This month our wine writer Greg Landman finds himself in Riebeek Valley.
The twin towns of Riebeek-Kasteel and Riebeek-West are very much like sisters. They are lucky enough to be placed in one of the most beautiful valleys on earth in a part of the world where one actually gets tired of saying just that. Riebeek-Kasteel is the artsy one while Riebeek-West is more historic with the initial home of two of the most important political dynasties in SA – the Malan and Smuts families. The spectacular mountains and the huge valley to the East where lies Tulbagh are breathtaking. The early immigrants from flat little Flanders must have dropped their jaws in wonderment at all this magnificence which was spread before them.
In addition to all this scenic beauty, there are some brilliant wine farms in the area with great tasting rooms where they are experts in rolling out the red carpet at the delight of all visitors to this very special part of the world.
Did you miss our Wine Town of the Month for July? Find it here.
Here’s where to go
Kloovenburg Wine and Olive Estate
As you come over the Bothmanskloof Pass into the Valley, this treasure pops into view with vineyards and the shimmering leaves of olive trees as far as the eye can see. Kloovenburg is home to the Du Toit family where winemaker Pieter and his charming wife Annalene are hard at working producing delicious wines and olive oils. The farm is known for some spectacular reds like their silky smooth Merlot, the enticing and spicy Shiraz, and the Eight Feet four-way red blend – named after the feet of his sons when they were kids crushing the grapes. It’s no surprise that an olive tasting is on offer and you can even do it paired with a selection of their finest wines, so indulge in some of the best SA has to offer.
+27 (0) 22 448 1635
Looking for somewhere to eat in Riebeek Kasteel? We have just the spot for you.
Riebeek Valley Wine Company
Previously called Riebeek Cellars and established by nine members as a co-op in 1946, the Riebeek Valley Wine Company thunders ahead with a wider range of well priced offerings dubbed the Riebeek Cellars Collection that even includes a delicious carbonated bubbly that goes down a treat. The tasting room at the cellar which is on the edge of the town is not open on the weekends but the charming wine shop in town is always open, but do call ahead. From reds to whites and back again, the friendly staff will steer you through it all with great finesse. The Cabernet Sauvignon is smooth and beguiling, the Pinotage is packed with deep red fruit and the delicious Chenin holds its own against some much more seriously priced contenders.
+27 (0) 22 448 1213
You also might like: Our Pick of the Best Bubbly
Allesverloren Wine Estate
Allesverloren has been the domain of the Malan family since 1872, but the farm’s history dates back even further to 1704. A place of historical significance, the estate’s name comes from a huge fire which swept through the farm in 1704. “Alles is verloren” was the plaintive cry but as we can see today the fire didn’t hold this farm back from being one of the greats in the area. The setting on the slopes of the Kasteelberg is perfect and the Pleasant Pheasant is more than capable of assuaging those hunger pangs with some delicious country fare. Some of the finest Portuguese varietals in SA come from here and the Port style wines are legendary. Master winemaker Danie Malan handles it all with aplomb as if to the manner born. The all red slate has been joined by a fruity Chenin Blanc this year and what a delight it is. The Tinta Barocca is firm and earthy while the Red Muscadel is perfumed and exotic – both are knockouts. Enjoy a tasting of the 10 wines on offer for just R50 from Monday through to Saturday. There’s even a play area for the kids, an added bonus.
+27 (0) 22 461 2589
You also might like: Chenin’s Time to Shine
Pulpit Rock Winery
The Brink family who own this chunk of gorgeous land just outside Riebeek West are all involved one way or the other in the smooth running of the farm. The multi-award winning wines are an absolute treat and you can sip on your favourite surround by the spectacular views. The charming Wine and Snack Bar is open for breakfast and lunch on the weekends serving platters that include cheese, charcuterie, pastries and Plankie steak. If the wine goes to your head, then book yourself a night in their self-catering accommodation. Do not pass up the opportunity to try the Louisa Cape Blend; it’s an award-winning Pinotage Shiraz knockout that’s named after the Brink matriarch. The others following closely on its elegant heels are the Louisa MCC Chardonnay Brut and the deliciously rich Chardonnay Barrel Fermented.
+27 (0) 22 461 2025
Words Greg Landman