Thursday, July 19, 2018

Tasting the wines of Neil Ellis at The Stack

Two more trade tastings this week, and both on the same day. The first was Neil Ellis Wines, which was held at The Stack in Gardens and was very well attended. There were lots of wines to sample including some older vintages, for which we are very grateful, as tasting older vintages is very important in judging how a farm's wines mature..

We began at the white table and enjoyed the Neil Ellis 2018 Groenekloof Sauvignon Blanc, a very popular wine, found on many wine lists. We were also fascinated by the 2017 Op Sy Moer (Transl. On Its Lees) a quirky blend of 37% Palomino, 33% Grenache Blanc and 30% Chenin Blanc. It’s a naturally made wine, so it’s a bit cloudy and spritzy, with lots of apple flavours, rather resembling a cider and very enjoyable. The 2017 Whitehall Chardonnay is rather heavy with wood, so needs lots of time and the absolutely delightful Noble Late Harvest Semillon 2016 blew us away. This will win awards. Well done, winemaker Warren Ellis
Charl Ellis was behind one of the tables with the second tier red wines
Warren Ellis, the winemaker, was pouring and talking about the wines on the first red wine table. The Piekenierskloof 2014 Grenache had people talking. Savoury and herbal with juicy fruit, black pepper, mulberries and dark toasted wood. The 2012 Rodanos is still a wine for your cellar; it has rich red berries and chalky tannins, good acid structure and dark toasted wood, while the 2012 Insignium is ready NOW with soft, seductive berry fruit in layers, much appreciated. The 2012 Webb Ellis has violets on the nose from the Petit Verdot addition, spices and cassis are richly layered. The one we liked the most is the cracking Groenekloof 2015 Cinsault. Pale edges and light red, with a typical Cinsault slightly tinny nose, it is juicy, soft and ready right now. Full of rhubarb and mulberry fruit this food wine is so approachable.
On the other table were the Regional wines, these more commercial and less expensive wines of Neil Ellis, many of which you will find on wine lists. The 2017 Aenigma has a pretty nose, elegance, incense wood, soft sweet fruit and is easy drinking. The 2016 Syrah is fairly classic with lots of pepper on the nose. The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend is pretty, floral, spicy with cassis and mulberries and is soft and sweet, with wood on the end. The 2015 Cabernet is shy on the nose and has some interesting fruit flavours
Nice to have the time to sit and savour the wines for your wine list!
Neil Ellis is represented by Vinimark nationally. This is Andrew Baker and Gemma Botha
Blonde bombshells all: PRO Posy Hazell, Wine Merchant Caroline Rillema and Sarah Revell who represents Vinimark
And finally, Neil Ellis himself on the vintage table. The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc from Elgin was amazing. Yes, you can definitely keep and enjoy older white wines, if they are correctly stored*. Full of asparagus and green pepper on the nose, balanced by good crisp acidity and fruit in wonderful layers of flavour, this wine keeps on giving. The 2005 Jonkershoek Syrah has Incense wood, notes of spice, pepper and soft sweet berry fruit, with dark toasted wood on the end. This would be so enjoyable with good meat dishes. The 2004 Syrah is complex, fruity, spicy and the pretty nose draws you in to the velvety wine with a follow through of softened oak. The 2010 Grenache has savoury herb notes with some bruléed caramel on the nose. Alcohol is still playing a part and the lovely palate has sour plums and mulberries that go so well with food.
*In a cool, dark environment with minimal temperature fluctuation
The two older Sauvignons Blanc
The Neil Ellis family at the tasting. L to R Charl, Margot, Neil and Warren Ellis. A great wine family. Thank you, it was a very informative and enjoyable tasting. Great to see what you are doing

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