Had a remarkable dinner at Overgaauw, a wine estate in Stellenbosch, on Wednesday night. David van Velden, who hosted us, is the fourth-generation winemaker of this family property. Overgaauw has been in the van Velden family since 1905, and David began making wine in 2003, took over from his father in 2007, and has been in charge of the business since 2009. He also looks remarkably like Orlando Bloom. ‘I’m just a custodian,’ he says, saying that having a six month son who one day will likely take over from him puts things into perspective.
And talking of perspective, we tried some lovely old wines. These bottles are pieces of history, from a very different era in the South African wine scene. To be fair on them, we tasted them blind. There was some discussion about the reds, and the fact that in the old days these would have been made without malolactic fermentation. This is very unusual for red wines, and explains in part why they have aged so beautifully, with pHs in the 3.1 range. They would have been fairly undrinkable young, I’m guessing, but it’s sometimes worth trading early drinkability for longevity.
Overgaauw Steen 1976 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Nutty and fresh, with a hint of spearmint as well as some toast. Fresh and precise with bright acidity and nice evolution, as well as notes of toast and wax. Some straw, herbs and citrus character. I thought this was old and guessed 1987, but was out by more than a decade. 93/100
Overgaauw Pinotage 1972 Stellenbosch, South Africa
A bright red colour, with fresh, vivid, bright cherry fruit and some herb and fine spices. Quite dry on the palate with a bit of grip and pure cherry and plum notes. Still quite vibrant and fruit driven, this is angular but has finesse. 92/100
Overgaauw Cabernet Sauvignon 1974 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Sweet, vibrant and spicy with lovely herby, juicy fruit. Ripe and sweet with some lovely grainy, mineral notes and a really appealing sweetness to the fruit. Immensely drinkable. 93/100
Overgaauw Tria Corda 1981 Stellenbosch, South Africa
Warm, spicy and generous with notes of ginger and mint. Fresh, slightly minty palate with ripe cherry and plum fruit. There’s nice grip and freshness here with an appealing sappy quality. Real interest. 92/100