01 February 2019

WoTM - Ashbourne 2001

My Wine of The Month for January 2019 is Ashbourne 2001. 

As you can see from the only label on the wine (above), there is no mention of variety. This is deliberate. Owner Anthony Hamilton-Russell wanted the wine tasted and judged on its own merits without any preconceptions.

It is  100% Pinotage from Hamilton-Russell Vineyards’s Bastenburg vineyard. I had tasted a barrel sample of this at the winery back in 2004 (see here) and I thought it would need time. In 2005 Steve Tanzer in his influential US publication - the International Wine Cellar - rated it 92/100.

2001 was the maiden vintage of this wine; it was the only bottle I had and I was saving it for a special occasion. I decided I'd kept it long enough and the special occasion was the dawn of 2019.

It was delicious. Certainly showing its age, this grand old lady of a wine gave off cedar aromas and tasted of strawberries and violets. Deliciously drinkable, but I wouldnt have placed it as Pinotage in a blind tasting. I wish I had more.

There isnt an Ashbourne every year; it has to meet Anthony Hamilton_Russell’s exacting standards and comply with his vision for what Ashbourne should be. Later vintages have had other varieties blended in to fine tune the wine to that vision.

Happy New Year.



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