Neil Ellis Wines, whose focus has always been, and always will be, on sourcing superior grape-varieties from low-yielding, hand-picked vineyard lots in the Cape’s best sites, have released their maiden Vineyard Selection Cinsaut Noir produced from grapes grown on a hilltop in the Groenekloof ward in the West Coast Darling district. The Cinsaut Noir forms part of the Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection Limited Release Range which demonstrates the distinctiveness of specific vineyard sites, and represents the finest quality.
Celebrating 30 years of the Neil Ellis wine label, Neil Ellis has always sought out distinct sites where individual varieties excel. His search for the best grapes, grown in the best areas where the interaction of soil, topography and climate suit them best, saw him pioneering the planting and sourcing of grapes from cooler, relatively unknown regions of the Cape, such as Groenekloof. Neil Ellis started using grapes from Darling in 1986 and became the first person to release a wine from this area with his Groenekloof Sauvignon Blanc in 1991, spearheading wine industry interest in the cool-climate possibilities of the area. Initially renowned for exceptional sauvignon blanc, today, wines with excellent flavour expressions are also being produced from other cultivars in the Groenekloof ward. Neil Ellis Wines subsequently released their maiden 2012 Groenekloof Shiraz in 2014, followed by their maiden 2012 Groenekloof Cinsaut in 2015, both distinctive, refined wines that express the inimitable attributes of their terrain.
NEIL ELLIS VINEYARD SELECTION CINSAUT NOIR 2012
The grapes for the Cinsaut 2012 were sourced from three hectares of south-west facing 40-year-old low-yielding bush vines, situated on a hilltop, in the Groenekloof ward in the Darling Hills. This series of granitic outcrops with ancient soils runs parallel to the ocean and rises up to 385 metres above sea level. The vineyards are only 8 km from the cold southern Atlantic Ocean with its cool, prevailing south-westerly winds. Cooling afternoon breezes, along with regular ocean fogs, bring relief and refreshment to the grapes and help to lengthen the ripening season, thus ensuring maximum aroma development and allowing the grapes to retain acidity while developing complex fruit flavours. The stronger south-easterly winds restrict the growth of vegetation in the vines and cause them to grow smaller berries with thicker skins. This, as well as dryland farming, where the vines are not irrigated, contributes to deeper colour and complexity in the resultant wine. The region's red soils, made of decomposed granite, retain enough water to keep the vines hydrated during the growing season.
The harvest season was characterised by healthy, ideal growing conditions and a cool, though lengthened, harvesting period without rain or prolonged heat. Days were moderate in temperature with cool evenings which resulted in excellent ripening conditions. Harvest commenced on 8 March.
Grapes were hand-picked, de-stemmed and crushed. The mash was cooled and transferred to open-top fermenters and underwent a series of punch-downs before completion of fermentation. Malolactic fermentation took place in older, 500 litre French vats. This wine spent 18 months in 20% 1st-fill and the balance in 4th-fill and older 500 litre barrels.
Deep crimson in colour, this wine portrays a complex mix of fruit, most notably red-fruits, as well as spicy notes. Further interest beckons via notes of black tea and subtle oak. The palate is bright and youthful, rich and full, with black cherry and engaging fruit-tart flavours. Fine grained tannins add to the serious structure.
This wine recently received venerable 90+ ‘outstanding’ ratings from two renowned, independent critics from two continents: Tim Atkin (93 points), British Master of Wine, and Stephen Tanzer (90 points), American wine writer.
Serving suggestion: Loin of Karoo Lamb, Venison Carpaccio
Suggested retail price: R275
VISIT NEIL ELLIS WINES
Today the journey of Neil Ellis Wines is not only about Neil. After 40 years of making wine and 30 years of the Neil Ellis wine label, the next stage of the journey has begun with Neil’s son, Warren, sharing responsibilities as winemaker and viticulturist. The well established family enterprise, with a local and international reputation for exceptional elegance and quality, has a new home, a state-of-the-art cellar on the lower slopes of the Helshoogte Pass in Stellenbosch, where their first vintage was vinified in 2015.
Visit Neil Ellis Wines to taste and purchase the Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection and Premium Range wines, both current wines and older vintages from the vinoteque.
Tasting Room Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 10h00 - 16h30; Saturdays and Public Holidays 10h00 - 17h00; Closed on Sundays
Cheese and Charcuterie Platters: R99 to share
GPS Coordinates: Latitude:-33.92526 Longitude: 18.89136