When I ask Neil Ellis if the Webb Ellis 2010 is the best wine to have ever come out of his cellar, he thinks for a while and then says, “To me, it’s more about emotion”.
The wine has nothing to do with the Rugby World Cup and nor is it a collaboration with Gyles Webb of Thelema. Instead, the “Webb” in the title is a reference to the maiden name of Ellis’s wife Stephanie, the intention behind the undertaking being to celebrate the handing over of wisdom and experience from generation to generation, Ellis’s son Warren also involved in winemaking here.
It’s a blend of 65% Jonkershoek Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Groenekloof Syrah , the former component spending 20 months in 100% new oak and the latter 18 months in older oak. Total production was a mere 780 bottles and it sells for R1 000 a bottle from the cellar.
The nose shows red and black fruit, a subtle leafiness from the Cab plus spice and smoked meat from the Syrah. It’s hugely concentrated but by no means overdone – there’s plenty of freshness here and the tannins are firm but fine. Seamlessly assembled, it has front, back and side palate – Cab-Shiraz blends are somewhat unusual in the South African context but this wine demonstrates the particular affinity which the two varieties seem to have.