Monday, October 26, 2015

Oldenburg Vineyards: A South African Winery Visit

Oldenburg Vineyards, Stellenbosch

Oldenburg Vineyards is an independent family run boutique winery located in a spectacular area of South Africa’s Stellenbosch wine region. We were impressed by the stylish winery and knockout wines.

Quest For Rainbow’s End Leads To Oldenburg

During our recent visit to South Africa, we started out searching for the Rainbow’s End, literally, and ended up at Oldenburg Vineyards. Rainbow’s End is a small winery we planned to visit down a gravel road in the Helshoogte Pass in Simonsberg. Our calls to the winery went unanswered and the winery wasn’t accepting drop-ins, so we drove our rental car through a cloud of dust to Oldenburg Vineyards.

The cellar door (tasting room) was designed by architect Simon Beerstecher and allows the stunning views of Oldenburg’s vineyards with the backdrop of the Stellenbosch Mountains to be completely visible while inside the building. The thatched roof provides a traditional Cape Dutch finish. The interior has an open and airy feel.

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Spectacular Wines To Match The View

Oldenburg Cellar DoorAt Oldenburg, it would be easy to merely drink in the beautiful and tranquil surroundings. However, we wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t sample the wine!

We started with a South African signature grape, the 2012 Chenin Blanc. The wine offered a wonderful balance between freshness and wood notes. The wine is barrel fermented using 50% new French oak. There are citrus notes with some vanilla touches.

Moving to the reds, we sampled the 2011 Syrah, which is aged 20 months in American oak and offers a delightful, velvety body. The taste ripples with black currant and a hint of pepper.

Perhaps the most spectacular wine was the 2011 Merlot. This isn’t any wimpy wine. It has commendable body and structure from 16 months in French oak and nice tannins. We got smokiness and cherries that swirled in a well balanced ruby wine.

Oldenburg Chenin BlancOn The Watch For Leopards

As we continued our tasting, Tessa told us that at least one leopard has been seen to prowl the area. To fortify ourselves we continued tasting wine and moved to Cabernet.

We tasted two Cabs, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2009 Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon. While the 2010 was a perfectly fine Cab, the 2009 shone in comparison. We believe that 2009 was a globally outstanding vintage. The Barrel Select had spice and tannins and is a dark, complex wine. The flavors of mint, herbs and blueberries coat the tongue in a deliciously long finish.

Wrapping Up With The Flagship

Oldenburg Tasting RoomThe flagship wine of Oldenburg is Rhodium. We sampled the 2012 vintage. Rhodium is a very rare metal and South Africa produces most of the world’s supply. Like the metal, the wine is of South African origin, very low production and a premium product.

The blend is 53% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc and 7% Malbec. This is an excellent blend and offers a nice taste of raspberries, black fruit and some herbs. While a nice sipper currently, this should improve with the catalyst of a couple of years of aging.

Oldenburg Vineyards was one of our most enjoyable tasting experiences in South Africa. Expertly crafted wines together with panoramic views and tasteful décor – what more could you ask? Oldenburg should be high on your list for your next wine safari.

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