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Neil Ellis releases top performing 2017 Stellenbosch Cabernet

27 August 2019  -  Neil Ellis Wines

The release of the 2017 Neil Ellis Cabernet Sauvignon marks the 33rd vintage of Cabernet with a Neil Ellis label. As a pioneer wine producer in site-identification and vineyard selected wines, the company celebrates its 35th anniversary since the first vintage of this namesake label.

While known for producing world class Cabernet Sauvignon from the Jonkershoek Valley for the coveted terrain-specific range, the Stellenbosch Cabernet Sauvignon shows what Cabernet can do as a multi-vineyard blend. This award-winning wine celebrates the noble variety and pays tribute to the culture-rich town of Stellenbosch from which grows a reputation of innovation, originality, resourcefulness and creativity; the core principles of winemaking.

The Cabernet produced from Neil Ellis has many a time sparked enthusiasm, once deemed by as the “most exciting in SA” while the 2017 Stellenbosch Cabernet recently achieved Top Ten status in the 2019 Prescient Cabernet Report. Neil Ellis Wines has proved itself as one of the top performing Cabernet producers in Stellenbosch with three consecutive Double Golds at Veritas in 2016, 2017 and 2018 as well as an acclaimed Top Ten spot in the Prescient Cabernet Report in 2017 and 2018; all awarded to the single vineyard Jonkershoek Cabernet Sauvignon.

According to Warren Ellis, chief winemaker at Neil Ellis Wines, you need to be specific about site before you can start to produce premium quality wines that are expressive of their site: “While the vineyard should always dictate the style of wine, winemaking magic in the cellar happens when you blend the wines of two vineyards together. Then nature,art and science meet in the bottle.”

Warren spends the majority of his time researching and exploring new sites, gaining valuable information and experience that will ultimately serve the objective of the company to continue to produce wines of a distinct style.

The first Cabernet Sauvignon with a Neil Ellis label, was the 1984 Neil Ellis Cabernet Sauvignon. It was sourced from grapes in Banghoek and Firgrove, in the Stellenbosch district, and meant a lot of nosing around the restrictive quota system prevalent at the time. This was considered a first for the South African industry where regulations restricted grapes from crossing district borders and where wine cellars were considered reflective of origin rather than the vineyard.

This wine, the first release of the well-known vineyard selection wines, best tells the story of soil, climate and the art of winemaking. A total of 437 cases were produced, released in 1986 and retailed for about R7- R8,50 per bottle. The vision, a pursuit of quality, extended out of the cellar and into the vineyards where varieties would excel and best express a particular style of wine reflective of their environment. The ideal was to identify the individual vineyards on the labels but, at the time, legislation prevented him to do this. 

As the company celebrates 35 years of pioneering excellence, the objective remains to apply the experience and knowledge of the past 35 years to current techniques and technologies for a new generation of winemaking. “Our vision remains to make distinctive, refined wines that are expressive of their terrain and rank amongst South Africa’s finest. A pursuit of quality, nothing less.” Neil Ellis.

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