Wine Advocate 94
"The 2014 Syrah is 40 whole bunch fermented and matured in older, small barrel and then transferred into 3,000-liter fermenters for six months to capture the aromatics. It has a fascinating nose, very floral and expressive, with cranberry, rose petals, marmalade and white fennel that you would swear comes from some old Rhne. Fabulous. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin, a little tighter than the aromatics, and brimming over with character. There is fruit here, but the smorgasbord of Provenal white fennel, sage and fynbos is all over the place. This is one of the best Syrahs I have encountered from South Africa."
"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 November 2015 The Wine Advocate
Lismore EstateView all from Lismore Estate
Berkeley educated Samantha O'Keefe left her native California and an executive TV job, in search of a simpler life. She settled into her own sliver of paradise in the form of a 600 acre former dairy farm in Greyton, South Africa. The estate is at 300 meters elevation and tucked into the foothills of the dramatic Riviersonderend mountain range. She shares her property with a troop of baboons and a leopard.
The 30 acres of vineyards are planted in a terroir of decomposed shale and clay with Syrah, Viognier, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Cabernet franc. She is the only producer in the cool climate region, Greyton in the Overberg. The combination of elevation and climate make for an extended ripening period for her grapes. All of the wines are barrel fermented in neural oak, without Malo.
2006 was her inaugural vintage. In 2011 Neil Martin of the Wine Advocate discovered her wines at a tasting in London and wrote. "Since her maiden vintage in 2006, along with her two sons, this estate has quietly gone about creating a cult following. Personally, I thought Lismore's wines were top quality: crisp and focused, fresh as a spring morning with impressive complexity and style".
I came away from this estate impressed with what the lovely Ms O'Keffe has been able to accomplish. She has demonstrated tremendous courage, raising her two sons on her own in an exotic land. She is a pioneer in a region with no peers. Her wines are precise, elegant, and delicious. Vision Wine Brands is proud to introduce Samantha and her wines to our portfolio.