Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Tamboerskloof wines at Kleinood Wine Estate, Stellenbosch

An invitation from Kleinood Wine Estate in Stellenbosch to visit them and taste their Tamboerskloof wines was happily accepted. We arrived, as asked, at 11 and were boisterously greeted by three lovely, friendly Bouviers des Flandres, belonging to the owners. Engineer Gerard de Villiers and his wife Libby, who is an architect. Gerard de Villiers is famous in the wine industry for the superb wineries he has designed. And Kleinood is a Green farm doing everything possible to put back into the earth what they take out. Kleinood means something small and precious and this 12 hectare farm certainly is that. The story of how they do this is on line and is so worth reading. 

We were warmly welcomed by Marisca van Zyl, their Marketing and Sales Manager
A rill runs from a pond at the owners’ house, down to another pond in front of the tasting room. The dogs were focused on the three white ducks, who know how to keep just out of reach
Freedom. Libby de Villiers came to take the dogs for a walk and the ducks could relax
Inside the tasting room with its tall front doors, which were sourced in India and adapted for this room
The stairs lead to the offices above and the upper gallery of the winery
A vineyard view
and the old oaks along the entrance road
A sculpture of a worker and two of the premium Kleinood wines
While we waited for the other invited guests to arrive, we took a walk through the vineyards,
the gardens and then the winery. Bottles waiting to be packed in boxes
Every label is applied by hand
The bottling and packing area
Harvest is happening: it’s a busy time on the farm
Beautiful trusses of ripe Shiraz waiting for the pickers
Taking off the leaf cover so that the grapes can be harvested quickly and easily
The Stellenbosch mountains
The family home
They kept the old oaks which grew alongside the old wagon road and have created lovely gardens on the property. Anything that is aromatic is planted, we were told, and Libby de Villiers makes her own perfume, which is for sale at the tasting room
Intensely herbal and floral in note, it is very attractive and quite intriguing
The approach road alongside the vines
A gardener hard at work
They have their own water management system with a dam; a natural filtration system
which cleans the water so that it can go back to be used on the vineyards and in the property
Geese are very good for the ecology and for keeping down the snail population
They are also very good at guarding property and make a very loud noise if there are intruders
The view across the dam. It is filled by the river and by grey water
A beautiful place to sit and relax and contemplate the natural environment around you
The vineyards lead down to the river and the woods; on the left you can see part of a very well maintained olive grove
This is the barrel cellar, full of all those lovely wine and oak aromas
They have a modern circular wine 'tank' which Lynne described as a hand grenade
It looks as though it is made of some sort of ceramic
The freshly picked grapes coming in from the vineyard are all hand sorted and selected
Imperfect grapes, leaves and other detritus are removed before the grapes go into the destemmer
Here you can see them going into the destemmer
A tank of grapes fermenting, viewed from the top gallery. Those heady smells of harvest are so good
Time to sit down and taste. We began with the 2018 Viognier, which we think is one of the top three wines from that varietal produced in South Africa at the moment. It is hand-picked on different dates to ensure that the wine reflects the full flavour spectrum of the grape. It is wood fermented and now has 11% Roussane added. It is full of peaches and apricots, with perfume and incense from the wood on the nose. Crisp and fruity with some complexity, the Roussanne shows as an added component and is discernible. There is just a golden touch of oak; peaches and cream remain on the palate. Delicious. Definitely a wine for spicy, complex food and with seafood. The Rosé 2018, which is 100% Syrah, is named Katharien after the de Villiers’ daughter. 85% is fermented in tank and 15% in French 5th fill oak barrels. Pale salmon in colour. Strawberry and cherry on the nose and palate, where it shows the Syrah character as a soft and fruity black berry and cherry Shiraz; just lighter in weight. Another super food wine
Tamboerskloof Syrah. Mostly made from the farm's Syrah, with a little Mourvedre and a dash of Viognier. A pretty, perfumed nose with some balsam, black pepper with cassis, mulberries and black plums. It is spicy with initial tension, some chalky tannins, soft black plum and black cherry fruit, with spice and pepper, long flavours and the potential building blocks to age very well. A wine for game, duck and charcuterie, and also Asian dishes

The Tamboerskloof John Spicer 2015 is the estate's premium wine and is named for their son. 100% Syrah, this is fermented in 15% new, 35% second fill and 50% third fill oak for 18 months. 
The other two guests arrived and it was time for a later lunch, so we walked down through the vineyards and the olives
past the series of ponds
and into the woods where they have this table which can seat 10. If you are interested in doing something here you can hire the space. Contact Marisca. But only 10 people. And you need to hire your own caterer
Who knew that wasps liked meat? Go to the farm's website to see how they are combatting these pests
We were served platters of cold chicken, charcuterie, cheeses, Banting crackers, wonderful sourdough bread, butter, raisins, nuts and salad leaves and of course the three wines we had tasted earlier, as our companions had not yet tasted them
Aslan in the woods
The olives grown for Kleinood's Boerin Extra Virgin Olive oil are Favlosa, Leccino and Coratina
They have these informative granite 'milestones' at the edge of each vineyard and olive grove
A few ripe olives on the tree
An urn on a pedestal marks the beginning of the olive orchard
A decorative window. A lovely experience. Thank you all at Kleinood

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