Stellenbosch Hills unveils second vintage of Kastanjeberg Chenin


THE exciting second vintage of a limited-edition Stellenbosch wine only made in years of exceptional harvests has just been released. The Sense of Place Kastanjeberg 2020 is the flagship wooded, single vineyard Chenin Blanc made by Stellenbosch Hills.

The new addition has the hallmarks of an award-winning wine and bears the gravitas and poise that, like all Sense of Place wines, is a great match with fine cuisine. Its memorable character makes the Kastanjeberg Chenin Blanc an ideal wine in winter or summer, come rain or shine. 

The 2020 vintage offers renewed momentum for the lauded wine and Sense of Place range. The wooded Chenin Blanc is rich, complex and displays effusive aromas of citrus, sweet melon, pear fruit, honeysuckle, violets and vanilla oak spice. On the palate, the full-bodied wine erupts with pear and peach flavours combined with hints of vanilla and almonds. 

A well weighted mid-palate is balanced by a creamy texture and juicy tannins, lingering to a near-eternal finish.

The name Kastanjeberg is derived from the Cape Chestnut or Calodendrum capense trees that thrived at the Cape in the early 1800s.

As with the 2017, the grapes come from a single vineyard on the slopes of the Kastanjeberg Farm in the Stellenbosch Kloof area. “Dry conditions throughout the season made for smaller berries, but with intense flavour,” says winemaker James Ochse, above. “The result is wine with ageing potential of five to 10 years.”

Only 2 700 bottles were produced. 

This limit is one of the hallmarks of Stellenbosch Hills’ flagship Sense of Place range, which was established in 2019 to provide insight into some of South Africa’s finest terroir in Stellenbosch. Its aim is to showcase the diversity of expressions that vineyards at their peak are capable of. The range also includes a glorious Cape Blend called Suikerboschrand, the Anna Christina Cap Classique and La Serena aperitif.

The Kastanjeberg 2020 sells for R295 and is available from the winery and selected boutique wine stores, as well as online through the Stellenbosch Hills website.  

For more information about Stellenbosch Hills, click here, call 021 881 3828/9, or email [email protected]. Stellenbosch Hills is also on Facebook (StellenboschHills), Twitter @STBHills and Instagram @stellenbosch_hills.

Stellenbosch Hills is at the intersection of the R310 and Vlottenburg Road, just outside Stellenbosch. It is open Mondays to Fridays 9am to 5pm; and Saturdays 10am to 3pm.

Sam Linsell of Drizzle And Dip created this recipe for Saagwala (chicken with spinach curry) to pair with the Kastanjeberg 2020. Saagwala or Palak chicken is a super delicious and mild North Indian curry that requires a bit of effort but is well worth it. Parts of the dish can be made in advance and the chicken then gets combined with a creamy spinach curry sauce with hints of bay, cumin, ginger and coriander. 


Serves 4


900gms skinless & boneless chicken thighs

800gms spinach, washed

3 tablespoons melted butter

Marinade: (make in in advance – at least 4 hours but preferably overnight)

2 teaspoons Kashmiri chilli powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons dried fenugreek (optional)

2 teaspoons garam masala

1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tablespoon mustard oil or neutral vegetable oil

1 teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

½ cup full fat yoghurt

Saagwala curry:

4 tablespoons vegetable oil (sunflower or canola)

2 onions, peeled

4 – 5 large cloves garlic

2 medium ripe tomatoes

½ – 1 green or red chilli finely chopped (as hot as you would like)

1 tablespoon grated ginger

2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 ½ teaspoon Kashmiri chilli powder

½ teaspoon turmeric

2 teaspoon garam masala

2 bay leaves

1-2 teaspoons salt + more to taste

¾ cup yoghurt or cream (plus a little extra to serve)

Make in advance:

Cut the chicken thigh meat into half or thirds depending on their size and add to a bowl with all the marinade ingredients. Stir well to coat and ensure the marinade and spices are well mixed. Cover and refrigerate overnight. 

Remove the chicken in marinade at least an hour before roasting to bring it to room temperature. 

To make the spinach, blanch the washed leaves in a large pot of salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse under a cold tap. Once cool and drained, puree in a blender until smooth. There should be enough residual water on the spinach to get it to process. If not add a little water. This can also be made in advance.

Preheat he the oven to 200C. Line a baking tray with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Place the chicken pieces and spread out on the tray and roast for 30 minutes. Remove halfway (after 15 minutes) and drain off any liquid that may have been released in the pan. Turn the chicken pieces over and brush with the melted butter. Continue to roast for the remaining 15 minutes and until lightly golden. This chicken should be very succulent. Season it well with salt when it is out the oven. 

While the chicken is roasting make the sauce. It’s advisable to get all the spices measured out and ready. Blend the onion and garlic and a food processor until puréed but still holding some texture i.e. it should not be too smooth. Heat a large nonstick frying pan or skillet and add the vegetable oil. Once hot fry the onion and garlic mixture over a high heat for about 8 – 10 minutes stirring regularly until starting to brown. 

Add the tomatoes to the same bowl of the food processor and puree until smooth.

When the onions are browned, add the chopped chilli, grated ginger, coriander, cumin, chilli powder, turmeric and garam masala and cook with the onion mix for a minute or two until starting to smell fragrant. Add the puréed tomato and bay leaves and cook for about 5 – 6 minutes. You want to ensure the tomatoes are cooked.

Add the puréed spinach to the pan and cook the sauce for a further 6 – 8 minutes. Adding additional salt as needed. Add the yoghurt or cream after a few minutes.

Add the roast chicken to the curry sauce and heat through. Check seasoning.

Serve with basmati rice and naan bread. 

Easy Naan bread:

1 ¾ cup self-raising flour

½ teaspoon salt 

1 cup full fat Greek style yoghurt

Butter for brushing

Mix the salt with the flour and then add the yoghurt. Mix briefly until it forms a dough.

Tip out onto a floured surface and divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll these out fairly thinly into a rectangular naan bread shape. 

Heat a nonstick pan or seasoned cast iron skillet to very hot and then fry the dough on each side for about 2 – 3 minutes a side. Once the bread starts to bubble it is ready to flip over. 

Brush each naan bread with butter.

To make the curry vegan, simply replace the chicken with 400gms firm tofu (that has been drained and cut into large pieces) and 600 – 700gms of mixed vegetables (such as aubergine, zucchini and mushrooms). You could also skip the tofu and use a mix of roasted vegetable and lightly fried mushrooms. The tofu would not need to be marinaded 

To cook the tofu, heat 4 tablespoons of neutral vegetable oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat until starting to shimmer. Add the tofu and cook (taking care as the oil could splatter), turning it occasionally until it’s golden brown on a few sides (about 10 to 12 minutes). Remove to a plate lined with paper towel to drain and season well with salt. 

Roast the vegetables of choice and fry the mushrooms if using. Set aside.

Make the sauce as per recipe using coconut cream instead of yoghurt. When the sauce is ready, stir through the vegetables and tofu. 

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