, ripe, dark-berry fruit with fine acidity and a graphite driven dryness to finish. A hint of oak is evident, imparting extra layers of fine tannins and density to the palate.”
93 pts Owen Bargreen, International Wine Report – “The Ashbourne Pinotage is a gorgeous wine made by the talented Anthony Hamilton Russell, which was sourced from older vines set in Bokkeveld shale. The nose is distinctly earthy, with musty aromas that connect with wild mushroom, black tea and copious dark fruits. The palate shows incredible refinement and intense acidity. Black Forest cake, coffee grounds, black tea, leather and Asian spice flavors all greet you on the palate, as this wine shows great range. Vibrant and showing notable weight, this excellent bottling has the stuffing to cellar for another fifteen to twenty years.”
93-94+ pts Greg Sherwood MW – “Dusty black plums and spicy black berry fruits waft from the glass. Seamless and round, mineral and tense. Complex notes of creme brûlée, cassis, blueberry and pithy cherries. Full, round, glycerol texture. Lovely mineral, graphite and cherry stone finish. Great expression, showing all the potential to equal the 2015.”
Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, James Lawrence – “Is this South Africa’s finest Pinotage? Undeniably yes, it silences the naysayers who suggested that you cannot coax class and refinement out of this maligned grape variety. The nose is reminiscent of a great Medoc – Ashbourne Pinotage is a wine to be sipped and savored, not gulped.”