A new star from a beautiful property in the Banghoek valley, Stellenbosch revisited part 11

Website: www.oldenburgvineyards.com

Oldenburg is a truly beautiful property. Its 30 hectares of vineyards are nestled in the Banghoek Valley in Stellenbosch. The valley has a slightly cooler climate than neighbouring sites, and the varietal split is 60:40 red to white. The whites tend to be planted on the lower lying areas, on Dundee alluvial soils, while the reds are more concentrated on the upper parts with their weathered granite.

The modern story of Oldenburg begins in 2003, when Adrian Vanderspuy decides the time has come to revitalize this estate, which had been left untended for some time. Adrian was actually born in South Africa on a property adjacent to Oldenburg, but left in 1967. Oldenburg belonged to his grandmother’s partner, a German ex-pat called  Helmut Hohmann, who’d bought it at an auction in 1955. It was previously called Rondekop (round hill), but Helmut renamed it. When he died in 1993 the property was put into a trust, and sadly the vineyards declined.

Adrian replanted all the vineyards over the period 2004–2007, and in 2007 the first wines of the new era were made. On this visit, I met with winemaker Simon Thompson (below), who is also a qualified viticulturist. (His wife, Debbie, is the red wine maker at Simonsig.) We had a good look at the vineyards, and then tasted some wines. Production has grown from 35 000 bottles in 2011 to 60 000 bottles in 2012 as the vineyards have matured.


Oldenburg Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2012 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Textured and quite rich with pear and spice notes. Lovely precision and weight: very stylish. 93/100 (09/13)

Oldenburg Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2011 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Rich and nicely textured with sweet peach and pear notes. Has freshness with some hay notes. Deliciously poised with a hint of crystalline fruits. 91/100 (03/12)

Oldenburg Vineyards Chardonnay 2012 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Powerful and textured but with lovely purity. Peach and pear fruit the focus with restrained oak. Rich, pure style. 93/100 (09/13)

Oldenburg Vineyards Chardonnay 2011 Stellenbosch, South Africa
14% Chenin in the blend. Barrel fermented in 50% new oak. Nice precision and acidity. Rich yet restrained with some citrus and pear fruit, with some subtle spicy oak. Very stylish and well integrated. 93/100 (03/12)

Oldenburg Vineyards Syrah 2010 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Ripe and intense with spicy black fruits and a hint of tar. The palate is ripe, warm and dense with sweet black fruits and some spiciness. 92/100 (09/13)

Oldenburg Vineyards Syrah 2009 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Lush, sweet blackberry and blackcurrant nose with lovely pure ripe fruit. The palate is concentrated and sweet but has good definition. Deliciously vivid with a meaty, spicy edge to the concentrated blackberry fruit. Fabulous stuff with minerals, gravel and black pepper. 94/100 (03/12)

Oldenburg Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2010 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Fresh and mineral with textured black fruits and lovely varietal character. Ripe but still has a hint of greenness, in a nice sort of way. Gravelly, chalky edge to the fruit. 92/100 (09/13)

Oldenburg Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2009 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Lovely, slightly herby, sweet gravelly fruit. Ripe blackberry and blackcurrant with a smoothness and softness, but also good spicy, grainy definition. 93/100 (03/12)

Oldenburg Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Sweet, ripe blackberry and black cherry fruit. Very ripe and lush, showing textured, warm spicy notes with some grainy tannins. 91/100 (09/13)

Oldenburg Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Ripe, rounded and quite pure with lush blackberry and blackcurrant fruit. Dense and pure with some structure and a bit of gravelly grip. Set up for a long future? 93/100 (03/12)

Oldenburg Vineyards Merlot 2010 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Sweet berryish nose with some curranty notes. The palate is pure, rounded and berryish. Supple with nice open sweet fruit. 91/100 (03/12)

Oldenburg Vineyards Rhodium 2010 Stellenbosch, South Africa
This was inspired by a bottle of 2004 Cheval Blanc. It’s a blend of 50% Merlot with 40% Cabernet Franc and 10% Malbec. Ripe, concentrated and quite rich with warm, full, smoothly textured blackberry and blackcurrant fruit. Very ripe but quite stylish. 93/100 (09/13)


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 as indicated  
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