Words: Belinda Mountain | Images: Supplied
Zandvliet Wine Estate lies near the small town of Ashton in the Robertson Valley and was one of the first farms in the country to bottle Shiraz. The estate’s flagship Kalkveld Shiraz inspired the opening of the Kalkveld Lounge, an atmospheric tasting room which, with its roaring fireplace, two long wooden tables and an 8m custom-built chandelier made from recycled wine bottles, brings to mind dining scenes from Game of Thrones. Along with the wine blending experience, the estate will be developing four-star accommodation, a restaurant and conference facilities – hoping to significantly boost the area’s tourist attractions.
On arrival at the estate, we were greeted with a delicious pink G&T, rather surprising until you learn that Zandvliet produces ClemenGold Gin, inspired by the ClemenGold mandarin planted on the farm. Hope on Hopkins Distillery in Cape Town creates the gin, blending nine botanicals with cinnamon, honey, ground almonds and other special ingredients. Besides tasting the Zandvliet wine range in the lounge, visitors can also pair them with ClemenGold products like biscotti, panforte, marmalade and chocolates – offering interesting flavour sensations. If you’re feeling peckish, the lounge also serves hearty farm platters including delicious cheeses, charcuterie, olives, fruit, breads and dips.
Another unique experience offered by the Kalkveld Lounge is the wine blending itself. It’s not every day that you’re able to express your own personal taste preferences in a bottle of wine! You’re invited to smell and taste the three samples of wine (in our case Mourvedre, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon) and then decide on the percentages to be included in your bottle. You then mix up the perfect combination in a beaker, pouring from the appropriate barrels, and pour the mixture into your bottle. You use a corking machine to insert a cork, and you even get to apply wax to the neck of the bottle, which is more challenging than you’d imagine! Think up a name for your blend, write it on a label, stick it on your bottle and voila, you’ve blended your own wine to take home − a hugely satisfying experience.
If you’re interested in wine, love a bit of history or simply like to experience delicious flavour combinations, then Zandvliet Estate should be on your list of things to do around Cape Town.
For more information on Zandvliet Wine Estate, phone 023 615 1146 or visit the website.