In London for the first time in two years, Samantha O’Keefe brazenly announces that she is not yet ready to forget the trauma of her tragic winery fire on the 17th December 2019 and ‘move on’. The reflective tragedy and trauma are still just too great. She admits it will take time for the scars to heal, but if there was ever a more effect balm to help heal these deep scars, it is the support proffered from the local wine industry.
As a true testament to Sam’s tenaciousness and resilience, this maiden release Chenin Blanc has almost come to signify the new dawn at Lismore, being made from fruit donated by a neighbour in nearby Stanford. This is an outstanding benchmark cool climate expression of Chenin Blanc unlike anything produced in the Swartland or even Stellenbosch for that matter, and the 2,000 bottles deserve to be snapped up in the blink of an eye. Track this wine down if you can, if will certainly reward long term cellaring.
Lismore Chenin Blanc 2020, WO Cape South Coast, 12% Abv.
Made from grapes grown in Stanford with a small portion of skin contact, this maiden Chenin Blanc from Samantha O’Keefe is deliciously focused, pure and precise with a pronounced stony minerality of crushed gravel over lemon and tangerine peel, tart pear, white peach and flinty nuances suggesting a hint of reduction. Counter intuitively, the palate is explosive and intense, bristling with green apple pastille, crunchy pear, liquid minerality infused with fresh fennel, dried herbs and hints of fynbos. But ultimately, this wine is defined by its uniquely taut, glassy acids that are cool, linear, crystalline and electrically fresh. A lovely lean, cool climate expression of Chenin Blanc fruit! Drink from 2022 to 2034+. (Circa 2,000 bottles produced.)
(Wine Safari Score: 96/100 Greg Sherwood MW)