This is an exciting wine project I have been hearing about for the past few years from winemaker Emul Ross as well as its proprietors Anthony and Olive Hamilton Russell every time I met up with them in either Cape Town or London. But this year also marked the release of their maiden offering of their new Oregon Chardonnay 2019 produced from the Maple Grove Vineyard in the Willamette Valley AVA, joining their premium Eola-Amity Hills AVA Pinot Noir.
During a quiet moment of the Cape Wine 2022 trade fair, I met up with Anthony and Olive to taste their new Chardonnay and Pinot Noir over a quick lunch. As we sat there discussing this exciting Oregon project, photos of the new Chardonnay 2022 harvest fortuitously started popping up on Olive’s phone, sent by Emul Ross as they had just commenced picking in the Willamette Valley.
Sadly, these wines are not yet available in the UK or in the South African market but are available in 21 different US states through Vineyard Brands. But judging from the excellent quality, I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before some stock finds its way out of the USA!
Hamilton Russell Oregon Maple Grove Vineyard Chardonnay 2019, Willamette Valley AVA, 13.8% Abv.
1.9g/l RS | 5.70g/l TA | 3.40pH
Maiden vintage and second crop from this Jackson Family owned Maple Grove single vineyard Chardonnay. South West of Salem, from an area due to become a new AVA, just south of the Van Duzer corridor. Pure Clone 95 in 2019, this wine was fermented with the Hamilton Russell’s own indigenous yeasts and was then aged in 34% first fill and 66% third fill Francois Freres barrels. The nose displays fabulous creamy leesy lemon biscuit notes, vibrant layers of waxy yellow citrus and a saline, stony minerality. The palate shows a fabulous lemon butter opulence, a honied leesy savoury complexity and a broad, soft, harmonious, fine boned persistent finish. Very classy, nuanced and pure. Fruit from a great terroir shaped and nurtured by the winemakers hand. More porcelain than pottery. Drink now and over 5 to 8+ years.
(Wine Safari Score: 95+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
286 x 6 cases produced and exclusively sold in 21 states in the USA at circa $65pb. Vegan friendly. Distributed by USA Vineyard Brands.
Hamilton Russell Oregon Zena Crown Pinot Noir 2019, Eola-Amity Hills AVA, 13.3% Abv.
1.2g/l RS | 5.30g/l TA | 3.58pH
A classically orientated style of Pinot Noir aged for 14 months in 1st fill 23%, 2nd fill 30% and 3rd fill 47% French Francois Freres oak barrels. The aromatics are very exotic and seductive boasting delicate red and black cherry fruits, cranberry, pomegranate and hints of foresty bramble berry and wild strawberry. The palate is beautifully cool and sleek, light on its feet and finely textured with a real light touch elegance, a stony volcanic minerality and delicate silky tannins with an aspirational grandeur. Just love the effortless beauty of this wine. Plenty of appeal here for Burgundy lovers. Drink now and over the next 8+ years.
(Wine Safari Score: 94+/100 Greg Sherwood MW)
565 x 6 cases produced and exclusively sold in 21 states in the USA at circa $85pb. Distributed by USA Vineyard Brands.