A few weeks ago, we were invited to Onderkloof Estate in Somerset West to try out their new Chenin Blanc prior to its launch. It's off the beaten track, so to speak - situated on Sir Lowry's Pass Road. You drive up a gravel road to get there, and, when you do, you are greeted by a pretty building with wooden stairs leading up to the quaint tasting room (see below).
Onderkloof Estate is still relatively new, as it was only bought in 1997. Originally, the owners, Beat and Heidi Musfeld, produced mainly grapes and milk. It was in 1999 that the first vintage was produced in the newly built wine cellar. In 2012 the owner’s son, Yves Musfeld, became the Head Winemaker at Onderkloof and he is still there today, doing great work.
We were lucky enough to meet Yves and his lovely wife, Luanne when we visited for the tasting. It is something special to meet the winemaker, but on this evening, Yves and his wife sat down with us for the tasting and Yves explained each of the wines to us. This was a true honour and we felt very privileged.
The tasting room is really warm and inviting (see below). It's wooden charm and high ceiling beams make it seem cosy and comfortable. We sat at the table for our tasting and we were joined by a few fellow bloggers.
Due to the fact that Onderkloof was launching their 2017 Chenin Blanc (see below left) we tasted that first. I was really impressed by it - it's fruity and smells slightly sweet. It has a slight woody taste due to the partial barrel fermentation (only 10%), and is very light and creamy to drink. Although the wine maker is not fond of the term, "easy-drinking", I really do feel that I could "easily" "drink" a few glasses of this on a warm summer's evening 🙂 Luanne organised some platters for us with cheese and biscuits and I enjoyed nibbling on that whilst sipping the Chenin.
What also needs a special mention is the 2014 Cabernet Franc (see below right). It received a score of 91 from Tim Atkin last year and it's easy to see why. I found it to be spicy, smooth, full-bodied, with a slight 'oaky' taste from the French Oak barrels.
We also headed outside to take a few pics as the sun was setting...
After tasting a few more (really decent) wines - including their fantastic red blend, we headed down to the cellar for a tour. The stainless steel tanks were massive and create a really impressive feeling when you stand between them. The newer tanks were fitted with cooling panels (the sections with dotted indents) to get that white wine to the optimal temperature.
Yves allowed us to taste the Pinotage from the tank and I thought this was SO cool, because I had never tried wine out of the tank before. It was pretty close to being ready (in my non-professional opinion), but I could definitely taste the difference that time makes on the wine when we tasted the bottled Pinotage right afterwards. This Pinotage was really delicious. I loved the intense fruity flavour it had and it's full-bodied flavour. It was really easy drinking! Ha ha!
What was also really awesome was that we got to taste the actual Pinotage grapes with the Pinotage wine (see below), which was another first for me. I expected the grapes to be a bit bitter, but they were sweet and juicy and I can now understand why the wine turned out to be so fruity.
We also had a peek into their cellar, where the wine is busy becoming something amazing in the French Oak barrels (see below).
The venue also does weddings and I can imagine that Luanne would make it look absolutely stunning! You can get married in the actual cellar and have your ceremony in the room above. With the added drapery and lights, I am sure it will look really romantic 🙂
We had a truly great experience at Onderkloof. It's not every day that you get to spend the evening with a winemaker! We really appreciate the effort Luanne went to and we are already very excited to return to try out their new Rosé later this year!
You can visit Onderkloof Estate for a wine tasting on the first Saturday of every month from 10:30 - 15:00.
Contact: (+27) 21 858 1538
Address: 17 Sir Lowry’s Pass Road, Somerset West
Star Rating: *****
Note: We were invited to attend this media event for the release of the new Chenin Blanc by Luanne.