Neil Ellis Wines

Cabernet Sauvignon Jonkershoek – 2016

Region: South Africa - Stellenbosch

Neil Ellis Wines

Neil Ellis is a South African wine industry icon and one of the early pioneers to bring quality levels up to world class standards. The winery sits 5 miles east of the town of Stellenbosch in the Jonkershoek Valley. It was founded in 1993 with the philosophy to source grapes from the top growers of the region. The eco-friendly winery produces wines from the regions of Stellenbosch, Darling, Darbanville and Elgin.

Grapes / Soils

100% Cabernet Sauvignon


The majority of the Jonkershoek Valley is a nature reserve well known for its fynbos, trails and waterfalls but it is the mouth of the valley that is known for its distinctive conditions best suited for grape growing. The 98.8 acres/40ha of vines on the Oude Nektar farm were planted during an ongoing replanting program that started in 1990 introducing the latest soil preparation techniques and best plant material. The south facing slopes are significantly cooler than the surrounding area of Stellenbosch and a howling South Eastern wind during the summer months cools down the vineyards considerably, minimizing vine disease and holding down yields. The soils are mostly deep, red clay soils. Vineyard altitudes range from 625 to 1805 feet/190 to 550 meters above sea level.

The Wine

Vineyard Profile
  • Jonkershoek Valley and the south facing slopes are the coolest sites in Stellenbosch
  • Trellised vineyards planted on a Southwest  facing mountain on West to Northwest-facing slope
  • Decomposed granite soils that drain well
  • Access to supplementary irrigation
Harvest Notes
  • 2015 winter was start of the drought in the Western Cape, followed by a relatively warm and dry summer
  • Early budding resulted in an early harvest season
  • Grapes harvested at 25.8° Brix with a total acid of 7.5 g/l and pH of 3.4
  • Fermentation in stainless steel tanks
  • Malolactic fermentation in 100% new French oak barrels
  • Aged 18 months in barrel
Winemaker's Notes

This is the signature Cabernet Sauvignon of Neil Ellis.

2016 is only the second vintage of a new vineyard planted in the Jonkershoek Valley. It is a distinctive style with all the hallmarks of the Jonkershoek Valley which is known for its balance of elegance and power.

Intense dark colour. The nose shows restraint, with deep underlying aromas, of complex blue and black berry perfumes. Cedary aromas, so typical of a Jonkershoek wine. The palate is nervous and fresh followed by fine, smooth tannins. This is a wine which is built to last and for early drinking would benefit from decanting.

Wine Summary

100% Cabernet Sauvignon; alcohol: 14.5%; vineyard in coolest part of Stellenbosch on a West-Northwest facing slope of a Southwest facing mountain; decomposed granite soils; fermentation in stainless steel, malolactic fermentation in 100% new French oak barrels; aged 18 months in barrel.

Technical Information
  • 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Alcohol: 14.5%
  • TA: 5.8 g/l
  • pH: 3.56
  • RS: 2.33 g/l


92 Points

Almost opaque in the glass, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Jonkershoek Valley explodes with a richness and firmness to the nose that has elements of ripe and slightly stewed blackberries, plum and dark cherry. Full-bodied and juicy, it offers up a firm tannic edge that will remain food friendly for years to come, as flavors of plum reduction and blackberry jus offer up a juicy mid-palate, full of flavor with the soft oaky essence of nutmeg and vanilla. The wine ultimately finishes long-winding and expressive and will continue to deliver pleasure. Decanting is recommended here. Bravo, I’m having another sip!  2021 – 2032

© Wine Advocate, May, 2021

General Info

Country South Africa
Region Western Cape
Appellation(s) Stellenbosch, Darling/Groenekloof, Elgin
Proprietor Neil Ellis
Founded 1993
Winemaker Warren Ellis
Annual Production 50,000 9L cases
Farming (Sustainable, organic, biodynamic) Sustainable