Thursday, January 17, 2019

A visit to Namaqua Cellars, Vredendal

While we were on holiday in Lambert's Bay in December we wanted to visit Namaqua winery in Vredendal. This is one of South Africa's biggest wine producers.  We keep meeting the team at award ceremonies as over the last few years they have picked up some very impressive awards, and lots of them.  Recently they won the General Smuts Trophy for the Top Wine and the Pietman Hugo trophy for quality. and consistency. Yes, the winery concentrates on bulk wine, boxed wine and making wine for other people but they do have a small range of excellent wines we wanted to taste.  We made an appointment with winemaker Reinier van  Greunen and had an impressive tasting
The large and spacious tasting facility also has a small restaurant
which has a simple, but reputedly good, menu
We arrived at 3 for our appointment at Die Keldery
They also have a small range of things for sale, as well as wine
The view over the valley and you see lots of vineyards.  Namaqua has 200 owner producers. This fruitful valley is fed by the Olifants river
A good outdoor seating area and a children's playground.  It was hot; we preferred to sit in the air conditioned tasting room
Reinier van Greunen was very welcoming and took us through the range of wines. It is now possible to buy their wines on line. We began with the 2018 Chenin Blanc from their Cultivar Collection. R45 Typical golden dusty nose with fruit and spice, jujube sweeties, dark apricots, citrus and guava
Reinier kindly organised one of their cheese and meat platters for us to try during the tasting. It came with three glasses of their white Muscadel
Then the 2017 Doornkraal Chenin Blanc. We paid R130, (R780 for a case of 6). Made as a social responsibility project with a local community from low yield vines. The vineyard is tilled with horse-drawn ploughs and everything is done by hand. An elegant dusty chenin, with golden juicy fruit, with lime crispness, soft chalky tannin, minerality and long flavours. Platter gives it 4½ stars
The back label
Then the 2014 Namaqua Limited Cellar Door Merlot R85 which was the National Champion at the Young Wine Show. Pretty and perfumed on the nose with roses and violets, it has intense dark fruit, biting fruit acid, minty, mocha and nuts, this wine needs time to gather its skirts but has great potential. Each bottle is numbered
From the Heritage Collection, the 2017 Cape West Cabernet Sauvignon Pinotage blend has lots of gongs. including a double gold at Veritas this year. Elegant on the nose with some perfume, it has soft sweet fruit and some youthful tension, which is what people are looking for today
The 2017 Spencer Bay Merlot from the Flagship Range is perfumed with violets and cassis, has sweet red berry fruit,cherries, red and black cassis berries and leaves, and black pepper hints and is nicely round on the palate  Lynne scored this 18/20
2017 Spencer Bay Winemakers Reserve The Blend. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot  Very approachable on the nose, with chocolate and black cherries. Soft chewy tannins, good fruit, cherries and cassis, this wine has tension and length and is very impressive now and will surely be in the future. R125. We think it will win awards. Lynne scored this 18.5/20
The platter looks and was delicious
Summer on a plate
The Namaqua White Muscadel is sticky sweet and full of raisins and honey. Winning lots of awards. R60
Then a tour of the wine cellar, it is bigger than anything we have seen before
We were impressed with the quantity this tank holds .....
Until we saw this one and then more ...
... and there is a veritable forest of them.  We counted about 24 holding up to about 1.2 million litres each, but apparently there are more on another site
Winemaker, Reinier van Greunen, took John up the stairs to the top. Lynne does not do heights
The green vineyard view from the top
In every direction, grapes
"I will look at the photos! Enjoy the view"
We had a marvellous tasting and visit and are so impressed with what they are doing with their Heritage range. Thank you Reinier.  Their boxed wines are very popular in South Africa and they sell a lot of them overseas
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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2019

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