It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk
Elgin Valley Experience 4.5 Wine 4.0

It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk

Sunday 6 March 2017

Experience: 4.5/5
Wines: 4/5

It was late on Sunday afternoon that I arrived at Almenkerk. It was the final vineyard that I visited on my day out to the Elgin Valley having already been to Oak Valley, Paul Cluver and Charles Fox. I am always struck how individual wine farms are and the interesting story behind them.

It is quite a change to come to a region where the wine farms are young. I am much more familiar with the Constantia Valley vineyards that stretch back almost 350 years to the time of Simon van der Stel. Almenkerk, like Charles Fox, was bought by newcomers to the area little more than 10 years ago.

The Belgian-Dutch Almenkerk family moved to South Africa in 2002 and bought the fruit farm in 2004. Four hectares of apples and pears remain but most of the land, 15 hectares, is now is under vine.

The approach to the farm is up a sloping road. The Tasting Room and Cellar are on the top of a hill. The views from the beautifully designed building across the Elgin Valley and the Kogelberg Mountains are stunning. Surrounded are many pieces of sculpture and artwork that deserved in themselves special attention.

Closing time was imminent so I went into the Tasting Room and introduce myself to Susan. As with Oak Valley, I felt as if I was entering someone’s house. The seating was comfortable and there was more artwork on display. I decided to taste just 3 wines (half the tasting selection) from the Flagship Range, and to do so ‘blind’.

The first was, as I identified correctly, a Chardonnay. It was one of the very best I have tasted. Medium straw in colour, it had notes of apple and citrus laced with vanilla and caramel. The palate balanced perfectly, full and complex. I immediately said I would buy a bottle.

The two red wines totally confused. I struggled to pick them out. I don’t know if it was because it was late in the day after a lot of tasting or if the Elgin wines were of an unfamiliar style. Both wines were medium-bodied and medium ruby in colour. The noses were red cherry and fruity, the first with a hint of spice and sweetness, the second more aromatic. The first had more tannin but was less complex and balanced than the second.

As I was trying to work out the grape varieties, Joris (the winemaker and, as I read later, one of the family members) came over to chat. He told me the wines were a Merlot and a Shiraz. Joris explained that the cooler climate softened the spiciness and brought out different notes to the Shiraz. I have so much to learn!

After, and although it was after 4 o’clock by then, Joris took me into the Cellar. He showed me the large stainless steel tanks. There were concrete ‘egg’ tanks that I had never seen before. Beside, was a plastic bin about a metre cubed in size and full of dark grapes. Joris tells me that these were picked just 3 days ago. The skins and flesh are floating on the top to form a crust. I had read about this – and how the pulp needs to be mixed to ensure maximum contact with the juice – but never seen. Joris ‘punched’ down the grapes into the juice.

I am utterly fascinated and could have stayed for much longer. I realised I had stayed on well after closing time. I bought my bottle of the Chardonnay and took one last look around the Tasting Room. The sun was lower than I arrived and the light looked beautiful through the large windows.

Almenkerk was short but sweet and somewhere I shall return to before long. I so have much more to learn about the ‘cool climate’ red wines.

Wines tasted (bought *):


2015 Chardonnay – R220* FAVOURITE WINE


2013 Shiraz – R220
2013 Merlot – R220

You Might Also Like

Virgin Whites Led Me into the Last Temptation

Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

No Black Marks at Raka


Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

A Cape Wine Master-class

Well and Truly Oaked!

Wine on the Slopes at Chamonix

Golden Wines at the End of the Rainbow

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

A Family Occasion – the Story behind the Bottle

Englishman Meets Mrs English at Classic Lanzerac

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

Linga-ring in a Winery in Malawi

Tasting Vines at the Vineyard


Bon Courage and Bon Voyage

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

A Myth, a Princess, History and Destruction, 2 Names and 4 Styles – Shiraz with Pizzazz

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines

Excellent Unstated Wines and Service – Naturally!

Late at Lateganskop

Marching into France

Cork and Talk with Dave

Great Value in the Swartland

More than Just a Destination

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

Wines to Love on Love Street

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

Real Wines in the Place of God

Second Helping – and Tasting – at Oak Valley

The Early Bird Catches the Wine

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

Idiom Wines Make a Statement

Red Chair in the Morning

Wines Made to Stand the Taste of Time

1 Night, 7 Oaks, 3 Wine Tastings for Visit 2!

More Still at Tanagra

Delaire Graff Wines Sparkle

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

Beyond Expectation

Well Hosted and Enjoyable – Even Though I did not Experience at its Best

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

A Sparkling Tasting at Charles Fox

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

Boutique de Brendel

Barrels of Fun at My First Stellenbosch Street Soirée

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

Peter Puts into Hermanus

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Next Time to Taste at Hannay

Always a Favourite – Guaranteed to Delight

More-ish Wines at Môreson

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

High Living on the Stoep Sipping Aged, Luscious Red Wines

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

Simonsig Excellence Today with a Traditional Legacy

Red and White Wines with Frog’s ‘Legs’

A Cracker and a Stormer at Paul Wallace

Where Eagles Care

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

Class in Glass at Glenelly

Magnifico – Grazie Mille Idiom!

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price

Hout Bay Vineyards – Simply the Best!

PicknPay Pairs it again at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

Proudly Keeping it in the Family at Paul Cluver – or Not?

King Chenin Kens (Knows) the Wood from the Trees

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

South over the Hills in Elgin

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

Four Partners (not Cousins) at the Vineyard Hotel

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

Oh-MG at Anthonij Rupert

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

Latching onto Superb Wines at De Grendel

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

I-own-a Wine Farm!

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

It’s High Time Again

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

The Vineyard Hotel a Classic Vehicle to Showcase L’Ormarins Wines

Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble!

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

‘Out of the Office’ at Groot Constantia

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

Rijk Tulbagh Gives Name to Cellar and Town

Putting Capelands on the Cape Winelands Map!

Iconic Steenberg

Lemberg Punches Above its Weight

Fish (and other foods) with Wanda!

Diemersdal has Six Appeal

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

Rickety Tram Passengers at Rickety Bridge


  1. The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] in 2002 by two wine lovers. The year intrigued as this was the same year that the Charles Fox and Almenkerk vineyards were bought, North-West of Hemel-en-Aarden and in the nearby Elgin Valley. Domaines de […]

  2. I-own-a Wine Farm! – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] Ambeloui Wine Cellar. It could also be meeting the winemaker. I think Silvermist Organic Vineyards, Almenkirk Wine Estate and Hout Bay […]

  3. Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] been to the more established and older wineries – Paul Kluver, Oak Valley, Charles Fox, Almenkirk and Iona – but not here. The 20 hectare farm was bought by Brian and Marion Smith who sold […]

  4. Learning about Wines with the Cape Wine Lovers is Super Cool – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] and setting the tasting table. I really enjoyed the trips to Oak Valley, Paul Cluver, Charles Fox, Almenkerk, Iona and Elgin Ridge in the Elgin Valley, together with the tastings at Southern Right, Hamilton […]

  5. In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin – Cape Wine Lovers' Society

    […] along the Highlands Road that threads its way through the Elgin vineyards: Belfield, Hannay Wines, Almenkerk, Paul Wallace, Oneiric and, up over the Highlands Pass, Iona. Set beside a full dam, resplendent in […]

  6. Dreaming of a Wine Christmas – Cape Wine Lovers' Society

    […] Valley that my satnav ceases properly to function along the Viljoenshoop Road. By the time I reach Almenkerk Wine Estate the road and my position on the map part company and I realise too late that I have missed the […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *