Samantha O'Keefe left California with dreams of starting a family and finding paradise. Tucked into the foothills of a dramatic mountain range at the bottom of Africa, Lismore Estate Vineyards was born alongside her nascent family. A passionate vision, combined with vines planted at 300 metres, which are chilled by winter snow and nourished by the African summer sun, produces classic, cool climate wines which are rich, complex and lovingly hand crafted.
While 2016 presented the third year of drought for most regions of South Africa, the Overberg received sufficient rainfall to produce a harvest with average yields and an above average quality. The Greyton region saw a long ripening season with very little stress in the vineyards, resulting in excellent quality fruit.
The vineyards are planted on slopes at the base of the Riviersonderend Mountain Range, where the Syrah is planted in heavy schist soils with no irrigation. The combination of elevation and climate make for an extended ripening period which is approximately three to four weeks later than the more traditional wine growing areas in the Western Cape. Extreme diurnal temperature shifts in these vineyards promote complexity, depth and concentration and presents a Syrah that has a very distinct sense of place.
The grapes were picked at optimal ripeness. 40% were fermented in whole bunches in small open vats and 60% were destemmed and fermented in a 5,000 litre wooden fermenter with gentle pigeage (cap immersion) throughout. The free run wine was drained off and the fermented grapes were then pressed in a traditional wooden basket press. The wine was racked into barrels where malolactic fermentation took place, then blended into a 3,000 litre wooden vat, where the wine was aged for 10 months.
An exotic experience which shifts your mind to another place. Cassis, blackberry and cherry on the nose with hints of white pepper, ground herbs and the strong floral perfume of crushed violets. Light and elegant, but structured with a fresh acidity.
Delicious with a slow-roasted shoulder of lamb and gratin dauphinoise; wood-fired pigeon or a warm lentil salad with Portobello mushrooms. To experience the best this wine has to offer, decanting is suggested.
This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.
Cabernet may be its trump card, but the origins of Thelema owe more to the wines of Burgundy than Bordeaux: it was a bottle of Puligny-Montrachet that lured Gyles Webb away from accountancy in Durban to winemaking in Stellenbosch. Armed with a winemaking degree and influenced by travels in Tuscany, Bordeaux and California, Gyles and his wife Barbara – a noted triathlete – bought Thelema, an old fruit farm high on the slopes of the Simonsberg mountain, in 1983.
This is the wilder side of Stellenbosch, where spotted leopards roam the vines and a combination of elevation and eucalyptus trees creates a much-prized style of Cabernet with a distinctively minty freshness. These days Gyles is Cellar Master, with the talented Schultz brothers (Rudi and Werner) responsible for the winemaking and vineyards respectively. But the philosophy remains true to Gyles’ original vision, centred on the principle of what he calls ‘benign neglect’ – minimal fining and filtration, and no use of commercial yeasts in the red wines. True too to the Thelema name, taken from the idealised concept of a new world order imagined by 16th century French monk, physician and writer Rabelais.
For the full data sheet and technical information from the winemakers themselves, click the blue link below.
Viña Falernia is located in the Elqui Valley between La Serena and Vicuña, 520 km (323 miles) to the North of Santiago and it is at present Chile´s nothernmost winery estate. Chile is isolated geographically, with the long and high ridge of the grandiose Andes Mountain Range acting as a barrier to the East, and the deep and immense Pacific Ocean to the West. The vast Atacama Desert to the North and a long chain on rocky islands reaching south to the Antarctic, complete the protective ring. Viña Falernia was founded in 1998 after Aldo Olivier Gramola realised the potential for producing superb wines in this semi-arid valley. The driving force has been his passion for wine and the challenge of transforming a tract of desert into green vineyards with enormous potential. Utilizing the latest technologies, Viña Falernia has succeded in transforming itself into a premium wine producer.
Viña Falernia is highly committed to improving productive processes with the lowest environmental impact in the vineyards and in the winery as well. The winery is located in the Vicuña area and is equipped with state of the art technology. Despite the use of technology throughout the production process, grapes are exclusively hand picked, harvested in small bins of 15 kg each and delivered directly to the winery for processing within minutes of being picked.
To read an excellent information sheet and tasting note about this wine from the winemakers at Falernia, please click on the blue link below.