Wining and dining with Hemel-en-Aarde royalty…

They say dogs often look like their owners, or is it the other way around? But I wonder if wines look like their owners too? Going on my recent tastings, I think there may be something in it. 

Today the lovely Anthony and Olive Hamilton Russell joined me in South Kensington for an impromptu oyster lunch blow out … and some very fine white Burgundy at Wright Brothers. 

It has to be said, I do have a close affinity to any person who is an animated and obsessive collector… be it wine, antiques, antique guns, books, or in Anthony’s case, oyster shells (among other things!) Well, I’m pleased to say I think we added a couple of new ones to his extensive 70-plus collection, notably Lindisfarne, Morecombe Bay and Jersey Rock. 

The wines selected for lunch were the perfect match. Domaine Ramonet Puligny Montrachet 2013 and a fab bottle of Domaine Dujac Morey Saint-Denis Blanc 1er Cru Monts Luisants 2011. 

The Puligny was rich yet taught, nutty, salty and mineral, showing way more white citrus tension than a 2013 Chassagne Montrachet I drank from Ramonet recently. Super wine! (93/100) Next, the rare Dujac Morey Blanc that is always a new one for Burg lovers. Tight, mineral and briney, this 1er Cru is loaded with salty, oyster shell flavours and something of the sea. Perfect accompaniment to the oysters! (94/100)

After lunch, we opened a rare bottle of what I believe to be one of the last few 2013 Hamilton Russell Chardonnays around… with only one bottle left in the estate’s archive cellar. Raised in 33% new French oak and second fill barrels, the 2013 is a somewhat infamous wine having very high malic acid at the time of picking and those treasured, post fermentation struck match, flinty, smokey nuances that Anthony claims resulted from the new Diam corks used for the closure. Certainly an element of “good” reduction on the wine though it seems to be receding slightly in favour of white citrus fruit opulence. 

Tasting Note: Great opening depth, plenty of pithy lemon and green apple youthful intensity, layers of fresh honey, baking spices and chalky, dusty minerality on the linear finish. So youthful still! The Coche of the Hemel-en-Aarde…? Enough character to rival Craig Wessel’s Chardonnay from Restless River for the “Coche Lookalike” trophy indeed. (Wine Safari Score: 93+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)

So, on reflection, yes, I think it’s fair to say the Hamilton Russell wines do indeed resemble their owner…. Eminently suave, stylish, classically leaning, approachable yet intriguing with back bone and plenty of vibrant youthfulness. And of course thoroughly moreish, though that may be the Olive factor! 

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