Distinct style of Oldeburg wines

Winemaker Simon Thompson
Winemaker Simon Thompson

IT IS an indisputable fact that a relationship between a winemaker and a wine lover always starts with that first swig of his vinous creation.

At that point, the imbiber will have been either impressed by the wine's intrinsic qualities or repelled by it - signalling the end of the budding relationship.

The suspense or tension which punctuates that first encounter between wine and the unsuspecting imbiber is inevitable.

Even greater so when one has tasted wines from the same winemaker before and expects no less a quality than his or her previous endeavours.

Thus, a recent invite to taste wines from Oldenburg invoked similar suspense. This, because my previous experience of Oldenburg wines, crafted by winemaker Simon Thompson, was unforgettable.

When the winemaker showcased Oldenburg's first wines last year, all 2008 vintages, instant ripples were felt in the local and international market.

First, their three wines, Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Syrah 2008 and Cabernet Franc were listed in the Top 100 SA Wines guide.

This was followed by international accolades for their Syrah 2008 in France and 2010 Chenin Blanc in London.

These developments underlined Oldenburg owner Adrian Vanderspuy's vision, which was to position their produce as boutique wines.

Contributing to the distinct style of Oldeburg's wines is the location of their estate, which is situated in Stellebosch, and is blessed with conducive nature's elements such as the soil and sub-climate which constitute its terroir.

A year later, when we recently met at Sandton's Marion on Nicol Hotel, the focus on the kind of feedback of his new wines would elicit from the coterie of wine enthusiasts joining him for a tasting over lunch.

For the tasting, he has brought along the Oldenburg Vineyards Chardonnay 2011 (R118), Chenin Blanc 2011 (R118), Cabernet Franc 2009 (R182), Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 (R182) and Syrah 2009 (R182).

Oldenburg's Chardonnay is created for lovers of this genre who prefer a lightly wooded style harmoniously integrated with fruit and friendly acidity.

A dash of minerality gives it a refreshing note on the palate.

Of course, it does beckon fish or Thai-styled chicken or even some nice creamy soup.

Their Syrah does exude upfront fruit in the ilk of some popular Shiraz but is characterised by understated fruit, soft tannins and spicy bouquet.

With steak or lamb shank, it can handsomely reward the palate for pairing.

South Africa makes some great Chenin Blancs, which are grabbing the world's attention except unfortunate indifference from a large quarter of wine lovers.

Oldenburg's Chenin Blanc is an elegant medium-bodied wine geared for the day-time enjoyment. It can be enjoyed as a welcome drink orapperitif or, better still, some canapes.

For a wholesome experience of the Oldenburg wines, one can visit the boutique estate in Stellenbosch, which is open for tastings Mondays to Fridays from 10am to 4.30pm and on Saturdays and public holidays by appointment only.

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