South African wine is part of the lifeblood here at Ellerman House, from the vast and varied collection found in our famed wine gallery to our unique wine experiences and daily tastings. Thus, we are absolutely thrilled and proud to present our first house blend, The Ellerman 2018, made in collaboration with one of the country’s best and brightest winemakers, Erika Obermeyer.

Just released and already awarded 5 stars by the renowned Platter’s Wine Guide for 2021, The Ellerman 2018 red blend is multi-layered, textured and elegant, yet utterly approachable and sophisticated like Ellerman House itself.

Like many epic South African stories, this one was born over sundowners — in this instance on a lovely evening on the Ellerman House terrace overlooking a calm sea set alight with the colours of an African sunset. American guest and retired wine consultant Hugh Thatcher remarked that he longed for the perfect South African red blend to distribute back home. His dream wine’s attributes were closely aligned with those of our operations manager and former head sommelier Manuel Cabello, who felt it imperative that a hotel with such a strong wine presence create its own.

“The wine idea was always around because we probably have the most representative collection of South African wine in the country and having our own was something we needed to do,” says Manny. “We were waiting for the right moment.”

Enter Erika Obermeyer, a winemaker who was launching her own label, Erika Obermeyer Wines. She secured an appointment with Manny to taste her new wines for consideration in the Ellerman House cellar.

“I arrived at Ellerman House on a bright but crisp winter’s morning in July 2018, feeling rather nervously excited as this was my first time showing the Erika Obermeyer Wines,” she remembers.

“Our tasting was focused, with only the sound of glasses and me exuberantly going on about my passion for small-batch wines from really special vineyard pockets across the Cape Winelands.

I’ve always maintained that the following ‘ingredients’ are essential in the art of crafting a fine wine: true terroir, balance, honesty and a light touch. They tell a rich and deeply fascinating story of a time, a place and a maker.”

As Manny began tasting Erika’s wines, she remembers his being “rather reserved in his comments until he tasted the two reds, the Erika O Syrah Grenache Noir Cinsault 2016 and the Erika O Cabernet Sauvignon 2015. It was after tasting them that the MAGIC happened. He loved them both, but it was the Syrah blend which was almost a perfect copy to the wine he was looking to put together for years.”

Many tastings and several years later, The Ellerman 2018 was born. An impressive red blend of 59% Syrah, 20% Grenache Noir, 15% Cinsault and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, The Ellerman 2018 showcases the remarkable fruit intensity, freshness and elegance of these distinctive varietals.

With its terroir of Firgrove, Stellenbosch, Voor Paardeberg and Agter Paarl, The Ellerman 2018 gives the very best expression of the terroir from which the grapes are sourced, resulting in a wine that is complex and expressive.

It is intense and concentrated, yet beautifully balanced with an alluringly perfumed nose showing vibrant aromatics of red cherries, blackberry fruit, pepper spice and black olives. Multidimensional and multilayered, the palate delivers a textured mouthfeel with silky smooth tannins and a fresh and satisfying finish. It shows excellent purity of fruit and elegance with great texture, complexity and structure, as well as having outstanding cellaring potential.

Intense and beautifully balanced, The Ellerman 2018 is uniquely and proudly South African and is a wine the we hope offers one a taste of life here at our House on the hill and of the beautiful land and people that surround us.