Neil Ellis Wines

Cabernet Sauvignon Stellenbosch – 2017

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

85% Cabernet Sauvignon

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, minimising 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
  • Multiple vineyard sites in Bottelary Hills and Jonkershoek Valley
  • Well established trellised vineyards
  • Southwest facing slopes
  • Decomposed granite soils
Harvest Notes
  • 2016 winter was 2nd year of drought conditions in the Western Cape, little rainfall
  • Relatively warm and dry summer
  • Early budding resulted in an early harvest
  • Grapes harvested between 25 – 25.5° Brix and pH 3.45 – 3.57
  • Fermentation in stainless steel tanks
  • Malolactic fermentation in new French oak barrels
  • Aging for 18 months in 25% new French oak barrels and the balance in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th used barrels
Winemaker's Notes

Showing what Stellenbosch as a collective can do with Cabernet Sauvignon, this award-winning wine celebrates the noble variety within a multi-vineyard blend. It 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.

Intense dark colour. The nose shows restraint, with aromas of complex black berry and cedary notes. The palate is tight and fresh followed by fine, dense tannins. This is a wine which is built to last and for early drinking would benefit from decanting.

Wine Summary

85% Cabernet Sauvignon; alcohol: 14%; multiple vineyards across the Bottleary Hills and Jonkershoek Valley; decomposed granite soils on Southwest-facing slopes; malolactic fermentation in all new French oak barrels; aging for 18 months in 25% new French oak barrels.

Technical Information
  • 85% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Alcohol: 14%
  • TA: 5.4 g/l
  • pH: 3.6
  • RS: 1.4 g/l


90 Points

A creamy, medium- to full-bodied red, fresh and balanced, with baked blackberry and black plum fruit, a hint of bay leaf and a smoky, charcoal-tinged underpinning that lingers on the chewy finish. Drink now through 2026.

Wine Spectator, July, 2021

89+ Points

Displaying a classic ruby core that fades to a lighter ruby edge, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon offers a cheerful expression of bright red cherries, redcurrant and cassis tones on the nose, with a delicate dried herbal edge. Medium-bodied, the wine is straightforward with energetic tannins, showing its tendency to be food-friendly in youth. It ends with a lively, open-knit finish, delivering well for the price. Drink Date 2020 – 2025

© Wine Advocate, January, 2021

93 Points

An initial hint of singed black plum skin hits you on first nosing, followed closely after by notes of licorice root, cassis, cherry skin and brambly blackberry. The medium-weight palate is plush but structured, with framing tannins that yield a texture like crushed satin. Acidity picks up the freshness after the sip and through the close, which evolves to offer more wood spice and light char tones on the end. Enjoy now–2028.

Wine Enthusiast, September, 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