LESS than an hour’s drive from Cape Town, the rolling hills, mystical river and lush greenery of the Upper Blaauwklippen Valley are home to some of the most serene wine country landscapes in South Africa. It’s this rustic country charm that draws visitors to the Upper Blaauwklippen Vintners’ tasting, to share in the passion for fine wine and terroir with the owners of the wine farms themselves. This years’ experience takes place on Saturday, June 8, from 11am to 4pm.
A visit to the Upper Blaauwklippen Vintners’ tasting feels like an escape to the country visiting friends, where you’ll hear the stories behind the wines and the farms, relax and meander through vineyards – glass-in-hand – or hop on the free shuttle provided on the day to explore all aspects of this hidden gem. You’ll join the owners and winemakers of three boutique, family-owned farms – Kleinood, Keermont and De Trafford – as they provide guests with rare access to their farms to taste newly-released, hand-crafted vintages, as well as rare and coveted vinoteque wines.
“As like-minded producers we all strive for the lightest footprint on the landscape with our small, sustainable vineyards and wineries. I feel you can’t make great wine without being in touch with nature, and in our valley, the beauty of nature is inescapable and reflected in all our wines,” says David Trafford, owner of De Trafford.
A five-kilometre trip up the valley connecting the three farms leads along an elevation of 200 metres through abundant Cape fynbos, the Blaauwklippen river and lush vineyard blocks, where owners including renowned cellar design engineer Gerard de Villiers and winemaker Reynie Oosthuizen of Kleinood are using the least amount of intervention in the vineyard to make some of SA’s finest terroir-driven wines.
“Kleinood endeavors to produce truly hand-crafted wines from naturally-grown vineyards where everything from the vineyards to the winery is dictated by the terroir, resulting in wines that do not reflect what we have done to them, but rather express the complexity of their origin,” says De Villiers. “Only four Rhône style wines are produced under the Tamboerskloof label – the flagship Tamboerskloof Syrah, Tamboerskloof Viognier and the two 100% Syrah sibling wines named after our children – Tamboerskloof Katharien Rose’ and the minute production of a single vineyard block Tamboerskloof John Spicer.”
The Upper Blaauwklippen vintners have been heralded by SA’s leading wine experts including Roland Peens of Wine Cellar fine wine merchants as some of the finest producers of Syrah the country has to offer. Indeed, these very varietals originating from the Rhône – Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache – as well as others such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot seem to flourish best in this valley, bringing the vineyard to bottle in each of the farm’s distinct fine wines.
At Keermont alone, the mere 30 hectares under vine boast no less than 13 varietals, speaking volumes for winemaker Alex Starey’s passion for the quality of the soil. What makes the biosphere of this valley so very unique and perfectly suited to many different varietals is the nurturing river that runs through each farm. The Blaauwklippen river originates in the Fleurfontein Spring located in the midst of the Keermont vineyards and streams down the valley, giving life to its naturally fertile terroir and lush flora.
“The Upper Blaauwklippen Valley is a magical place to make wine. The topography, elevation, and proximity to the ocean create an ideal climate and the decomposed granite soils – in which the vines grow – result in structured, complex wines,” says Starey. “Keermont is about a place. This is why we emphasise ‘Grown, Produced, and Bottled at Keermont Vineyards’. People go hand in hand with this place and our small team strives towards making Keermont the best it can be. Surrounded by great producers, we are blessed with a winemaking community who support each other.”
To participate in this personal premium tasting experience – with limited tickets at R600 each – email Wiena van Wyk on [email protected], or call 021 880 2527. The Upper Blaauwklippen Vintners tasting takes place in the Upper Blaauwklippen Valley just off the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West.