During the 1870’s, great swaths of Shiraz vineyards were planted in Zandvliet estate. Located on the outskirts of the Robertson Valley Wine Route and with the Cogmans River cutting a path through the estate’s territory, the Shiraz vineyards took an instant liking to the terroir and have since yielded the fruits for which Zandvliet has become famous. Today, the estate’s name is synonymous with this noble cultivar, and it was with a glass of Shiraz in hand that we began our exploration of this fabulous winery.
The Kalkveld Lounge at Zandvliet
Opened in December 2016, the rustic yet luxurious Kalkveld Lounge at Zandvliet provides guests with a farm-inspired setting in which to taste the estate’s range of wines and to indulge in their gorgeous fare. Wine barrels arestacked floor to ceiling and scattered coffee tables, and two long central harvest tables provide ample seating for visitors. Above these, glitters an 8-meter long chandelier that has been custom made from recycled wine bottles.
“We’ve, wherever possible used things from the farm to upcycle into something new and beautiful,” says interior designer Philip Pikus.
It’s a delicate balancing act between rustic country and modern luxury that Pikus and his team have successfully achieved.
Wine blending experience in the cellar
Walking down a flight of stairs within Zandvliet’s winery reveals a warren-like network of old cellar spaces that have been converted into an art gallery. Here, with a glass of the estate’s lauded Shiraz in hand, we meandered through the cool, heavily shadowed spaces, marvelling at the paintings and sculptures by talented local artists, as well as their collection of vintages, some of which are older than I am.
Having steeped in the culture and the enchanting atmosphere of the deep cellar space, we headed to the blending room to create our very own, unique red wine blend using Zandvliet’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Shiraz. We were allocated three glasses of the different reds to taste, a sheet of paper for notes, and a plastic metered beaker, which transported me back to high school chemistry. The task was to measure out the precise percentages of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Shiraz to achieve a red blend that catered to our palates.
We were then handed a clean, empty bottle into which we poured the decided upon percentages of the different wines before hand bottling, corking, and creating our own labels. The wine blending experience at Zandvliet offers guests a unique and privileged view into the craft and mastery that goes into bottling blended wines. Insights aside, it was just plain fun!
Zandvliet citrus and wine pairing
With wine appetites whet by our blending, it was time for a proper tasting of Zandvliet’s exquisite repertoire of award-winning wines. This took place in the beautiful Kalkveld Lounge, which makes you feel as though you’re a part of a working farm and cellar – an enchanting experience in itself – while still being seated in the lap of luxury. Here, we sat down to Zandvliet’s ClemenGold pairing – a surprising experience that celebrates the estate’s close relationship with citrus farming. The tasting features four wines, which have been carefully paired with zesty, citrus-laced bites, including a spicy panforte, biscotti, smooth dark orange chocolate, and a mandarin marmalade.
After the tasting, we were treated to a cheese and charcuterie platter with a bottle of truffle oil over which all pretence of civilization broke down. There may have even been clandestine scheming over whose handbag we could sneak the bottle into, but we’ll blame the lack of etiquette on the wine.
A full day’s experience
Most forays into wine country include a visit to multiple wine estates, but with Zandvliet offering guests so many incredible experiences you could quite honestly and happily spend an entire day there. From the enchanting underground cellar gallery and the luxuriously country Kalkveld Lounge tasting room to the wine blending experience and delicious food, Zandvliet is a wine estate of an exceptional calibre to which I see many return visits in the future!
Phone: 023 615 1146
Directions: Zandvliet Wine Estate is found in the scenic Robertson Valley,
not far from Ashton, off the R60.