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Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir 2016

Country: South africa
Region: Hemel en aarde
Type: Red
Producer: Hamilton russell
Grape: Pinot Noir
Bottle Size: 75cl
Vintage: 2016
Alcohol: 13.5%

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A wine with a more than unique history and story. The small village of Tesselaarsdal in the Overberg, 24km North East of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley is named for East India Company settler Johannes Tesselar. On his death in 1810, he bestowed the land to his freed slaves and owner/winemaker Berene herself is a descendant on one of those very slaves. If you look closely at the label, you can make out 2 people walking across the mountain. This is Berene and her Grandmother.

Tasting Notes

The wine has a lovely, fine, bright sour red berry character and even hints of violets on the nose. It has a more lifted acidity and tightness, bright and elegant start to finish with a hardening line of minerality placing it more in the old-world than the new. It is distinctly feminine and elegant with a lovely dusting of grape tannins.

Press Note:

The 2016 Pinot Noir has a generous bouquet with raspberry coulis, crushed strawberry, wild fennel and a sprig of wild mint. Very attractive. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, the acidity nicely judged to lend a very natural balance. It feels precise, pure and refined with a brisk, mineral-driven finish that lingers in the mouth. This is a worthy follow-up to the superb debut 2015. Go seek. 91 points. Neal Martin, The Wine Advocate. Now this is an interesting story. Two wines from Tesselaarsdal were introduced by Anthony Hamilton-Russell when I was conducting my Hemel-en-Aarde tasting. Before I knew anything about the background, I had already fathomed that these were a pair of beautifully crafted Pinot Noir with real character. The label was founded by Berene Sauls who had worked at Hamilton-Russell for 16 years and now works a few rows of vines located at La Vierge on the Babylon Estate, which was bequeathed to freed slaves by landowner Johannes Tesselaar in 1810. Berene herself is descended from one of those family of slaves, and together with Hamilton-Russell winemaker Emul Ross, began her own label. Of course, there is significance in the fact that the owner of Tesselaarsdal is a colored woman, but more importantly, it is the quality of the wines that really struck me. There is real care in these Pinot Noirs, both the maiden 2015 and 2016 that get to the essence of what this fickle grape variety is all about. Quantities are small.

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