Lucinda Heyn has previously worked for world famous wineries in California and South Africa including, Jordan Wines in Stellenbosch, before deciding to create her own brand Illimis. A pioneer in the world of intuitive, low intervention winemaking, Lucinda wanted to create wines that offered a window into the vineyards of their origin. Illimis translates as 'clarity' in Latin, which perfectly encapsulates Lucinda's expressive wines; her dedication to the craft is inspirational and when she is not making wine or researching, Lucinda heads to surf the waves of the Atlantic Ocean!
Lucinda buys fruit from small growers in Darling and Elgin. The fruit she uses for her crunchy and evocative Cinsault comes from vines planted in 1972. Elgin, which is where she sources her Chenin Blanc, (a region more known for its apples) provides a very unique climate and is the coolest winegrowing region in South Africa.
Illimis wines could fall into the category of 'Natural' wines but I am not sure Lucinda would want to categorise her wines in this way. Illimis have a focus on producing wines that capture terroir and bring to the dining room table a segment of the power and beauty the natural world reveals.
Lucinda makes three wines in limited quantity and currently in stock at the Oxford Wine Company are her Cinsault and Chenin Blanc. The Cinsault is made using 100% carbonic maceration and aged for 6 months in old French oak, the wine has a fragrant nose of stewed cherries, dried herbs and a crunchy, elegant palate of bright red fruits, a little smoke and a herbaceous finish. Delicious served chilled or at room temperature! Her Chenin Blanc, from the Bokkeveld soils of Elgin, is whole bunch pressed, undergoes spontaneous fermentation and then receives 8 months aging in oak on the lees producing a wine with rich fruit concentration that is perfectly balanced with a vibrant acidity. Heaven!
Word of Lucinda's skills as a winemaker are travelling fast and she appears to be active in many events along the Western Cape of SA - let's hope she pays us a visit here in the UK soon!