14 September 2012 by Denise Slabbert

It’s all about the journey…

Oldenburg winemaker Simon Thompson gets poetic about some truly fabulous wines.

Oldenburg Vineyards in the Banghoek Valley

There’s nothing quite like a wine-tasting to cheer one up in the middle of the week, so a visit to the Marion on Nicol boutique hotel in Sandton to taste Oldenburg Vineyards' fabulous wines (along with delicious cuisine prepared by chef Craig Jordan) seemed like the perfect excuse to bunk work for an afternoon.

Winemaker Simon Thompson

Winemaker Simon Thompson took a few moments to talk us through Oldenburg’s new-release vintages, the gorgeous Oldenburg Chenin Blanc 2011, Oldenburg Chardonnay 2011, the Oldenburg Cabernet Franc 2009 and the Oldenburg Cabernet Sauvignon 2009.

It was in reference to the Cabernet that Simon got a little lyrical (as only winemakers can), revealing that, for him, 'Cabernet is a journey.'

He explains: ‘Cabernet is by far the most challenging wine to make on so many levels, both in the vineyard and in the winery. One really has to keep an open mind and let the wine take you in a direction. It is a journey of discovery and enlightenment, and each vintage Cabernet Sauvignon reveals 1 of its secrets to me.'

The effort paid off for Thompson, and the Oldenburg Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 received 4-and-a-half stars in Classic Wine magazine.

Thompson firmly believes in ‘truth in terroir’, and says that the Banghoek Valley, where Oldenburg Vineyards is situated, is a unique location with its own microclimate and identity. 'I do not use any grapes other than the ones grown on Oldenburg. I am not trying to make wines that mirror any other region or country; my wines are true to the terroir.' 

I am crazy about Chenin Blanc – what a pleasure to make, very much a wine that is made in the vineyard and not the winery.

The much talked-about Chenin Blanc

While all the wines were delicious, it was the Chenin Blanc that had us mesmerised. And Thompson wasn’t surprised: 'I am crazy about Chenin Blanc – what a pleasure to make, very much a wine that is made in the vineyard and not the winery. My Chenin Blanc is fresh, crisp, zesty and has loads of minerality to it; it's not bulky or flabby.

'It is a wine that seduces you on so many levels, and before you know it, the bottle is empty. You can enjoy it with or without food.'

Oldenburg wines are available at all good wine stores, or you can contact the Stellenbosch wine farm directly on + 27(0)21 885 1618. Tasting hours at the Cellar Door tasting room are from 10h00 to 16h30 Mondays to Fridays, and by appointment only on weekends and public holidays. Email: cellardoor@oldenburgvineyards.com.

The Cellar Door – vinotique and tasting room at Oldenburg Vineyards

Category: Food & Wine

comments powered by Disqus