Less than an hour’s drive from Cape Town, the rolling hills, mystical river and lush greenery of the Upper Blaauwklippen Valley are home to some of the most serene wine country landscapes in South Africa. It’s this rustic country charm that draws visitors to the Upper Blaauwklippen Vintners’ tasting, to share in the passion for fine wine and terroir with the owners of the wine farms themselves. This years’ experience takes place on Saturday the 8th of June from 11am to 4pm.
A visit to the Upper Blaauwklippen Vintners’ tasting feels like an escape to the country visiting friends, where you’ll hear the stories behind the wines and the farms, relax and meander through vineyards – glass-in-hand – or hop on the free shuttle provided on the day to explore all aspects of this hidden gem.
You’ll join the owners and winemakers of three boutique, family-owned farms – Kleinood, Keermont and De Trafford – as they provide guests with rare access to their farms to taste newly-released, hand-crafted vintages, as well as rare and coveted vinoteque wines.
“As like-minded producers we all strive for the lightest footprint on the landscape with our small, sustainable vineyards and wineries. I feel you can’t make great wine without being in touch with nature, and in our valley, the beauty of nature is inescapable and reflected in all our wines,” says David Trafford, owner of De Trafford wine farm.
A five-kilometre trip up the valley connecting the three farms leads along an elevation of 200 metres through abundant Cape fynbos, the Blaauwklippen river and lush vineyard blocks, where owners including renowned cellar design engineer Gerard de Villiers and winemaker Reynie Oosthuizen of Kleinood are using the least amount of intervention in the vineyard to make some of SA’s finest terroir-driven wines.
“Kleinood endeavors to produce truly hand-crafted wines from naturally-grown vineyards where everything from the vineyards to the winery is dictated by the terroir, resulting in wines that do not reflect what we have done to them, but rather express the complexity of their origin,” says Gerard. “Only four Rhône style wines are produced under the Tamboerskloof label – the flagship Tamboerskloof Syrah, Tamboerskloof Viognier and the two 100% Syrah sibling wines named after our children – Tamboerskloof Katharien Rose’ and the minute production of a single vineyard block Tamboerskloof John Spicer.”
The Upper Blaauwklippen vintners have been heralded by SA’s leading wine experts including Roland Peens of Wine Cellar fine wine merchants as some of the finest producers of Syrah the country has to offer. Indeed, these very varietals originating from the Rhône – Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache – as well as others such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot seem to flourish best in this valley, bringing the vineyard to bottle in each of the farm’s distinct fine wines.
At Keermont alone, the mere thirty hectares under vine boast no less than thirteen varietals, speaking volumes for winemaker Alex Starey’s passion for the quality of the soil. What makes the biosphere of this valley so very unique and perfectly suited to many different varietals is the nurturing river that runs through each farm. The Blaauwklippen river originates in the Fleurfontein Spring located in the midst of the Keermont vineyards and streams down the valley, giving life to its naturally fertile terroir and lush flora.
“The Upper Blaauwklippen Valley is a magical place to make wine. The topography, elevation, and proximity to the ocean create an ideal climate and the decomposed granite soils – in which the vines grow – result in structured, complex wines,” says Alex. “Keermont is about a place. This is why we emphasise ‘Grown, Produced, and Bottled at Keermont Vineyards’. People go hand in hand with this place and our small team strives towards making Keermont the best it can be. Surrounded by great producers, we are blessed with a winemaking community who support each other.”
To participate in this very personal premium tasting experience – with very limited tickets available at R600 each – send an email to Wiena van Wyk on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 021 880 2527. The Upper Blaauwklippen Vintners tasting takes place in the Upper Blaauwklippen Valley just off the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West on Saturday the 8th of June from 11am to 4pm.
*Tickets are limited. Please drink responsibly and make use of Uber services.
Details of tastings on the day:
This year guests can look forward to tasting fine and rare wines at De Trafford such as the De Trafford Elevation 393 2009, De Trafford Merlot 2005 and the De Trafford Cabernet Sauvignon 2001. Culinary treats will be prepared to complement the wines by the likes of Pete Goffe-Wood serving delicious bites from his Fire and Smoke Food Truck at De Trafford.
De Trafford Winery is situated on the beautiful Mont Fleur farm set at the top of a dramatic valley, 380m up between the Stellenbosch and Helderberg mountains.
The original mountain farm was purchased in 1976 by the Trafford family. A 2km road had to be built to get to the property – thiswinding, bumpy road is still enjoyed by visitors today. It was only in 1992 that a small winery was established and in 1994 a small vineyard planted. Working closely with neighbours, Keermont and one or two others in the area ensures the best possible fruit. The aim has always been to produce the highest quality wines which convey the personality and uniqueness of the Helderberg area to the full.
The property is still owned and run by the Trafford family with a small team of dedicated workers who take great care to produce properly ripe fruit from well balanced, naturally low yielding vineyards.The boutique production of 3500 cases means the vintners can pay every attention to detail.
Keermont will showcase the Keermont range of wines and a mixed vertical tasting of Keermont Terrasse 2011, 2012, 2013 and Syrah 2011, 2012, 2013 with limited six bottle vertical cases available for purchase. Naomi Joubert will be offering dishes to accompany fine wines at Keermont.
Keermont Vineyards is a boutique wine estate set in a natural amphitheatre between the Helderberg and Stellenbosch Mountain ranges on the Upper Blaauwklippen Road. Keermont aims to grow and make wines to reflect the wonders of this beautiful place. They currently produce approximately 72 000 bottles per year of naturally made, terroir specific, hand crafted wines. All of the wines are grown, produced, and bottled on the estate.
Kleinood will offer tasting of Tamboerskloof current vintages and wines made once-off such as the Tamboerskloof Rantsoen Roussanne and the Viognier 2017 blend, as well as De Boerin olive oil, honey and verjus products. Gustaaf from The Green Goose will pair the Tamboerskloof Viognier, Tamboerskloof Rose and Tamboerskloof Syrah each with a little dish. Kleinood will also be releasing some older wines from the library stock in limited quantities including the Tamboerskloof Viognier vintages from 2006 to 2018, Tamboerskloof Syrah vintages from 2007 to 2015, John Spicer vintages 2010 and 2011 and two 2009 John Spicer Magnums.
In the year 2000 Gerard and Libby de Villiers discovered a piece of land nestled in the Blaauwklippen valley between the Stellenbosch Mountain and the Helderberg, complete with mountains, river and pristine forest. It stole their hearts and they called it Kleinood.
Having re-invented the rundown fruit farm by establishing vineyards and building a winery, they finally moved to the property in 2008. Gerard, an Engineer by profession, having devoted his substantial skills and energy to designing cellars for some of the biggest names in the Cape wine industry, designed and built the winery. Libby, responsible for the architectural design, created timeless buildings with strong traditional Cape influences. Gerard used his experience to design a state of the art winery while maintaining traditional winemaking methods.
Today, ten of just twelve hectares of arable land are devoted to vines while the remaining two are under olive trees. The rest runs wild or is planted with fynbos, roses and vegetables. The Kleinood winery is the heart of the farm – a manifestation of the unique terroir and character of this simple unassuming haven where, in a delicate balance between science and passion, no viticultural or oenological effort is spared to produce a wine that is truly honest and elegant.