Visiting the Franschhoek wine valley, South Africa, part 3


Dieter and Diana Sellmeyer bought this attractive farm 18 years ago. It was planted with table grapes, which they kept for a few years before ripping them out and planting wine grapes.


Dieter (above) is an engineer by background and grew up in Spain. He had no intention of making wine, but started off experimenting with just a ton of grapes from his vineyard. This went well, and the following year he submitted his Shiraz to Platter's, where it was judged my Michael Fridjhon. He got 4.5 stars: 'I thought “I can do this”', recalls Dieter.


He now has 11 hectares of his 26 hectare property under vine, all of which he planted himself, with an engineer’s precision. He got two viticulturists to sit down with him, and together they hammered out a plan for the farm. This plan seems to be working: 'nothing is over vigorous, and nothing is struggling,' says Dieter.


One section of the farm is as sandy as a beach, and this is where Dieter grows Shiraz. 'Sandy soils are often boo-hooed,' says Dieter, 'but we practice deficit irrigation, and with sandy soils you can do this very effectively.' The soils across the farm are largely alluvial, as this area used to be a riverbed.


Of the Franschhoek climate, he says that it's not as warm as Roberston but it's a bit warmer than Stellenbosch. Production is currently at around 90-100 tons from the 11 hectares, and Lynx keep 70 tons for their own needs.


Of the recent vintages, he says that 2015 was the best vintage he has seen – a bumper, fantastic year.  2014 was quite a soft vintage where everything cropped high. 2013 was excellent.


This is an impressive portfolio of wines, with some real highlights.


Lynx Blanc de Noir 2015 Franschhoek, South Africa
This is 100% Merlot that spends 1.5 hours on skins, after being harvested slightly early to keep the alcohol levels down. Fresh nose leads to a bright palate with cherry and pear fruit, and a hint of green in the background. Quite convincing. 88/100

Lynx Vino Blanco 2015 Western Cape, South Africa
This has Viognier from Franschhoek, with some Grenache Blanc and Roussanne from neighboring Paarl. It's a fresh unwooded white with nice texture and a hint of spiciness. Direct and pure. 87/100

Lynx Viognier 2014 Franschhoek, South Africa
Half stainless steel fermented and half in barrel. Toasty, peach, spicy nose leads to a textured palate with a stony undercurrent to the broad, smooth, peachy fruit, which has a spicy framing. 90/100

Lynx Xanache 2013 Franschhoek, South Africa
14% alcohol. A Bordeaux blend named after Dieter's three daughters. Very refined blackcurrant fruit nose is restrained with a fine personality. Fresh, fine blackcurrant and black cherry fruit palate with lovely acidity. Pure and fresh, showing restraint and refinement. 93/100

Lynx Cabernet Franc 2013 Franschhoek, South Africa
In 2008 Dieter had two barrels of this that were just too good to blend, so he decided to make this wine: it sold out quickly. Lovely, rich, balanced gravelly, spicy nose with sweet black cherries and some chalky notes. The palate is fresh and refined with lovely texture and fine gravel notes. Essence of Cabernet Franc with a blackcurrant and black cherry core. 93/100 

Lynx Shiraz 2013 Franschhoek, South Africa
This has one barrel of American oak in the blend. Sweetly refined nose with a hint of tarriness and some black pepper. Fresh, juicy and vivid palate has sweet fruit but also nice focus and definition. Just a hint of meatiness, but otherwise it is deliciously fruit driven. 92/100

Lynx SMV 2013 Franschhoek, South Africa
This is a co-ferment of Shiraz with 4% Viognier and 2% Mourvedre. Wonderfully aromatic and fresh, with a floral nose of black cherries, pepper and a bit of apricot. Lovely silky, textured palate with a slight tarry, spicy edge to the pure black fruits. Very attractive. 93/100

Lynx Pinot Noir 2014 Franschhoek, South Africa (cask sample)
This will be the first release. Ripe, sweetly aromatic cherry fruit nose with a subtle green edge. The palate is fresh with nice presence and well integrated green notes. Lively and quite silky. 90/100

Lynx Grenache 2014 Franschhoek, South Africa
Fresh, vivid green-tinged berry fruits nose. The palate is quite pure and silky with some tarry, spicy hints. Sleek and ripe with cherries and plums, some green, and some pepper. 91/100

Black Elephant Vintners
Landau du Val
La Bri
La Petite Ferme
Appellation Grand Prestige
Haut Espoir

See also:

The Hemel-en-Arde wine route (series)
Stellenbosch revisited (series)

Wines tasted 04/15  
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