A Fitting Testament to an Unwavering Philosophy
Neil Ellis’s steadfast focus, on sourcing superior grape varieties from low-yielding, hand-picked vineyard lots in the Cape’s best sites, continues to manifest its merit with a steady stream of prominent awards for Neil Ellis Wines.
Two recent Gold Medals at the 2017 International Wine Challenge (IWC) in London: for the Neil Ellis Whitehall Chardonnay 2015 (maiden vintage from a single vineyard in Elgin) and the Neil Ellis Jonkershoek Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (new vintage release from Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch) are the latest in a long line of prestigious accolades affirming Neil’s ability to track down some of the best vineyard parcels in the country and turn them into outstanding wines; a fitting testament to an unwavering philosophy.
Celebrating more than 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, led him to the Jonkershoek in Stellenbosch, to the cool non-traditional vineyard areas of Elgin and Darling, and to Piekenierskloof in the Cederberg. Today the same philosophy remains the mainstay of Neil Ellis Wines. Their best wines are still produced from grapes sourced from the same four areas: Jonkershoek, Elgin, Groenekloof and Piekenierskloof.
The emergence of Elgin as premium Chardonnay terroir was clearly demonstrated at the Decanter South African Chardonnay Panel Tasting earlier this year, when Elgin producers dominated with five of the top seven wines, including the Neil Elis Whitehall Chardonnay with a whopping 95 point rating. And Stellenbosch distinctly led the way in the recent Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report, producing 14 of the top 15 Cabernets, including both the Neil Ellis Regional Stellenbosch 2014 Cabernet and the Terrain Specific Jonkershoek 2014 Cabernet (joint first with 92 points).
NEIL ELLIS WHITEHALL CHARDONNAY 2015 – TERRAIN SPECIFIC RANGE (Maiden Vintage)
Neil Ellis 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.
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.
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, also delicious with crème brûlée or a platter of soft cheeses.
Retail price: ±R225 per bottle
- International Wine Challenge 2017: Gold Medal
- Decanter South African Chardonnay Panel Tasting April 2017: An outstanding 95 point rating
In his Expert Summary, Tim Atkin MW commented: “The tasting was dominated by Elgin, which supplied five of our seven top wines. When you consider that its plantings of Chardonnay account for only 1.48% of the national total, its dominance was even more impressive.”
- Tim Atkin’s 2016 South African Wine Report: 91 points
NEIL ELLIS JONKERSHOEK CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2014 – TERRAIN SPECIFIC RANGE (New Vintage Release)
Over the years Stellenbosch has proven to be the most successful area in South Africa for producing great Cabernet, with the higher elevations and textured soils of the Jonkershoek Valley being ideal.
Tasting Notes: This is the signature Cabernet Sauvignon of Neil Ellis Wines with all the hallmarks of the Jonkershoek Valley. Known for its classical structure and perfect balance of elegance and fruit power, it has complex aromas of blue and black small berry fruit with cedar notes and touches of mint. The palate is smooth and plush with a savoury expression, fine but dense tannins and restrained complexity from expertly handled all-new 18 month oak maturation.
Serving suggestion: Matured rib-eye steak with bordelaise sauce, rosemary-braised lamb shanks, sticky barbeque ribs, filet mignon with rich balsamic glaze, moussaka, lamb tagine, roasted duck breast, cabernet-braised venison, grilled lamb chops, also perfect with a char-grilled burger with mushrooms and blue cheese, braised oxtail, vegetarian lasagne or mushroom risotto with parmesan.
Retail price: The Neil Ellis Jonkershoek Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 was released on 1st July 2017, and is available for purchase at the estate, online at www.neilellis.com, and nationally at leading wine merchants. Recommended retail price: R350 per bottle
- International Wine Challenge 2017: Gold Medal
- Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report 2017: Joint first place with 92 points
Neil Ellis Wines’ reputation as one of SA’s leading Cabernet producers was re-affirmed when both their Terrain Specific and Regional 2014 Cabernet Sauvignons were highlighted in the 2017 Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report. The Neil Ellis Jonkerskoek Cabernet 2014 was awarded joint first place with 92 points, and the Neil Ellis Stellenbosch Cabernet 2014, with 90 points, was among the Top 15 Cabernets.
- co.za’s 10 Year Old Wine Awards 2017: Top-scoring Cabernet with a 91-point rating
The staying power of Neil Ellis Jonkershoek Cabernet was highlighted at Winemag.co.za’s 10 Year Old Wine Awards 2017 when the Neil Ellis Jonkershoek Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 was the top-scoring Cabernet with a 91-point rating.
These accolades follow a long line of praise for Neil Ellis Cabernet Sauvignon, including 14 Veritas Double Gold or Gold Awards since 1999. The pinnacle South African wine accolade, a 5-star rating in the Platter’s wine guide, has been awarded four times to the Neil Ellis Jonkershoek Cabernet (previously called Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon). Internationally, the Neil Ellis Cabernets have also garnered widespread acclaim, regularly receiving venerable 90+ ‘outstanding’ ratings from renowned wine critics like Tim Atkin (British Master of Wine), Jamie Goode (UK-based wine writer, author and blogger), US-based wine critic Stephen Tanzer and highly-acclaimed US wine magazines like Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast and Wine & Spirits.
NEIL ELLIS WINES
Neil Ellis Wines have journeyed from a solo venture to a highly-reputed family business with the next generation at the helm. Warren Ellis, who graduated in viticulture and oenology and has a MSc in viticulture, has taken over the reigns as winemaker with great skill, and is ideally equipped to carry forward the legacy of his legendary father. And with Neil playing a mentoring role and helping with strategic decisions, the future of Neil Ellis Wines is poised to go from strength to strength.
Neil Ellis Wines, 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
Tel: 021 887 0649