29-12-2011

A serving of Stellenrust

Stellenrust is well-situated. Not only does it have wonderful vistas of the mountains, including Table Mountain, but of the 200 hectares of vineyards they own, half of it is in the “Golden Triangle” which is considered to be one of the best areas for red wine production in all of South Africa.

Founded in 1928, it was a dairy farm that has been transformed in to a winery. But, in addition to being a large estate winery, they made a large effort to not be one of the “bad apples” that have popped up in the news lately. Instead, they have 72 permanent black South African workers who are the majority shareholders for 100ha of vineyards so they have a vested stake in the company as opposed to being just employees.

While they charge a tasting fee of R 10, it’s only to sample the higher-end wines (and chase off local college kids coming to get drunk for free), so they’re quite reasonable.

Their Chenin Blanc 2009 has a grape and honey nose that’s considerably different from a great many of the Chenin in the region. The body is lightly sweet with just a touch of mineral qualities, although that honey quality from the nose is still there amazingly. The finish comes out wonderfully clean. It’s a good food wine if the dish is a bit acidic or bold in flavors. It most definitely would not be good with anything the slightest bit sweet though. R 38

Their Sauvignon Blanc 2009 has a mineral nose that is at the same time just a touch sweet. These mineral qualities carry in to the body and pick up some lime flavors as well. They quickly clear out in the finish to be pleasing and light at the end. As it breaths, the body becomes surprisingly meaty in some aspects as well. R 42

The Pinotage 2009 has a very subtle nose with soft, soft hints of blackberries. The body carries through with the blackberries and picks up a bit of strawberry that I don’t find all that welcome, but still makes for a nice wine with a smooth finish and good for simple, all around drinking. R 40

The Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 has a nose with extremely light oak that leads in to a touch of vanilla and mint. It’s quite pleasant overall. The body picks up on these flavors and amplifies them with a bit more oak and is somewhat dry as well. The finish is a touch more acidic than I would prefer on its own, but again, would be great with a steak, venison, or boar as well as heavier cheeses not typically had with wine, such as aged cheddar. R 50

The Timeless 2007 is made up of Cabernet Sauvignon 60%, Merlot 30%, 10% Cabernet Franc. The nose has a bit of mint in it as well as blackberry. This comes in to the body as well a great chocolate quality, mostly all from the Cabernet Sauvignon components. There’s a nice, meaty quality overall and a fresh, lively finish. R 120

The Picolot 2007, as the name would imply is a blend of Pinotage, Cabernet, and Merlot. They only make a few hundred bottles of it each year. The nose is delicate and very nice. It floats with hints of oak and raspberry. The body is strong with plum elements, but also pleasing flavors of currant. It’s decently dry in the body, but in a very enjoyable manner. As it opens up, the nose gets more buttery. R 105

We talk a great deal more about the wines of Stellenbosch and other Cape Town wineries in our Stellenbosch wine guide.