Californian Samantha O’Keefe has found paradise and the perfect terroir. 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.
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.
70% of the grapes came from Stanford, Walker Bay and 30% from Elgin, both in the cool climate region Cape South Coast. The vines are all Burgundian, clone 115. The Stanford vineyard is close to the southernmost tip of Africa and is located in one of South Africa’s coolest wine producing regions. The maritime vineyard enjoys a long ripening season, because of the strong cooling winds that are prevalent in the summer. This microclimate is ideal for creating a long hang time, concentrating the flavours in the berries, while retaining natural acidity levels. Elgin is situated at 400 metres above sea level and ripens even later then the coastal vineyard. The vines here, planted in shale and clay soils, produce fleshier fruit, adding weight to the blend.
Harvest took place when the fruit had reached optimal maturity and it was carefully sorted. 30% of the grapes were left as whole bunches. Fermentation took place in 5,000 litre vats with gentle pump-overs twice per day; a long extraction period imparted the pure fruit expression and structure to this wine. The free-run wine was drained off and the fermented grapes were then pressed in a traditional wooden basket press. It was racked into 225, 300 and 500 litre barrels where malolactic fermentation took place and the wine was aged for 10 months. 35% new French oak was used.
An elegant Pinot Noir delivering a complex bouquet of crushed rose petals, wild jasmine and fresh French herbs. The palate shows beautiful purity with layered red fruits, cranberry, raspberry, silky tannins and a long, savoury finish.
Pinot Noir 100%.
Cape South Coast
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