Usually my prime reason for visiting a wine estate on my own, is to try wines that I haven’t tried before. That was certainly the case when I recently visited Vondeling Wines, in the Voor Paardeberg wine region of the Western Cape. Although slightly off the beaten track, it is an easily-accessible 45 minutes’ drive from Cape Town.
Although I was well aware of their wines’ fine reputation, there was another reason for my visit, albeit not exactly a mature one. I had discovered that Vondeling’s MD was also a Julian, and we Julians……..
In Julian Richfield’s Savourite Things, I only post about things that are also available for you my readers to enjoy. So in this sposting I will limit the content to the shareable pleasures, the estate and the wines I tasted.
Vondeling is beautifully situated on the southern slopes of the Paardeberg Mountain, and has a gorgeous Cape Dutch manor house and a small country-feel chapel which serves the local community and is also a wedding venue.
We sat in the warm and friendly tasting room before lunch and Julian took me through many of the estate’s wines. I tried their Rose, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, their Baldrick Shiraz and their Rurale 2015 Methode Ancestral (a Brut sparkling wine). All well-balanced, very drinkable and thoroughly enjoyed.
But it was two limited release wines in particular that stood out for me:
The Vondeling Bowwood Pinotage 2014 and their Sweet Carolyn 2017.
I love a good pinotage, the Bowwood is unquestionably “a very good ‘un indeed!”. Full of flavour, it gives a savoury nose and a gentle sweetness from its time in American oak. The wine is a blend from five barrels and shows great intensity of fruit. Does it command enjoying a second glassful? Tick, tick! And if you have the patience – it should age very well. Its cellar door price is R335-00 a bottle, a moderate price for a wine of this stature.
I really enjoy the pleasures that dessert wines offer- generosity on both the nose and the palate. Sweet Carolyn is a Muscat de Frontignan. Moderate in alcohol, its nose is a delight of fruitiness and floral tones. Even a non-drinker would revel in the pleasures of its bouquet. It is not oversweet and a slow sipper, don’t rush the pleasure. It’s my current indulgent personal treat. Shh!! (R225-00 a bottle at the cellar door.)
The added bonus of visiting a wine estate for me is meeting the people. Meeting Julian Johnsen was a huge plus and a privilege.
If you visit Vondeling, you may not necessarily get to meet Julian, unless you too are a Julian and want to join this exclusive fraternity .We Julians found much to talk about and we enjoyed lunch and our time together, and the pleasure of a return visit will hopefully be a case of sooner rather than later.
WINE TASTING – MONDAYS TO FRIDAYS FROM 10:00 TO 17:00 WEEKENDS AND PUBLIC HOLIDAYS BY APPOINTMENT ONLY