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Lismore Viognier 2012

Lismore's Samantha O'Keefe.
Lismore’s Samantha O’Keefe.

When US-born Samantha O’Keefe was considering acquiring property in then untried Greyton with a view to growing vines back in 2004, she took advice from Peter Finlayson of Bouchard Finlayson, who said “If you succeed, you will be considered a pioneer and if you fail, no-one will care.”

Today O’Keefe farms 12ha of grapes and produces 40 000 bottles of wine a year. Greyton has been officially recognised in terms of the Wine of Origin scheme since 2009 and Lismore is attracting favourable reviews from international critics.

The current-release wines indeed show real finesse and personality with the Viognier 2012 deserving special mention as the best example I’ve ever tasted from South Africa, a wine that can easily stand next to something like The Foundry Grenache Blanc 2012.

Lismore Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2011
Price: R120
White peach through granadilla plus a hint of white pepper. Great fruit expression and nicely coated acidity. Wonderfully refreshing and easy to drink but possesses a gracefulness worthy of contemplation.
Score: 92/100.

Lismore Chardonnay 2011
Price: R165
A touch of blossom on the nose. Citrus, white peach, some roasted almonds and subtle vanilla on the palate before a pithy finish. Delicate and restrained.
Score: 89/100.

Lismore Viognier 2012
Price: R180
There’s peach and spice as you’d expect on the nose and palate but it’s the architecture of the wine which impresses. Thick but not oily or unctuous in texture, possessing a sort of creamy sweetness, with punchy acidity lending balance. Weightless intensity.
Score: 93/100.

Lismore Syrah 2011
Price: R180
Inlcudes 2% Viognier. A pretty wine showing red fruit, spice and fynbos. Perhaps a bit too slight but its freshness and fine tannins appeal.
Score: 88/100.


  1. Have to concur. This was a remarkable example of South African Viognier. A complete wine, beautifully dry with a fine palate. My other favourite is the Barrel Fermented Sauv Blanc, which is a super food wine.

  2. The tasting notes are very good. Texture and structure are impressive on all the wines. Samantha is getting the positive credits she and her wines deserve. Both are world class.

  3. bravo!! greatly deserved praise… Sam’s wines are all terrific… the Viognier positively shines… certainly the best example from the Cape… by some margin.

  4. The Lismore Viognier 2012, one of the best kept secrets in SA. Luckily we found it. Up with the best Condrieu and even better than most of them. Great wine!! The lowest score at our winetasting club was 16/20.


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