Hamilton Russell Vineyards in South Africa has developed an international reputation over 40 vintages for unusually restrained, classically styled Pinot noir, with deep structure and spice balancing fruit opulence. Hamilton Russell Oregon aims to express this stylistic philosophy with the very best Willamette Valley fruit – showcasing the restrained, structured classicism of great European Pinot noir and the bright purity of Oregon fruit. The celebrated Bramble Hill vineyard in Ribbon Ridge, delivers a particularly bright, pure, lively minerality to complement the complex lifted fruit the best Oregon Pinot noir is known for.
While it was a warmer than average vintage, temperatures stayed in the low to mid 90s with few heat spikes, making for a balanced year with less widespread heat stress than in prior years, especially 2017. Low rainfall during late September and into October allowed winemakers to manage harvest easily, picking grapes when they wanted to, instead of dodging rain or having to harvest fruit early. When moderately warm days occur along with cool nights, vines rest in the evening and concentrate efforts on developing more fruit complexity and flavor. Ideal conditions like this occurred throughout Oregon in 2018. Late bud break was due to a slightly wetter and cooler April. Harvest was slow and steady in 2018 resulting in truly excellent fruit composition, with sugar levels, acidity, and pH all close to average. The 2018 vintage in the Willamette Valley has made some exceptional wines.
92 pts Vinous – “Deep, vivid red. Powerful, mineral- and spice-tinged red berry and cherry qualities on the expressive nose, along with a sexy floral nuance that develops with air. Chewy and precise on the palate, offering energetic raspberry, cherry liqueur and cola flavors and an exotic hint of allspice. Finishes very long, spicy and tense, with discreet tannins that fold steadily into the wine’s sappy fruit.”
92 pts Washington Wine Blog – “The 2018 ‘Bramble Hill’ Pinot Noir is sourced from the Ribbon Ridge AVA in the Willamette Valley. The wine is rich on the mid-palate with chewy tannins that line a deep core of red fruits and peat moss tones. This has a wonderful sense of elegance, freshness and length with a bright core of acidity that races through the palate. Drink 2020-2030.”