Sam O’Keefe’s Reserve bottling all comes from her picturesque estate in Greyton and is an impressive wine in 2018. The wood is better integrated than it was in the previous release, possibly because of the use of 40% malolactic fermentation. Citrus, pear and passion fruit flavours are supported by minerality, stony acidity and subtle wood spices. Delicious. 2019-25 95/100 Tim Atkin MW
2018 saw drought conditions, which limited incidences of pests or disease. The Lismore vines are dry farmed and with below average rainfall in the region, the microclimate of the Lismore vineyard, which is close to the mountain, came into its own and produced enough water to relieve the parched earth. Despite frost and snow at the beginning of spring, the vines rallied and produced good coverage for berry formation due to the subsequent warm, dry weather and sufficient water supply during flowering. Small berries were produced at harvest with excellent colour and flavour concentration.
Having pioneered a new extreme cool climate region in South Africa, Samantha chose to release an Estate Reserve range to illustrate what the vineyards are capable of. The wines are produced from very low yielding vines. The vineyard is planted at 300 metres above sea level, in the foothills of the Sonderend Mountain Range. The vines are grown in decomposed shale over clay soils and are dry farmed, which contributes to the deep concentration in the wine. Low mean temperatures during February contribute to an extended ripening period, resulting in a harvest period which can be three to four weeks later than traditional wine growing regions in South Africa. The intense citrus notes and the lingering finish are consistent trademarks of Lismore’s specific terroir. The distinctive minerality of this Chardonnay is a clear indication of the cool climate in which it is grown.
The grapes were whole bunch pressed, slowly extracting the juice at a rate of 600 litres per tonne. The juice was cold settled for 48 hours and then racked into 500 litre Burgundian barrels of which 35% were new, for spontaneous and natural fermentation and 11 months’ maturation. Balance was the key to this wine. Tasting Note A stunning example of a restrained, cool climate Chardonnay. Intense citrus aromas and classic soft fruits, jasmine and walnut are layered with honey and vanilla notes. The palate is beautifully balanced with a refreshing, crisp acidity and a distinct minerality. Concentrated and refined, with a crisp, clean citrus finish.
Grape Chardonnay 100%