Ashbourne Pinotage

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.

Select Vintage:

Latest vintage available online via Port2Port.

  • Soil Low vigour, stony, clay-rich, shale-derived soil


  • Alcohol 12.90%  Acid 5.20 g/l  pH 3.59  Residual Sugar 1.2 g/l


  • Barrel Ageing 10 months in 400 litre tight grained French oak barrels, 10 months in 2000 litre neutral Foudre


  • Wooding 100% 400 litre French Oak and 2000 litre neutral Foudre


  • Tight Grain 100%


  •  1st fill 40%  2nd fill 40% 3rd fill 20%


  • French Coopers:  Francois Freres


  • Yield 1.1 tons/ha, 7.16 hl/ha  Production 210 cases x 12


  • Vegan Friendly


  • Release Date – June 2022
Growing Season

Harvest was a touch earlier than usual, beginning in the first week of February. Budding was even and complete, helped by a fortuitous two days over 30 Centigrade in mid-September, but it was unusually late in the Sauvignon blanc. The weather at flowering was benign, if a little wet. Ripening was a touch uneven – more so in the various Sauvignon blanc vineyards than for Pinotage. Overall the year was wetter than the previous few years (with a total annual rainfall of 849mm for calendar year 2019). A particularly wetter than average October and January created downy mildew pressures, which became odium and later botrytis pressures, not helped by high humidity and early morning dew. These were however satisfactorily held at bay with organic treatments. The average maximum temperatures for Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar were exactly equal to our long-term average of 25 Centigrade (the long-term equivalent for Burgundy for Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep is 24.8 Centigrade), so on our measure, the vintage was cooler than 2019 and equal to the celebrated 2009 and 2015 vintages. Pinotage yields were significantly down on the already low yields of 2019. A standout feature of the 2020 vintage was phenolic ripeness at lower alcohol than usual, combined with low sugar to alcohol conversions for the fermentations. A highly positive situation. So despite lower alcohol, the Pinotage is deep, and intense, with a beautiful fine-grained structure. A year with weather challenges that did not prevent our team from achieving an exciting outcome.

94 Points - Tim Atkin, June 2022

94 Points - Decanter, March, 2024

92 Points - Neal Martin, Vinous, September 2022

94 Tim Atkin, June 2022

Grippy and dense, with lovely freshness and intensity, damson and black cherry fruit and subtle oak.

94 Decanter, March 6, 2024

If lamb is the most forgiving of meats, pairing well with everything from red Burgundy and Rhône to Rioja, then Pinotage is surely the most malleable of wines, perfect with a lamb, beef, venison or nut roast. From Hamilton Russell Vineyards' sister estate, this 2020 is a belter, seducing with its spiced cherry and dusky blueberry perfume, lipsmacking tannins and perky acidity. Real intensity, elegance and vibrancy – and moderate alcohol.

92 Neal Martin, Vinous, September 2022

It has a very pretty and pure bouquet with blackberry and bilberry fruit, lightly spiced and very well defined. The palate is medium-bodied with a sappy opening, a fine bead of acidity, harmonious and light on its feet. Excellent.