Southern Right opens new cellar … and redefines pinotage!

Date posted:
January 8, 2010


Southern Right is a small pinotage and sauvignon blanc specialist located on a strikingly beautiful 448 ha property in the cool, maritime, Hemel en Aarde Valley appellation, just behind the old fishing village of Hermanus. 


Founded by Anthony Hamilton Russell (of Hamilton Russell Vineyards fame) in 1994, Southern Right's aim is to produce a serious, age-worthy pinotage combining a distinct South African fruit and flavour expression with classic styling and refinement. It is Anthony's belief that as an early ripening grape, pinotage is best suited to cooler areas. It is also his conviction that the stony, high clay content, shale-derived soils on the sites he chose for the vineyards, were best suited to creating the more classic style he was aiming for.


Rigorous yield management and extreme care to ensure harvesting at full physiological ripeness combine with the terroir to re-define South Africa's unique red grape variety.


Sauvignon blanc remains a local and international best seller with its classic, tight minerality complementing the prominent varietal fruit. The Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc 2009 has been rated the best South African sauvignon blanc in the Wall Street Journal and was the only sauvignon blanc to win a Gold Medal at the Classic Wine Trophy Awards in 2009.




Left: The inside of the new cellar on Southern Right with bottles of Pinotage and Sauvignon Blanc to be enjoyed! And we all certainly did!




In August 2005, when the 448 ha farm on the western border of Hamilton Russell Vineyards became available, Anthony entered into a partnership with top businessmen and wine enthusiasts, Mark Willcox and Mikki Xayiya, to acquire the unique property as a permanent home for Southern Right. The Southern Right cellar was completed in time for the 2009 harvest. Southern Right is also home to 56 ha of olive trees and more than 200 hectares of pristine Cape Mountain Fynbos which forms part of their private nature reserve.


The wines are named after the rare Southern Right whales which frequent the cool South Atlantic Walker Bay, 3 kilometres from the vineyards. With each bottle sold, Southern Right makes a contribution to Southern Right whale conservation.


Recent successes for Southern Right includes:


·    Best South African sauvignon blanc in the Wall Street Journal, April 2008.


  • Rated one of the 12 Best Value South African wines by the Wine Spectator in the US.


  • Only sauvignon blanc to win a Gold Medal at the 2009 Classic Wine Trophy awards.


  • Southern Right Pinotage 2006 won a Gold Medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards – one of only two for Pinotage – and scored 91/100 in the Wine Spectator, with a listing as one of the Editors’ most exciting new wines.


  • Southern Right Pinotage was rated by the Editor of Decanter Magazine as one of the Top Ten Red Wines in South Africa and was included on their 2005 Calendar showing the 38 most interesting wines from around the world in 2005.


  • Southern Right Pinotage 2007 was rated Best New World Red in Decanter, August 2009.


  • Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc was selected by an international panel as Wine of the Month in SAA First Class for two consecutive vintages and was winner of a Top 5 award from Air France out of 200 white wines of all cultivars.


  • Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc has twice been Wine Of the Day in the US wine magazine The Wine Spectator.


  • Top of the Category in Wine Magazine’s May 2007 Pinotage tasting.


·    Southern Right Pinotage was rated 4 ½ Stars in the 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 John Platter Wine Guide.


And more praise: 


“Those who've tasted South Africa's top sauvignons know that they can challenge the world's best while maintaining a distinctive style. Trouble is, few Americans have tasted one of South Africa's top sauvignons. This is certainly one of the ten best, and it is at the top of its game in 2007.” - 90/100, Michael Franz, USA.


“Southern Right makes marvelously consistent sauvignon blanc. Their 2007 is no exception. It combines layers of chalky minerality found in Sancerre with bracing New Zealand type acidity characteristic of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. Which makes sense, since South Africa is located roughly halfway between those two regions. A marvelous buy!” - 90/100, Michael Apstein, USA.


“The grapes from which the Southern Right 1999 Pinotage was made must have been super-ripe. It is seductively velvety proof that there is no reason for making wine from pinotage grapes to be deemed a felony whatever certain South African winemakers may say.” - Stuart Piggot – Welt am Sonntag, Germany.


“Ripe berry fruit and spicy oak aromas give way to an intense fruitiness reminiscent of mulberry and loganberry, like a cross between pinot noir and a soft Aussie shiraz. This is the kind of generous, mouthfilling Cape Red …” - Anthony Rose – The Independent, UK.


“Wow! Is this good wine! Crisp, clean, dry and full of citrus fruit. Southern Right may not have been making this wine for three hundred years, but the strengths of South African winemaking sure shines through.” - The Newsletter of Big Y Wines – Massachusetts, USA.


“Very polished for a Pinotage, with delicious plum, mocha, vanilla, briar, mint and fruit cake notes that all play out on the lengthy, plush finish. Very friendly style with genuine complexity to boot.” - 91/100, James Molesworth, Wine Spectator.


Southern Right’s winemaking is in the very capable hands of winemaker Hannes Storm (right). After majoring in Enology and Viticulture at the University of Stellenbosch in 2000, Hannes worked as assistant winemaker at Hamilton Russell Vineyards for two years before joining Sumaridge Wines as winemaker and vineyard manager. Spells at Herold Wines (Outeniqua) and Spookfontein Wines and Hemelzicht Wines (Hermanus) further refined his skills before he rejoined Anthony Hamilton Russell in 2004.




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