On Tuesday, December 17th, we received news that Lismore Estate Vineyards, owned by renowned winemaker Samantha O'Keefe, suffered a devastating loss from a wildfire in the Greyton area of South Africa. The raging fire has destroyed their home, winery & vineyards, and claimed the life of one of Samantha's dogs.
Our deepest condolences go out to Samantha, her family & her team. Samantha, originally from Los Angeles, began building her winery and home in the early 2000's. After years of hard work developing her estate, Samantha completed her first harvest in 2008. The next few years proved difficult, with a sudden divorce and global recession, but in 2012, her wines garnered the attention of Neal Martin & received well-deserved acclaim. In 2014, Kysela began importing & distributing Lismore wines throughout the United States, which continue to receive consistently high ratings each vintage. In 2018, Samantha was inducted into the prestigious Cape Winemaker’s Guild in 2018, becoming the 6th woman to ever be inducted into the Guild. Just last month, Lismore's 2017 Estate Reserve Chardonnay was named Wine Advocate's 'Top Discovery of the Year', and The Wine Advocate's Anthony Mueller praised her efforts:
"Samantha O'Keefe of Lismore Estate is a trailblazer who is making some of South Africa's most focused, precise and thoughtful wines. If you are not familiar with Samantha or her wines, you need to seek some out and try them for yourself. South African wine may hold negative connotations in some people's minds, so I hope they try Samantha's wines, as every bottling from her range displayed elegance and beauty. Lismore wines are expressive with layers of complexity that shine and an honesty that over delivers for the price. I am anxious to see what she does next. Be on the lookout for an article on food and wine pairings with Lismore wines in 2020 and keep your eyes peeled on Lismore Estate wines for some truly great winemaking!"
We invite you to offer your support for Samantha & the Lismore team by picking up some of her wines. We know Samantha to be resilient, and we will stand by her as she begins to recover from this tragedy.
Jeb Dunnuck recently released a report summarizing his tasting with Fran Kysela. Jeb says Fran is "unquestionably one of the top specialty importers in the US as well as an incredible taster." Jed rated over 170 wines from the tasting, stating that Fran's wines are "always impeccably made, with an emphasis on fruit and texture, yet always with classic, balanced characters."
See the scores here, and read the full report here.