Lismore new releases

By , 28 November 2023

That Samantha O’Keefe of Lismore, who lost home, cellar and most of her vineyards to fire in late 2019, continues to make such accomplished wines is truly remarkable. New to the range is the Cuvée Blanc 2022, mainly from Roussanne, these vines cut back to just above the graft after the blaze to coax them back to life – the resulting wine is a triumph. Tasting notes and ratings for the new releases as follows:

Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc 2022
Price: R250
Grapes from Elgin, Greyton and Stanford. Matured for 11 months, 70% in big-format barrels and 30% in concrete eggs. Peach, naartjie plus a hint of blackcurrant to go with some waxy complexity and a hint of flinty reduction on the nose while the palate has excellent depth of fruit, tangy acidity and finish that dry and pithy in texture. Surprisingly rich given an alcohol of just 12.3% but wonderfully balanced at the same time.

CE’s rating: 95/100.

Chenin Blanc 2022
Price: R320
50% of grapes from Stanford and 50% from Bot River. Matured for 11 months in 500-litre barrels, 15% new. Pear, peach, naartjie, some waxy character and oak spice on the nose. Rich and flavourful on the palate with moderate acidity and savoury, slightly bitter finish. Alcohol is 13.5% and this is quite a bit more forceful than the previous vintage.

CE’s rating: 92/100.

The Age of Grace Viognier 2022
Price: R250
Grapes from Bot River, Elgin and Overberg. Matured for 11 months, 85% in big-format barrels and 15% in concrete eggs. The nose is rather shy with subtle notes of white peach, floral perfume and herbs while the palate is unshowy, the alcohol of 14% not particularly evident – good focus and fresh, the finish nicely dry.

CE’s rating: 91/100.

Chardonnay 2022
Price: R320
Grapes from Greyton, Upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and Kaaimansgat. Matured in mainly older 300-litre barrels. Peach, citrus and oatmeal on the nose while the palate is medium bodied with fresh acidity and a gently savoury finish. Understated and balanced, this is a quintessential example of modern SA Chardonnay.

CE’s rating: 91/100.

Estate Reserve Cuvée Blanc 2022
Price: R650
90% Roussanne, the rest Chardonnay and Viognier.  Matured for 11 months in 500-litre barrels, 10% new. The nose is complex with a potpourri top note sitting above green plum, peach and orange plus hints of waxiness and spice. The palate has a real succulence about it – excellent fruit purity and punchy acidity. Not without weight but beautifully poised, the finish possessing some light phenolic grip.

CE’s rating: 96/100.

Estate Reserve Chardonnay 2022
Price: R650
Matured for 11 months in 500-litre barrels, 30% new. Struck-match reduction before peach, lemon and some leesy complexity on the nose. The palate has big volume despite an alcohol of just 12.5% – extraordinary fruit concentration but equally not shortage of freshness, a subtle dryness to the finish. A particularly opulent, powerful vintage.

CE’s rating: 94/100.

Estate Reserve Viognier 2022
Price: R650
From own vineyards that escaped the fire. Matured for 11 months in 300-litre barrels, 20% new. Peach, apricot, potpourri, dried herbs and spice plus some slight nutty, waxy notes on the nose. The palate is rich but balanced and full of flavour – dense fruit before a dry finish. Not the same freshness as 2021 but plenty of character.

CE’s rating: 93/100.

Syrah 2021
Price: R420
Grapes from Elgin, Greyton and Stanford. 50% whole-bunch fermentation before maturation in 500-litre barrels, 15% new. Red and black berries, floral perfume, cured meat, liquorice, earth and white pepper on the nose before a palate that has concentrated fruit, bright acidity and crunchy tannins, the finish long and dry. Alc: 13%.

CE’s rating: 94/100.

Estate Reserve Syrah 2021
Price: R980
50% whole-bunch fermentation The nose shows red berries, a hint of orange, rose, fynbos and white pepper while the palate is delicate and fine, energetic and lithe – pure fruit, bright acidity and powdery tannins. Alc: 12%.

CE’s rating: 95/100.

Check out our South African wine ratings database.


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