Ashbourne Pinotage 2016
Founded in 1996 by Anthony Hamilton Russell, Ashbourne is located on a beautiful 64-hectare property in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley on the eastern border of Hamilton Russell Vineyards. The property is named after Anthony’s great-great-grandfather Lord Ashbourne who was Lord Chancellor of Ireland in the late 1800s.
“Ashbourne began as a quest to make something extraordinary out of Pinotage in ancient, unusually clay-rich, shale-derived soils. It remains our goal to grow and make unusual, age-worthy, classically styled wines with a true South African personality, that belong in the company of the world’s benchmarks.”
— Anthony Hamilton Russell
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 is surprisingly different to that of the 2015. 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.
Ashbourne Pinotage 2016
$128.00 per bottle
Notes and Reviews
From the maiden release in 2001, this benchmark wine has redefined South Africa’s own red grape variety, Pinotage, with its classic, refined styling and unique complex character. This is a wine unlike anything else — intense, rich and savoury with a beautiful underlying minerality.
|Age of Vines||20 years old|
|Vinification||Hand picked, small portion of whole bunch kept. Fermentation in ancient ceramic vats for 7 days. Pressed at low pressure.|
|Elevage||10 months in 400l barrels (40% new, 60% 2nd fill) followed by 6 months in 2,000l neutral foudre. 100% François Frère.|
|Soil Type||Low-vigour, stony, clay-rich, shale-derived soil|