Tucked into the foothills of a dramatic mountain range at the bottom of Africa is Lismore Estate Vineyards. Californian Samantha O'Keefe has found paradise and the perfect terroir. Her passion combined with vines planted at 300 meters, chilled by the winter snow and nourished by the African summer sun, produce classic cool climate wines which are rich, complex and lovingly hand crafted.
Lismore Estate Vineyards
The Overberg region is rapidly earning a reputation for premium cool climate grapes. Greyton has now been designated a ward within that district recognizing the unique terroir expression of the wine that is produced there. Lismore is the only registered wine estate in the Greyton ward. Lismore's vineyards are planted on slopes at the base of the Riviersonderend Mountain Range. The combination of elevation and climate make for an extended ripening period which is roughly 3-4 weeks later than the more traditional wine growing areas in the Western Cape. There are a total of 12.5 ha planted with Chardonnay, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier.
Lismore Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc is made from 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc.
Floral notes of passion flower and fynbos, granadilla, gooseberry and pear on the palate along with an underlying minerality which gives this unique terroir driven wine its signature.
"It wasn't easy to make world class Sauvignon Blancs in a vintage like 2018, but Sam O'Keefe managed it with some style. This is an equal blend of grapes from Greyton and Walker Bay with fermentation in concrete eggs and 500-litre wood, showing notes of kelp and rock pools, with stylish gunflint and grapefruit overtones. 2019-25 Cape South Coast (13%)" - Tim Atkin (South Africa 2019 Special Report), 95 pts
Lismore Estate Reserve Viognier is made from 100 percent Viognier.
This a Greyton WO.
Balance is the key to this wine. Viognier is an aromatic and generous varietal, it benefits from barrel maturation and lees contact with a fuller mouth feel and increased texture. This combined with the firm acid backbone and intense fruit will allow this wine to integrate beautifully and gain further complexity over the next 3-5 years.
Rich, lush and decadent. Viognier is a gorgeous variety. Honeysuckle, peaches and dried apricot with a lingering citrus finish. A clean fresh acidity supports the extravagance of the nose and the palate.
Viognier, a traditional Rhone variety is perfectly suited to Lismore’s cool-climate terrior. The vineyard block is on decomposed shale and one of the healthiest and well balanced on the farm. The entire team looks forward to the Viognier harvest and the beautiful amber tinged berries.
The grapes were picked at optimal ripeness and whole bunch pressed, slowly extracting the juice at a rate of 500ltrs per ton. The juice was settled for 48 hours and was racked into burgundian barriques (1st fill) for fermentation and maturation. The wine was left on the lees with regular “batonnage” for 11 months.
Lighter styles are often paired with curries and the like. This Viognier is different. We recommend medium bodied meals that are intense and complex. For example:
- Sesame encrusted tuna marinated in a blend of orange, lemon and lime juice spiced with sesame oil and balsamic vinegar – seared on a wood fired grill and served with griddled vegetables, or
- Free range duck breast smoked with Darjeeling tea and coriander leaves. Set on a cinnamon poached pear glazed with a gooseberry jus.
In both of these dishes, the fruit and floral aspects of the wine are complimented by the exotic and aromatic elements in the dish which are also highlighted by the spiciness from the oak fermentation; the fresh acidity freshens the palate, and yet the Lismore Viognier has the body to hold up against the weight of the duck or the tuna. It is also gorgeous with a well laid cheese platter.
"One of two Lismore estate Viogniers reviewed in my 2019 report, this comes from a 0.3-hectare block that was planted 13 years ago. Rich, complex and concentrated, it has pear and apricot fruit, a hint of nectarine and a patina of vanilla and cinnamon spice. 2019-23 Greyton (14%)" - Tim Atkin (South Africa 2019 Special Report), 94 pts
Lismore Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir
Complex bouquet of crushed rose petals, wild jasmine and fresh French herbs followed by a palate full of cranberry, raspberry and a long savory finish.
The grapes were picked at optimal ripeness. 30% whole bunch fermented in large 5000 liter vats with gentle pump-overs twice a day. The process allowed for a long extraction period which lends to the fruit expression and structure of this wine. The free run wine was drained off and the fermented grapes were then pressed in a traditional wooden basket press. The wine was racked into 225, 300 and 500 liter barrels where malolactic fermentation took place and the wine was aged for 10 months. 35% new French oak was used.
"The 2018 Pinot Noir comes from Walker Bay and Kaaimansgat and includes 30% whole-bunch fruit, aged for 11 months in 25% new oak. The bouquet sports vivid red cherry and raspberry fruit that is exceptionally well defined and beautifully integrated with the oak. The palate is medium-bodied with supple tannins, well-judged acidity and a slightly fleshy texture. There is just the right amount of salinity here, and the finish is kept on a tight leash, allowing the detail and precision to be fully expressed. A slight sour edge on the finish keeps you coming back for another sip. Excellent and reassuringly classy. - Neal Martin" - Antonio Galloni's Vinous (November 2019), 92 pts
"Walker Bay and Elandskloof are the twin sources of 30% whole bunch-fermented Pinot from Sam O'Keefe. Juicy, floral and charming, it's a graceful, fruit forward style with some clove and tobacco spice and refreshing acidity. The finish is a little firmer than I remember. 2020-24"- Tim Atkin (South Africa 2020 Special Report), 92 pts
Cassis, blackberry and cherry. White pepper, ground herbs and the strong floral perfume of crushed violets. Light and elegant, but structured with fresh acidity.
40% Whole bunch ferment in small open vats. 60% destemmed and fermented in a 5000 ltr wooden fermenter with gentle pigeage (punch down of the cap) throughout. Pressed in a traditonal wooden basket press and racked into a 3000 litre oak vat for 9 months.
"The 2015 has sold out so quickly that Sam O’Keefe is already on to the 2016, which is every bit as good and less funky. Bloody, rich and stony, this is focused, concentrated and well balanced, showing a lick of new oak, dark, brooding fruit flavours and a twist of white pepper. 2019-26. - Tim Atkin"
- Tim Atkin Master of Wine (SA Special Report 2016), 95 pts+ REDS - WINES OF THE YEAR 2017
Betz Family La Serenne Syrah is 100% Syrah
La Serenne is the most reflective of the site/vintage dynamic of our three single-site 2012 Syrahs. Lovers of this wine know that its source, the Boushey Vineyard, is the highest altitude of the three vineyards and is typically the latest harvested. This cool site was accentuated by the cooler season and the results reflect the seriousness of this vineyard and its care.
An extraordinary, nearly impenetrable black purple color leads to a concentrated, inky aromatic impression: smoky black cherry and wild blackberry dominate, but a litany of supporting aromas is already emerging: smoke, violet, mushroom, roasted meat, Chinese 5 spice and minerals. It has a full attack on entry and a big, rich mouthfeel that goes on and on.
2012 is our 13th harvest from this site and these rows. We continue to be impressed with the chameleon nature of this vineyard, in cool years and hot, in heat spikes and cool springs: it provides us with surprises and opportunities at every harvest. While the themes of deep black fruits and pliant structure always surface, the nuance of this vineyard and its care (thank you, Dick Boushey) make it some of the most satisfying fruit we work with every harvest.
"The pure, elegant and textured 2014 Syrah la Serenne offers that classic violet and floral characteristics of the cuvee, as well as medium to full-bodied richness, lots of black raspberry fruit, fine, sweet tannin and a great finish. It’s not as powerful or concentrated as the La Cote Rousse, yet it’s a joy to drink and will cruise for a decade or more on its balance and purity. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #225, June 2016), 93 pts
A remarkable wine for the year, the 2017 Opus One is a dense, full-throttle beauty. Plush fruit and soft, silky contours give the 2017 its racy personality. Exotic, beautifully perfumed and impeccable in its balance, Opus One is one of the most complete wines of the vintage. In 2017, Opus One has a distinctly red-toned fruit profile that distinguishes it from the surrounding vintages.
-- Antonio Galloni 95+ Points
Opus One had picked 91% of their fruit before the fires started in 2017, and only two lots were eliminated from consideration. The 2017 Opus One, bottled in July 2019, is a blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8.5% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4.5% Merlot and 1% Malbec. Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, it slowly grows on the nose, revealing compelling notes of baked black cherries, mulberries, black raspberries, warm cassis and blackberry pie with nuances of spice cake, yeast extract, tapenade, licorice and dusty soil with a waft of wild sage. Medium-bodied, the palate has a lively skip in its step, featuring bags of juicy raspberry and cassis-laced fruit and a refreshing line, supported by ripe, plush tannins, finishing long and graceful. -Wine Advocate 95 Points