About Webb Ellis
A wine of finesse and integrity embracing the past, present and future of Neil Ellis Wines.
Neil is one of the doyens of the South African wine industry. He has journeyed from pioneering négociant beginnings in the early 1980’s, seeking out parcels of interesting vines to make exceptional wines under his own name, to a well established family enterprise with a local and international reputation for exceptional elegance and quality. Today the journey of Neil Ellis Wines is not only about Neil Ellis. After 40 years of making wine, the next stage of the journey has begun with Neil’s son, Warren, sharing responsibilities as winemaker and viticulturist.
The newly-launched Webb Ellis wine bridges their way going forward, embracing the past, the present and the future. The wine is symbolic of the sharing of knowledge and wisdom from generation to generation, marrying traditional methods with new techniques, and embodying a spirit of innovation, open mindedness and joint respect.
The wine takes its name from the Ellis and Webb families: Neil’s wife Stephanie’s maiden name is Webb. It honours the journey of Neil Ellis Wines from a solo venture to a highly reputed family business. Stephanie is, and always has been, the pillar of strength in the background, and all three of Neil and Stephanie’s children play an important role in the business: Warren, who graduated in viticulture and oenology and has a MSc in viticulture, is responsible for the vines and winemaking, Charl heads the financial team while Margot looks after the brand and marketing. Neil is the indispensable mentor, guiding career paths and ensuring that the family takes Neil Ellis Wines to the next level.
The Webb Ellis wine is a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Jonkershoek Valley and 35% Syrah from Groenekloof in Darling. This wine spent 20 months in French oak barrels: 80% 1st fill, the balance in 2nd and 3rd fill barrels. “These varietals have a wonderful affinity,” says Warren. “They are perfect partners; both components very generous and showing their best, but neither one dominating. The Shiraz greets you upfront followed by the Cabernet on the mid- and back palate.” Only 780 numbered bottles were produced, with 600 bottles available from the cellar and at a few select specialist wine merchants. Retailing at R1000, a fair price for an exceptional wine with so much heart, this wine was born out of a tenacious and passionate vinous journey. A wine of integrity, produced from vulnerable single vineyards, it will only be produced in perfect vintages and the blend will not be cast in stone.
Webb Ellis Tasting notes
Colour: Deep dense earthy red.
Nose: The aromatics proclaim red and dark fruits with notes of red liquorice and black olives noticeable.
Palate: The palate is seamless, sophisticated and stylish. Combining the structure of Cabernet Sauvignon with the richness of Syrah, the Webb Ellis exemplifies the judicious balance of fruit and oak. Tight, focussed and poised - a multi-dimensional continuum.
Peak drinking: This classically structured, beautifully balanced wine has all the finesse and integrity to develop and evolve with careful cellaring. 2015 - 2025
Neil Ellis Wines are celebrating 40 years of winemaking and 30 years of the Neil Ellis wine label. The first vintage was produced in 2015 in their new home, a state-of-the-art cellar, on the Helshoogte Pass in Stellenbosch.
Back in the 80’s, Neil Ellis became the Capes’ first winemaker to make and sell wine under his own name. Pioneering a Burgundian approach in the Cape, he focussed on producing the best wine possible, in rented cellar space, selecting top quality growers to produce his grapes. Mindful that no single vineyard can satisfy the needs of all grape varieties, Neil Ellis set out to identify distinct sites where individual varieties excel. He developed long-term partnerships with quality-minded growers with exceptional vineyards in specific areas. His search led him to the Jonkershoek in Stellenbosch, to Elgin (he was the first to produce a wine from the cool, non-traditional vineyard area of Elgin), to Darling (he became the first person to release a wine from this region with the Groenekloof Sauvignon Blanc) and to Piekenierskloof in the Cederberg.
The Platter’s Wine Guides over the years clearly highlight Neil as “one of the finest winemakers of his generation”, a trailblazing pioneer who had a significant impact on the industry, “shaking up the conventional Cape wine scene and expanding its horizons”. Neil was the Platter’s Wine Man of the Year in 1992 and has gone on to win several Platter’s 5 star awards in addition to many other local and international awards. Warren Ellis joined Neil in the cellar in 2006 after completing his studies and officially took on the responsibilities of winemaker and viticulturist in 2012.
Today the same philosophy remains the mainstay of Neil Ellis Wines: sourcing superior grape-varieties from low-yielding, hand-picked vineyard lots in the Cape’s top sites to produce distinctive, refined wines that express the inimitable attributes of their terrain. Their best wines are still produced from grapes sourced from the same four areas: Jonkershoek, Elgin, Groenekloof and Piekenierskloof. Neil’s extensive journey has confirmed that “it takes 10 years for a winemaker to get to know a vineyard and only then can he really formulate a winemaking philosophy. It takes another 10 years to fine tune that”.
Visit Neil Ellis Wines on the lower slopes of the Helshoogte Pass in Stellenbosch to taste the Webb Ellis wine as well as the Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection and Premium Range wines, both current 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
Tel: 021 887 0649
GPS Coordinates: Latitude:-33.92526 Longitude: 18.89136