Having fun in the Swartland and Voor Paardeberg

Callie Louw

Callie Louw

The Swartland revolution is soon to kick off. Before then, I have about 20 minutes to blog on some of the fun I’ve been having in the last day or so.

Last night I went to dinner at Callie Louw’s place on Porseleinberg (Porcelain Mountain), along with a whole bunch of winemakers, and the visiting Olivier Clape. I gave Sebastien Burel (@vinomaniac) a lift – he’s here to do some filming of the revolution and the Swartland vineyards.

Rosa Kruger in Callie's vineyard

Porseleinberg is the Swartland project of Boekenhoutskloof, but no wines are yet released and none have been tasted by outsiders. First vintage sold will be 2010. Callie showed us round the vineyards, with viticulturist Rosa Kruger.

Vinomaniac Sebastien Burel filming on the Porcelain Mountain

Dinner was great. Lots and lots of wine, although I was driving, so I didn’t have very much. The bottles included Rayas 2001, Pegau Capo 2007, Leon Barral Jadis 2007, Yquem 1999, Clape Cornas 2009, Montez Cote Rotie 2007 and Jasmin Cote Rotie 2007.

Craig Hawkins and Jurgen Gouws

Then this morning I headed off early to Lammershoek for a visit with Craig, Carla and Jurgen. Fabulous vineyards, and the wines – since Craig took over as winemaker in 2010 – are stunning, having taken a new, more natural direction.

Bush vine Chenin at Lammershoek

We also tried Craig’s Testalonga wines. They are stunning natural wines. The 2011 El Bandito Chenin Blanc, with 6 weeks skin contact, may be one of the best young white wines I have tasted. It’s thrilling.

Jurgen’s Intellego wines are also impressive. He is making a skin contact (3 weeks) Chenin that is quite thrilling as a young barrel sample (2011 vintage). I want to buy some: aromatically astonishing.

I had a quick rendez vous with David Sadie in a vineuyard to taste his Tulbagh/Swartland wines, which are impressively fresh and well defined. Then I was off to the Voor Paardeberg to visit Scali (Tania & Willie de Waal) and Vondeling (Matthew Copeland). We had a really good tasting followed by a great lunch.

The Scali wines were good before, and are getting better. The 2008 vintage reds show great definition and purity. The Pinotage is great, and the Syrah even better. I also really enjoyed Matthew’s wines, including some cracking whites, a stunning sweet straw wine (Sweet Carolyn) and the wonderfully savoury, focused 2007 Erica Shiraz.

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