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, received a coveted 5-Star rating in the 2018 Platter’s South African Wine Guide for their Bottelary Pinotage 2015 (one of only four Pinotage wines to be awarded this pinnacle rating), bringing up the estate’s total of 5-Star awards to date to ten.
This achievement follows hot-on-the-heels of a 93-point rating (on the 100-point quality scale) in Tim Atkin’s 2017 South Africa Special Report as well as a 2017 Absa Top 10 Pinotage award. In fact, three Neil Ellis Pinotage wines ranked amongst the judges’ favourites at the Top 10 competition: Neil Ellis Vineyard Selection Jonkershoek Pinotage 2007 was the Museum Class Winner and the Neil Ellis Stellenbosch Pinotage 2015 was a Top 21 Finalist.
Celebrating 30 years of the Neil Ellis wine label, Neil Ellis has always sought out distinct sites where individual varieties excel, where the interaction of soil, topography and climate suit them best.
In the vineyard: The well-established 20-year-old bush vine vineyards with access to supplementary irrigation are grown on decomposed granite on south-west facing slopes.
In the cellar: Fermentation initiated in stainless steel tanks. The crushed grapes underwent a series of pump-overs and punch-downs after which the wine was racked off to barrel to complete alcoholic fermentation. Malolactic fermentation took place in barrels. This wine spent 16 months in 50% new French oak barrels, the balance in 2nd fill and older.
Tasting notes: It has a deep dark colour reflective of the vintage. This multi-faceted wine shows dark plum, cherry and blackberry fruit touched by elegant floral and dark chocolate notes. The palate shows freshness with chalky fine-grained tannins.
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, sharing responsibilities as winemaker and viticulturist. Visit this well-established family enterprise, with a local and international reputation for exceptional elegance and quality, at their state-of-the-art cellar on the lower slopes of the Helshoogte Pass in Stellenbosch.