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WINE ROUTE: Great Wines, Magnificent Vines

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Michael Olivier talks of De Grendel and its wines. Michael publishes in November, with Neil Pendock, The People’s Guide – navigate the winelands in a shopping trolley and is a well known wine writer and broadcaster. Visit him on his website www.michaelolivier.co.za.

The beautiful manor house of De Grendel is one of Cape Town’s oldest farms and 20 minutes from the city and the airport. It sits majestically elevated on the slopes of the Tygerberg surrounded by its vineyards on high sea facing slopes and has arguably one of the best views of Table Mountain. These southern slopes offer chill breezes off the fresh Atlantic Ocean, only 7 kilometers away, which cool the climate in De Grendel Vineyards allowing for the production of top quality grapes for the estate’s great wines.

Charles Hopkins is the inaugural winemaker and one of South Africa’s most highly regarded winemakers both in the country and abroad and a member of the 36 member Cape Winemakers Guild.

Says Charles “When I got here I had some serious plans for De Grendel. It’s been a challenge and an adventure and I love both, so I’ve been having a lot of fun working with this efficient and well-trained team and we’ve exceeded the goals we set out to achieve which makes it all the more rewarding. Quality is not a goal, it’s a journey.” He adds that De Grendel has good soil and combined with all the other factors, poses exciting opportunities and cites that it is a ‘huge responsibility” working with the Graaff family and its current incumbent Sir David Graaff. Our goal was to be producing the best wines in the Durbanville region within two years and I feel we have achieved this.”

Also at De Grendel from the first vintage is Elzette du Preez, whose true passion is winemaking, and who has a qualification from Elsenburg Agricultural College, Stellenbosch. In recent years, she has harvested in California, toured the major French wine regions, as well as Marlborough, New Zealand, focusing specifically on Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir.

The estate’s medal and trophy cabinet fairly rattles with awards, both local and international. The estate produces a stonker of a Sauvignon Blanc and a selected vineyard Sauvignon called Koetshuis. The Pinot Gris, recently released is one of my favourites from the Cape winelands. The Winifred is a delicious blended wine. There is a double brace of reds, with a fabulous Bordeaux blend called Rubaiyat, a Shiraz, a Merlot and a subtle smooth Pinot Noir. With summer coming on, the Rosé will be the drink of summer.

Visit www.degrendel.co.za for information about their wines.

In all there is a pursuit of excellence, now and in the future.