Different occasions call for different wines; yet with that said I seem to consistently prefer more savoury earthy Pinot Noirs to their more fruity expressions. This is down purely to personal preference, I suppose.
The 2010 Hamilton Russell I tried was just catching its stride and letting is legs stretch. Before bottling, it had spent 10 months in French oak, of which only 44% was new and the rest a mixture of second and third fill. It lead with the aforementioned earthy/ farmyard character wrapped in aromatic sour cherries. It similarly had a meaty and savoury note that matched up well with the liquorice spice. The tannins were still tight (suggesting it could age further) and it had a crisp fresh acidity showing in the form of fresh raspberries. The intricacy of flavour made for some sublime drinking.
Comparing it to its 2013 counterpart (which is honestly an unfair task seeing it hasn’t aged in the bottle as long) which was made in almost identical fashion, the younger showed more primary red fruit ranging from red currants, cherries to raspberries, as would be expected, and I also picked up some roasted almonds. It further had a lighter body, giving it more elegance and freshness.
Imagining a blisteringly hot afternoon, both wines chilled to about 10 to 14o C, and you could almost taste the refreshing thrill of the ’13. Despite this, I’d gladly have the ’10 in a heartbeat.