Friendly Stellenbosch winery, owned by the same family since 1938, Stellenbosch revisited part 7

The view from Delheim, looking towards Table mountain

The property thatís now the home farm of Delheim was originally a large estate called Drie Sprong on the southwestern slopes of the Simonsberg in Stellenbosch. In 1938 a German named Hans Hoheisen purchased a 200 hectare portion of this property, clearing some of the scrubland and planting Pinot Noir, Cape Riesling, Cabernet and Hanepoort. He built a cellar with 25 concrete storage tanks of 4500 litre capacity each, and began making wine. He named the new venture Delheim, after his wife (Deliís home) in 1949.

In 1951 Hansí nephew Michael ĎSpatzí Sperling joined them from Germany to help with the venture. It was quite a struggle, and in 1957 Hans left, leaving Spatz to run the farm. The home vineyards Ė 50 hectares of sandy loam, high up the Simonsberg (with a cool climate and higher rainfall) are better suited to white varieties and lighter reds. For this reason, Spatz had his eye on buying more vineyard land somewhere a bit warmer. In 1975 he purchased 80 hectares on the Kaptutskop, next door to what is now Kanonkopís vineyards. This site was named Vera Cruz by Spatz, after his wife.  

The Vera Cruz vineyard

Current winemaker Reg Holder

When I visited, winemaker Reg Holder was relatively new on the job, so he was showing me mostly someone else's wines. [I always feel a bit sorry for winemakers in this position.] He's planning to reduce the wood a bit and get better fruit definition, which sounds promising. He reckons Shiraz is one of the varieties that has a lot of potential on the farm, so he will make this a focus. Reg also thinks Chenin could do well at Delheim, but there's a struggle with the price points in South Africa.

Delheim isnít widely considered to be in the top tier of Stellenbosch estates, but they do have some really good vineyard sites, and with a new winemaking direction provided by Reg, this could change.


Delheim Chardonnay Unwooded 2011 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Fresh and fruity with attractive rich pear and peach fruit. Dense and pithy with nice fruit. 89/100

Delheim Chardonnay Sur Lie 2011 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Fresh and a bit nutty with nice savoury texture and some nutty depth. Nice density here and some peachy, spicy richness. 90/100

Delheim Pinotage 2010 Stellenbosch, South Africa
This is a barrel selection from the cellar. Sweet, lush, pure black cherry and blackberry fruit. Some spicy oak notes and chocolate/coffee richness, too. Very attractive in a ripe style. 90/100

Delheim Shiraz 2008 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Lush, slightly minty, meaty nose. The palate is rich, dense and bold with tar and spice. Nice definition, in a very ripe style. 89/100

Delheim Grand Reserve 2008 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Vivid and fresh with direct black fruits, some plums and a bit of tar. Good structure and definition. Youthful and taut, and quite stylish. 92/100

Delheim Grand Reserve 2001 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Smooth, supple and elegant, with a savoury, gravelly edge and subtle hints of earth and leather, as well as sweet black fruits. Fruit-driven but starting to develop some complexity. Fine tannins. 94/100

Delheim Noble Late Harvest Riesling Edelspatz 2011 Stellenbosch, South Africa
From 2.65 hectares of vines, with low yields of 15 hl/hectare. Spicy apricot fruit. Viscous and rich with some citrus and nice balancing acidity. Fine and fresh. 93/100


Part 1, Waterkloof
Part 2, Waterford
part 3, Reyneke
Part 4, Kanonkop
Part 5, Rustenberg
Part 6, Meerlust
Part 7, Delheim
Part 8, Thelema
Part 9, Neil Ellis

Part 10, Tokara
Part 11, Oldenburg

Wines tasted 03/12  
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