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Neil Ellis CIWG Shiraz 1996

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Just one of the attractions at The Sheik's Palace.
Just one of the attractions at The Sheik's Palace.

Google Neil Ellis CIWG Shiraz 1996 and seemingly the only reference online to it is as an item available from The Sheikh’s Palace, the Lebanese restaurant in Rivonia, Gauteng. In addition to Hubbly Bubbly and belly dancers, the restaurant features a top selection of wines, it having won a platinum award at the 2010 Diners Club Winelist Awards announced recently.

If you are inclined to see what the Neil Ellis (sold on auction when what is today the Cape Winemakers Guild included the word “Independent” in its moniker) is looking like 14 years after vintage, then you will have to pay R700 a bottle for it at Sheikh’s Palace. Last night, I discovered what appeared to be the last bottle in my late dad’s cellar and can give you my thoughts accordingly.

The nose of the wine proved excellent, very typical of the variety with red and black fruit, spice and just a hint of secondary character meatiness.  The palate was not quite as impressive: the wine showed good fruit and tannins which were still surprisingly firm but what jarred was a rather tart acidity, the result of added tartaric I suspect. Even so, I’m sure the wine cost a lot less than R700 a bottle when my old man originally bought it and it had more than paid rent in the cellar.

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