At the beginning of this month, a bunch of us media peeps piled into a bus and headed out to the Robertson Wine Valley for the day to visit Zandvliet Wine Estate along with Mira from Hot Oven Marketing.
Zandvliet is also known as the ''Home of Shiraz'', being one of the first wine estates to bottle their own Shiraz with their first plantings going as far back as the 1870s. Not only is Zandvliet home to Shiraz, but also ClemenGold - the yummy citrus-flavoured gin! (Wine AND Gin - I know, right?) The ClemenGold fruits (mandarins) are grown on the estate and you can buy them at Woolies.
When we arrived, we were greeted by Leslie - the Kalkveld Lounge Manager, (see below) who gave us each a glass of this delicious gin. It's a dry gin that is made up of nine botanicals: ClemenGold and orange peel, cinnamon, honey, ground almond, juniper berries, angelica and orris root, and coriander. We received it served with a dried slice of the ClemenGold fruit (how cool).
Once inside, we walked into their new tasting room, also known as the Kalkveld Lounge (see below). Although it's dark, it's quite inviting and I was pleased to see a fireplace at the end. The room used to be a cellar and it now holds a few wine barrels and so you get the feel that you are tasting the wine in the actual cellar, which is pretty cool.
We then went on a tour of their underground Kuip area (old wine cellar). You can see below what the original cellar used to look like. The walls are very thick and the wine makers used to have to climb into these kuips from above through small manholes.
The underground cellar houses lots of interesting things. Here is a massive bottle of Shiraz (see below left). If you buy one of these bottles, you can come back when it's empty and get it re-filled. They also have a really cool "wall of wine" (see below right) that holds bottles of Shiraz throughout the years that Zandvliet has made them. (They are missing a few years though, so if you're holding onto your old bottle, let them know and it may be the year they need!)
I thought it was really cool that they have a 1987 bottle - the year I was born.
I loved the eeriness of the kuip and it was interesting to see the various bottles of Shiraz (see below). The kuip also keeps a selection of art on display that you are able to purchase. The art pieces are replaced every few months to give different artists a chance to display their work. It means that each time you visit Zandvliet, there'll be something new to see in the kuip, which is exciting.
We then went back to the Kalkveld Lounge to enjoy their Citrus and Wine pairing (see below). The pairing typically costs R75 per person and it is set up as follows:
- Zandvliet Chardonnay 2017 and ClemenGold marmalade
- Kalkveld Shiraz 2015 and ClemenGold chocolate
- Zandvliet Muscat and ClemenGold biscotti (vegan for our table)
- Zandvliet VLW (Port) 2013 and Louretta's date balls
It is really great to taste the wines with citrus flavours. You wouldn't think that they would typically go together, but it works quite well. I particularly liked the Shiraz and chocolate pairing, as I found that the chocolate really brought out the spiciness of the wine and made it taste more peppery. The Muscat and Port were also delicious and both paired well with the sweet-bit-not-too-sweet biscuit and date ball.
I also really enjoyed the Shiraz on it's own (without the pairing). It's a 100% Shiraz that has spent 24 months in infused 500ℓ French oak barrels. It smells like plums and chocolate and tastes like chocolate too (but not too much - it's still spicy). Although we tried it with chocolate, I think it would pair even better with a good steak on the braai. To me, it's a lekker winter wine to enjoy at the fire.
After our pairing, we headed on down to the cellar (the new one, not the old one) to blend our own wine! This is such a cool thing to do with your friends! They give you three wines (Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Shiraz 2016 and Mouvedré 2017) and you can add them together in whatever quantities you like to make your own wine.
You don't even have to make use of all three wines if you don't want to - you could just add two. But I chose to use all three as I feel that each one does bring something unique to the wine. I ended up blending a bottle that contained 50% Shiraz, 30% Mouvedré and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Yum! (I hope! I'm keeping it for a short while before I try it).
You can see the process below...
Once we had filled our bottles, corked them and labelled them, it was time to do the wax seal. This is definitely harder than it looks and I had to do this twice to get it even remotely what it was supposed to look like! 🙂 But it was a lot of fun and I'd really recommend you try it out! It costs R100 per person and it includes the cellar tour. And you obviously get to take your wine home (winning!).
After all the hard work of 'making' our wine, we sat down to a delicious lunch of platters in the Kalkveld Lounge. The cheeses, meats, breads and veggies were great and it was nice to get to chat a bit more to Leslie and Benita - the Hospitality Manager.
Soon, you will be able to stay over at Zandvliet in the Manor House (see below). It's your typical beautiful, old farmhouse with big rooms and wooden floors and I can imagine that, especially in winter, it would be a lovely place to spend the night.
Thank you so much to Leslie and Benita for accommodating us at Zandvliet and giving us such a great time! And a special thank you to Mira from Hot Oven Marketing - for doing all of the organising and work behind the scenes.
We had a lovely day out!
Contact: +27 23 615 1146
Address: Robertson Valley, not far from Ashton, off the R60.
Star Rating: ****
Note: We were invited to visit Zandvliet by Mira from Hot Oven Marketing and so we were treated to all of the activities that took place. This review is thus solely based on this experience.
*Cover Image provided by Hot Oven Marketing