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 Whitehall Chardonnay 2015 - a single vineyard limited release from the Elgin Valley. The Whitehall Chardonnay forms part of the Neil Ellis Terrain Specific 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 Elgin. It was Neil Ellis who released the very first wine certified Wine of Origin Elgin in 1990 - it was a Sauvignon Blanc. He followed with the first Chardonnay certified Wine of Origin Elgin in 1994. Both these wines were produced from premium vineyard sites on the Whitehall farm in Elgin, owned at the time by Henry Hall and his wife Di White – thus the name Whitehall.
The Neil Ellis Whitehall Chardonnay 2015 is an elegant Burgundian-style Chardonnay. In naming the wine, Neil paid tribute to his friendship with Henry Hall and the excellent Whitehall vines that produced the first highly-acclaimed Wine of Origin Elgin wines and spearheaded wine industry interest in the cool-climate possibilities of the area.
Neil Ellis Whitehall Chardonnay 2015
Vineyards: The Neil Ellis Wines philosophy is to craft Chardonnay of great purity, reflecting site and the season in which it was grown. Meticulous attention and care in the vineyard is most critical in allowing that expression. Elgin is one of the Cape’s coolest wine growing areas with favourable climatic, soil and topographic conditions. This vineyard is positioned on south-facing slopes of which the soil is mainly white mineral sandstone and quartz on a clay sub-base. The vines are trellised and have access to supplementary irrigation.
Winemaking: The grapes were whole bunch pressed on a Champagne pressing cycle and using only the cuvée. 100% barrel fermented; using 20% new 228 litre fine-grained French oak barrels and the rest in 2nd and 3rd fill oak barrels. A small percentage of malolactic fermentation was allowed to complete. The wine spent 9 months in 228 litre French oak barrels.
Tasting notes: The Neil Ellis Whitehall Chardonnay is light golden green in colour with very youthful lime and melon aromatics, and gorgeous ripe citrus notes. This elegant Burgundian-style Chardonnay offers great texture, mouth-feel and freshness. It has a restrained mineral edge, with superbly integrated oak, balanced richness and length.
Accolades: This wine recently received a 91 point rating from Tim Atkin in his South African Wine Report.
Serving suggestion: Freshly shucked oysters, butternut soup, poached salmon with a Hollandaise sauce, sage butter chicken, grilled linefish with lemon butter sauce, coronation chicken, grilled crayfish or prawns, perfect with your Christmas turkey, also delicious with crème brûlée or a platter of soft cheeses.
Suggested retail price: R225
Neil Ellis Chardonnays
Neil Ellis Wines also produce a second Chardonnay, the Neil Ellis Elgin Chardonnay, a multi-vineyard blend which forms part of the Neil Ellis Regional Range.
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, assuming responsibilities as winemaker and viticulturist. This well established family enterprise, with a local and international reputation for exceptional elegance and quality, has a stylish 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.
Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 10h00 - 16h30; Saturdays and Public Holidays 10h00 - 17h00; Closed on Sundays
Cheese and Charcuterie Platters: R120 to share