Neil Ellis Cabernet Sauvignon, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2012
Overview of the Wine
In 1986, Neil Ellis took a calculated leap of faith into the wine negociant arena, buying and vinifying grapes from selected vineyards and marketing these hand-reared wines under his own label. Mindful that exceptional terroir and assiduous vineyard cultivation form the bedrock of great wine, Neil forged long-term supply partnerships with top grape-growers in premium areas.
In the very year Neil Ellis set out as a negociant, his future partner Hans Peter Schroder purchased the Stellenbosch wine estate, Oude Nektar, in the spectacular, viticulturally-ideal Jonkershoek Valley. This coincidence gained fresh resonance some years later when Neil and Hans finally met. Neil, recipient of many accolades since flying solo, had outgrown his leased cellar; Hans, in search of a like-minded partner for a quality-focused winery, had extensive cellar facilities. From this synergy emerged a unique joint venture: Neil Ellis Wines.
Neil Ellis Wines differs from most South African wineries in that instead of owning vineyards they have focused on producing the best wine possible and sourcing the grapes from top quality growers. Recognizing that different grape varieties thrive under different soil and climate conditions, from the company's start their philosophy has been to locate those areas that produce a distinctive grape quality and work closely with quality-minded growers in those areas.
Grape / Blend
Stellenbosch, South Africa
This pitch black colored Cabernet Sauvignon from South Africa opens with a blackberry bouquet with hints of black olive and black raspberry. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, slightly acidic and juicy. The flavor profile is a classic South African style. It displays a pleasant boysenberry and black licorice blend with notes of minerality and cedar. The finish is dry and its fruit flavors linger for a bit. I would pair this Cab with Texas-style barbecued beef brisket.