Anthony Hamilton Russell has a great affinity for Pinotage, believing that it has the potential to be one of South Africa’s top varietals. He treats his cool climate version, out of the Hemel-En-Aarde Valley, with the same care and attention as he does Pinot Noir, allowing it to take on a more, feminine, Pinot Noir slant, which helps him differentiate it from many of the Cape’s other offerings. The 2021 Southern Right Pinotage has just come into our market and it’s another beautiful example of a cool climate Pinotage from what Anthony feels is an exceptional vintage, with its elegance and lower alcohol without any loss of flavor intensity. Solid reviews hold sway that this is another lovely rendition playing into the more elegant side of the varietal. Those familiar with this wine are going to love this latest release, those not familiar with Pinotage and in particular Anthony Hamilton Russell’s Southern Right Pinotage, there is no better way to learn what a finely-tuned, refined version is all about.
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92 pts Tim Atkin MW 2022
Pinotage can be very sweet,” says Anthony Hamilton Russell, and the aim is to avoid that on this example, produced from various Walker Bay sources. Stony reduction and smoky bacon aromas segue into flavours of plum and black cherry and a sheen of subtle oak spices. Will age well in bottle. 2023-27
4 ½ Stars 2023 Platter’s South African Wine Guide
Elegant & flavourful 21 (91 pts) combines a lightness of foot (13.2% alc.) with intensity of flavour – re & black plums scented with fynbos. Succulent, moreish, subtle vanilla & cocoa overlays from just 12% new oak.
90 pts Wine Spectator 5/31/23
A bright, brambly red, with abundant herbes de Provence and sweet smoke accenting a core of ripe raspberry and blueberry fruit. Juicy, well-spiced finish. Drink now through 2026.
Southern Right is re-defining Pinotage with this intense classically styled, clay-grown wine, packed with complex berry fruit, beautiful tannins and subtle wood spice. Full ripeness and the longer hang-time afforded by cooler sites, combined with the complex, more classic fruit aromas and structure resulting from clay-rich soil, make this wine a highly individual expression of South Africa’s unique grape variety.
This stellar vintage was later and cooler than usual. Based on our measure of temperature, the average of the maximum temperatures for the 4 hottest months (crucial to harvest) Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar, 2021 came in at 24.3 Centigrade. This compares to 24.8 Centigrade for a long-term average of the equivalent period in Burgundy. In the last 25 years, only 2001, 2004 and 2008 have been cooler. Winter was wetter than usual with 140mm more rain than average, filling dams and building the water table beautifully. Chill units started accumulating later than usual and a cool Spring and later budding accounted for the later harvest. A warm January was a welcome help towards healthy ripening. Any disease pressure from rain showers during ripening was effectively controlled organically. Yields, as always for us, were low.