Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bountiful Garden

Tuesday we spent taking in the sights and tastes of Greyton - a leisurely two-hour drive if you stop at one one of the famous "farm stalls" like Houw Hoek or Dassiesfontein along the way, or one and a half if not. We started out with the most glorious wine-tasting at Lismore Estate Vineyards about 7 kms from the village of Greyton. This is a fairytale estate owned and run by the capable and utterly charming Samantha O'Keefe (centre) who hails from California and is the wine maker too. All has not been a bed of ro ... er ... cabernet though, and you can read about her early days here. After years of hard work and courageous decisions, it deserves its name Lismore which is Gaelic for 'bountiful garden".
Seated around a large table on the veranda of Samantha's beautiful home on the edge of the mountain, with views that sweep almost to the sea on the far distant horizon, we settled in for a morning of heavenly wine and fascinating conversation about the intricacies of making wine and cider in this youngest of the Cape's wine districts.
These cool climate vineyards are perfect for white wines like 2009 Lismore Sauvignon Blanc with its passion-flower and gooseberry notes on the palate and the gorgeous whole bunch basket pressed and barrel fermented 2008 Lismore Chardonnay with citrus and honey crisp acidity. My favourite white was the 2009 Lismore Viognier with its dried apricot flavour and the most amazing lingering citrus aftertaste. Here, where the vines are not irrigated and the harvest is not fiddled with to produce a taste that is exactly the same as the previous year's wine, each harvest produces a distinct wine that captures the essence of the season passed. Listening to Samantha's soft Californian accent, I could understand why wine journalists go so soppy and romantic about wine!
Anyway, the reds were next, and the 2006 Lismore "The Long Road" Red proved to be a delicious "easy drinking" shiraz (syrah) and Cab Sav blend(75/25). The 2006 Lismore Syrah was spectacular - its smooth and silky cherry and chocolate/tobacco and leather undertones nearly causing me to forget my resolve not to drink too much before the drive home.
But enough for now! Up in the hills of the Riviersonderend mountains you can just see Samantha's beautiful home. She used to make the wine in the cellars under the house, but space soon ran out, and she now makes it in Elgin.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a wonderful spot for a wine tasting break!