The Kalveld Lounge at Zandvliet Wine Estate: Discovering My Inner winemaker
I recently had the pleasure of being wined and dined at the gorgeous Kalkveld Lounge at the Zandvliet Wine Estate just outside of Ashton in the Robertson Wine Valley. Since its 1838 origins, the ‘Home of Shiraz’ has boasted a rich history in the South African wine industry and is well-known for its surrounding limestone hills, which offer a unique kalkveld terroir.
We were welcomed into the newly developed Kalkveld Lounge, a former farm vehicle parking lot turned into an exquisite tasting room. This new haven for enjoying Zandvliet wines will accompany further changes on the farm. These include the addition of 4-star accommodation, a restaurant, and event facilities in the near future.
The Kalkveld Lounge delivers understated luxury as Philip Pikus’ well-thought-out design combines the concept of a working farm with bespoke pieces. His decision to up-cycle and repurpose things from the farm resulted in custom-built chandeliers made from recycled sand-blasted wine bottles and one-of-a-kind arm chairs fashioned from old barrels. I was drawn into the warm, inviting atmosphere by the cosy fireplace, which roared in the background as winemaker Jacques Cilliers informed us of their new offerings.
G&Ts With ClemenGold Gin
We started the day sipping on G&Ts of ClemenGold Gin, Fitch and Leedes pink tonic, fresh herbs, and dried ClemenGold mandarin pieces. These fruits are also grown on the Zandvliet farm. I’m normally not a gin fan but this refreshing and easy-to-drink summery cocktail might have changed my mind. I loved the special touch of including the dried fruit pieces in the bottle packaging. It really added an extra punch of citrus flavour and is such a nice thought.
Feeling invigorated from our G&Ts, we continued underground into the Kalkveld Lounge cellar-turned-art-gallery to explore their latest art exhibition showcasing local talent. The current work of Marina Blight’s pastel paintings starkly contrasted the scrap metal sculptures from Bradley Flynn. The converted cellar is a genuinely innovative use of space. It’s also a clever addition to the Zandvliet Wine Estate to feature local artists every few months in this interesting setting, adding another experience to this multi-faceted farm.
Wine Tastings And More
We headed back upstairs into the Kalkveld Lounge tasting room for the citrus and wine synergy tasting. This was a lovely way to highlight the farm’s fruit history by pairing ClemenGold citrus products with Zandvliet’s flagship wines. With 4 wines in front of me and a beautifully plated array of accompaniments, I was eager to dive in as wine expert Leslie talked us through the wines and how a nibble of citrus flavour could alter their taste.
We started with the Zandvliet Chardonnay. Normally I’m more of a Chenin Blanc kind of girl, but this Chardonnay was extremely smooth and tasted more like a Sauvignon Blanc to me. It was paired with the tangy ClemenGold mandarin marmalade on farm-style bread. After having a bite, the wine was much creamier and less tart. This certainly demonstrated how food can really impact our interpretation of wine.
Named after the chalkey valley soil, we moved onto the 2015 Kalkveld Shiraz, which I had been dying to try. It certainly didn’t disappoint. I noticed notes of plum and dark chocolate with a velvety smooth aftertaste before tasting the 72% dark chocolate with ClemenGold citrus. This changed the wine’s flavour dramatically and afterwards the Shiraz gained a distinctly peppery aftertaste, but it was still one of my favourite wines of the day.
The third pairing was the sweet, fresh, fruity Muscat with a twice baked ClemenGold peel biscotti. I was dubious to try this combination as they both seemed too sweet to complement one another. However, after gingerly dipping my biscotti into the Muscat in an elegant rusk n’ kofi style, I was surprised that the wine seemed less sweet and I enjoyed it more after the citrus biscotti.
Our final tasting was the Zandvliet Vintage Liqueur Wine, which has the fortified port style with the spicy Shiraz character. Not overly sweet, it has notes of black cherry, tobacco and mocha. It went down extremely well with the ClemenGold panforte. This essentially tastes just like Christmas cake and complements the wine SO well. For only R75 per person, the citrus pairing includes great introductory wines for anyone interested in trying something new and getting to know the Zandvliet Wine Estate products.
Discover Your Inner Winemaker
Hands down my favourite part of the day was our wine blending experience. Set up like a workshop in the barrel room, we were each given 3 glasses of Zandvliet red wine. These were the 2015 Cabernet, 2017 Mourvedre, and the 2016 Shiraz. We had the opportunity to taste them first to decipher what main characteristics we liked or disliked. From there, we used a measuring beaker to create our own personal blend of red wine.
As a lover of Shiraz with the vanilla notes on the nose, I decided to use 75% in my blend, plus 20% of Cabernet to make it smooth and just 5% of the young, dark, smokey Mourvedre to add some character. I decanted it, corked, labelled and sealed my bottle in wax to be shared with a special someone in a few months. For only R100 per person, I think this is such a fun experience to discover your inner winemaker. Plus, you get a wonderful memento to take home and enjoy.
Concluding With Lunch
To make the most of the gorgeous weather, we enjoyed a magnificent lunch spread out on the stoop. Vegan hummus, basil pesto and olive tapenade were served with delicious farm bread, an assortment of cheeses and charcuterie platters, all accompanied with condiments from the farm. I paired my lavish meal with the 2015 Hill of Enon Chardonnay and it went down an absolute treat.
Discover Zandvliet Wine Estate Yourself
Zandvliet Wine Estate is only a short drive from Cape Town and has an array of experiences on offer. I would certainly come back for a weekend away, if not to perfect my wine-making skills, then certainly to enjoy that delicious meal all over again.
Kalkveld Lounge at Zandvliet Wine Estate
Opening Times: Monday – Friday (08:00 – 17:00), Saturday & Sunday (10:00 – 14:00)
Call: +27 (23) 615 1146
*Photos marked by an asterisk courtesy of Zandvliet Wine Estate.
Article Date: May 2018
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