Balance is the key to this wine. Viognier is an aromatic and generous varietal, it benefits from barrel maturation and lees contact with a fuller mouth feel and increased texture. This combined with the firm acid backbone and intense fruit will allow this wine to integrate beautifully and gain further complexity over the next 3-5 years.
This expressive viognier, grown on rose-quartz soil, seduces you with the beautiful perfume of honeysuckle and orange blossom and a textured palate of apricot, kiwi and pineapple. A sensual and exotic experience. Barrel fermented and aged. Enjoy it now or allow it to gain complexity with further cellaring.
Lighter styles are often paired with curries and the like. This Viognier is different. We recommend medium bodied meals that are intense and complex. For example:
- Sesame encrusted tuna marinated in a blend of orange, lemon and lime juice spiced with sesame oil and balsamic vinegar â€“ seared on a wood fired grill and served with griddled vegetables, or
- Free range duck breast smoked with Darjeeling tea and coriander leaves. Set on a cinnamon poached pear glazed with a gooseberry jus.
In both of these dishes, the fruit and floral aspects of the wine are complimented by the exotic and aromatic elements in the dish which are also highlighted by the spiciness from the oak fermentation; the fresh acidity freshens the palate, and yet the Lismore Viognier has the body to hold up against the weight of the duck or the tuna. It is also gorgeous with a well laid cheese platter.
"The 2021 Viognier The Age of Grace comes from Sutherland and Bot River, whole bunch pressed with 11 months on the lees using 15% concrete eggs. With pretty white peach and Mirabelle scents on the nose, this takes time to blossom, but it never fully lets go. The palate is medium-bodied with a gorgeous dried apricot, mango and spicebox entry, nothing blowsy here with a very focused, almost understated finish. Excellent. - Neal Martin"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (September 2022), 93+ pts
"Sam O'Keefe gets the grapes for this stylish, commercially significant Viognier from Elgin and Bot River, rather than her home base in Greyton. Fermented in 5% new barrels and concrete eggs, it's a suitably graceful, subtle Viognier, with aniseed, pear and apricot skin flavours and tangy supporting acidity. 2022-27"
- Tim Atkin (South Africa 2022 Special Report), 92 pts
"Aromas of peaches and apricots with lemon pith, white flowers and raw almond. Full-bodied with waxy texture, round mouth feel and toned, crunchy stone fruit character. Vivid acidity and flavorful, lingering finish. Drink now."
- James Suckling (November 2022), 92 pts
"The 2020 Viognier The Age of Grace has a subtle, well-defined bouquet of detailed lemon sherbet, lemon thyme and crushed pebble scents, poised and, yes, graceful. The palate is well balanced with a fine bead of acidity, and linear and quite steely toward the almost Chenin-like finish. This is not a flamboyant, Rhône-like Viognier – it’s is far more tensile and racy. It should age extremely well in bottle. - Neal Martin"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (November 2021), 94 pts
"Bot River, Elgin, Stellenbosch and Sutherland components make up the blend of this 10% new oak-fermented Viognier from Sam O'Keefe, which is more restrained and focused than usual. Pear, orange zest and stem ginger flavours are supported by bright acidity 2021-24"
- Tim Atkin (South Africa 2021 Special Report), 92 pts
"The 2018 The Age of Grace Viognier is sourced from Elgin and matured mainly in used barrels with some concrete eggs for 11 months. It has a well-defined bouquet of pressed yellow flowers and crushed stone scents that gain intensity with aeration. The fresh, vibrant palate is poised and harmonious, delivering a fine bead of acidity and a lick of salinity on the finish. Superb! - Neal Martin"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (November 2019), 92 pts
"With its cool southern exposure at the foot of the Riviersonderend Mountains, Samantha O’Keefe’s vineyard produces a quiet yet powerful viognier. It’s rich and waxy, the bright citrus-oil flavors supported by the oak structure."
- Wine & Spirits Magazine (February 2020), 90 pts
"The 2017 Age of Grace comes from purchased Viognier fruit from Elgin grown on rose quartz soil. It has a well defined bouquet of yellow plum, mirabelle, apricot blossom and subtle popcorn aromas. The palate is clean and precise with a fine line of acidity, hints of stem ginger complementing the tropical fruit (passion fruit and peach skin), and the finish is spicy and quite persistent. Excellent.- Neal Martin"
- Antonio Galloni's Vinous (August 2018), 93 pts
"Bottled but not yet labeled, the 2017 Age of Grace Viognier is made with Elgin fruit grown on rose quartz soil. Although made oxidatively, it’s very floral in character with notes of jasmine and honeysuckle. Samantha attributes this in part to natural ferment and the partial use of polyurethane egg, which contributes an extreme florality. It’s a lovely wine with bright, dense tropical and stone fruit on a full, creamy palate and showing good minerality on the finish."
- International Wine Review (February 2018), 92 pts
"I review very few bottlings of Viognier for the good reason that very few of them merit mention…much less praise. The flashy, floral ones are often alcoholic and tiring to drink, with insufficient acidity, whereas the fresh ones often lack the aromatics that make Viognier worth considering in the first place. Renditions from Condrieu (in France’s northern Rhône) that dodge these two problems are almost always painfully expensive, and though that makes sense because the region is tiny and horribly difficult to farm, I still can’t see shelling out $70 for them. Which brings me to this wine--admittedly by a circuitous route--which I took because it is such a brilliant exception to the rule. It shows floral topnotes that are lovely but also subtle (which is good, because overly perfumed wines almost never invite a second glass), as well as delicious peachy fruit enlivened with excellent acidity. It seems that the secret to success in this case was two separate pickings…an early one for acidity, and a second to pick up the florals, which only emerge at full ripeness. Probably tough to find, but even harder to resist after experiencing it."
- Michael Franz, WineReviewOnline (November 2017), 93 pts
"Fans of Lismore’s amazing estate Viognier - the best in South Africa - will be dismayed that there was none produced in 2015, but this is not a bad substitute, made with Elgin fruit. Floral and fresh, with subtle cream and stone fruit flavours and more acidity than many examples of the grape. 2017-19. - Tim Atkin"
- Tim Atkin (South Africa Report 2017), 92 pts
"Fruit bought from Elgin, rose-quartz soils, to try to increase production of the estate Viognier but it was so distinctive that she bottled it separately. Inoculated because of some later picked fruit which does not easily go to dryness.
Delicate stone fruit rather than the aromatic intensity of some French versions. It is more peachy and stone-fruited on the palate but definitely a subtle style. Dry, gently chewy, remarkable freshness for Viognier. Drink 2017-2020"
- Jancis Robison, "New Wave South Africa tasting" (October 2017)
Tucked into the foothills of a dramatic mountain range at the bottom of Africa is Lismore Estate Vineyards. It is here, in the Greyton area, that Californian Samantha O'Keefe found ...