Tucked into the foothills of a dramatic mountain range at the bottom of Africa is Lismore Estate Vineyards. Californian Samantha O'Keefe has found paradise and the perfect terroir. Her passion combined with vines planted at 300 meters, chilled by the winter snow and nourished by the African summer sun, produce classic cool climate wines which are rich, complex and lovingly hand crafted.
On the Davis Scale, this is classified as Region 1, meaning Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Syrah and Pinot Noir are doing very well in the region and get perfect ripening conditions.
Samantha O'Keefe left California with dreams of starting a family and finding paradise. Tucked into the foothills of a dramatic mountain range at the bottom of Africa, Lismore Estate Vineyards was born alongside her nascent family. Passion and vision, combined with vines planted at 300 meters, chilled by winter snow and nourished by the African summer sun, produces classic, cool climate wines which are rich, complex and lovingly hand crafted.
The Overberg region is rapidly earning a reputation for premium cool climate grapes. Greyton has now been designated a ward within that district recognizing the unique terroir expression of the wine that is produced there. Lismore is the only registered wine estate in the Greyton ward. Lismore's vineyards are planted on slopes at the base of the Riviersonderend Mountain Range. The combination of elevation and climate make for an extended ripening period which is roughly 3-4 weeks later than the more traditional wine growing areas in the Western Cape. There are a total of 12.5 ha planted with Chardonnay, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier.
Lismore Estate - November 2015 - WA
"Samantha O'Keefe is living the dream. That's not to say things have been easy for the ex-Californian on the outskirts of Greyton. You know what they say about how to make a small fortune in wine. The competition is fierce when you start out. I mean, how do you distinguish yourself from the crowd? One way is to splash lots of money on marketing. Another is to price your wine at a silly price in the hope of persuading people that it must be good. Of course, you can just make bloody good wine, which is the route that Samantha wisely took.
I still remember meeting her for the first time at a busy tasting in London. I remarked how good I thought her wines were. I felt as it was the first time her wines had been complemented, a third party validation that she was doing things the right way and it was paying off in the quality of her wines. And since then, over the last two or three years, it's been great to see both Lismore and Samantha gain more and more recognition. Her recent releases, which I tasted at the Cape Show with Samantha, continue to furrow that path of cool-climate white and reds. Perhaps in the past I have focused more on the white. On this occasion, I was blown away by her 2014 Syrah that was galvanized by the 40% whole bunch ferment, manifesting a truly complex Syrah, one of the best you will find.- Neal Martin" - Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate (November 2015)
"South Africa is now a strong contender for the world’s most improved and exciting wine nation, bar none. Its transformation is rapid and ongoing. The pace of change and achievement is staggering.” ..... “So what has changed?...Arguably the shift is generational- the new group of highly passionate, original and talented winemakers includes, Eben Sadie, Chris Mullineux, Chris and Suzaan Alheit, JD Pretorius, Duncan Savage, Peter de Wet, Samantha O'Keefe, Peter-Allan Finlayson and Matthew Day. None of them lacking in confidence, determination, talent or passion. You can taste it in the wines.” - John Stimpfig - Decanter Magazine (December 2015)
Fermented and aged 11 months in 500 liter older French Oak Foudres (40% new).
Wine Making Notes
Coming from a 14 year old vineyard with decomposed shale oiver clay soils. Fermented and aged 11 months in 500 liter French Oak Foudres (40% new). Wine was slightly filtered before bottling.
Delightful with warm curries which lift the aromatics or a traditional pairing of smoked salmon highlighting the fresh acidity.
2016 Lismore Reserve Chardonnay - 95 PTS - TA
"Bravo to Lismore for the quality of this first Reserve Chardonnay, all made with fruit from the farm in Greyton. This has sufficient power and concentration to cope with the 40% new wood, supported by acidity and real focus. Sappy, structured and intense, with classic, quasi-Burgundian notes of struck match. 2018-23. - Tim Atkin" - Tim Atkin (South Africa Report 2017), 93 pts
"Medium straw. Introduced by scents of flint, green citrus and underripe mango, the estate Chardonnay Reserve is Lismore’s icon wine. It’s mineral rich and focused with an incredibly pure, silky mouth feel and vibrant acidity. A great Chardonnay! Made with natural yeast and matured 11 months in 500L French oak, 40% new." - International Wine Review (February 2018), 93 pts
2016 Lismore Reserve Chardonnay - 17.5/20 PTS - JR
"First vintage of this wine, 40% new 500-litre barrels. A new departure as she prefers neutral oak. The oak is more evident on the nose but it actually smells seductively delicious, not at all over-oaked. On the palate, an oatmeal richness. Has that lovely clementine fragrance of Meursault and a deep but dry texture. Definitely grand cru stuffing here. Needs longer in bottle for the richness and the acidity to marry more fully. Drink 2020-2026" - Jancis Robison, "New Wave South Africa tasting" (October 2017)