Welcome to another edition of Wine Wednesday – the series that showcases interesting wine regions around the world. For today’s segment, we’ll be talking about the Paarl wine region of South Africa.
Located about 37 miles from Cape Town, the Paarl wine region is the second oldest in the country. First settled by French Huguenots in the 17th century, this terroir is noted for its rich, full-bodied spicy reds and crisp whites.
While the original farm was started in 1693, the current wine operation was not started until 1996. The soil here is granitic, like most of the soil in the Paarl wine region. Grapes cultivated here include Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay, and Pinotage – a signature South African grape. Be sure to try the Tuin Wyn. Crafted under very specific circumstances, the grapes are left to dry in the sun and hung on wracks so the sugars become concentrated. It’s then aged for three years – significantly longer than most wines.
Like many of its fellow wine estates, Rhebokskloof has its roots in a 17th century farm. Originally established in 1692, the estate was sub-divided and land parcels were sold during the World Wars in the 20th century. It was not until 1986 the land was reconsolidated.
Apart from tasting phenomenal wine, guests can enjoy a horseback or mountain bike ride through the estate. The onsite restaurant offers a fusion of South African and traditional French cuisine. As for the wine, the main variety is Shiraz, though Pinotage, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc are also grown here. A total of five ranges and selections ensure guests of every palate will be pleased. From the Mountain Vineyards Reserve, the Syrah is a nice red with notes of plum, spice, and black pepper. The Sauvignon Blanc from the Cellar Selection is an excellent wine for summer. You’ll find it has elements of citrus, green pepper, winter melon, and grapefruit.
If you choose to visit this winery, be sure to request a dining experience to compliment your wine tasting. Meal choices range from light snacks and full meals at the manor house to picnics, though the latter is only available in the summer months (October – April.)
The Merlot from the 56Hundred range is a nice choice if you prefer dryer wines. Its name comes from the amount of money the founding farmer, Philippus Wolvaart, paid for the land in 1791. This range is known for its smoothness and notes of fruit and vanilla.
Though it was founded in 1689, it was not until 1974 that wines were first bottled under the Landskroon label. International exports began in 1994. Red, white, and fortified wines are available. If you like whites, try the Paul Hugo, a blended variety of Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. The Bush Camp “Our Daily Red” promises a soft, medium-bodied red with fruity notes.
The tasting room here offers a dazzling view of Table Mountain so try and secure a seat near the window. Additionally, a guest cottage is available if you’re looking for a more immersive experience.
If Paarl sounds like a wine region you’d like to visit, contact Jaya! Be sure to mention what you’d like to see on your customized tour.