Noble Wines without the Rot
Experience 3.5 Franschhoek Wine 3.5

Noble Wines without the Rot

Sunday 19 March 2017

Experience: 3.5/5
Wines: 3.5/5

Noble Hill was another estate I had not heard of or whose wine I had ever drunk. I was in the Paarl wine district, it was open for tasting on Sunday, and so I visited. The oak-lined drive guided me to a shady car park. A set of steps led up to the small Tasting Room beside the Latin-inspired, airy Cosecha (meaning ‘harvest’) restaurant. Though late afternoon, the restaurant was still busy but the Tasting Room was less so. The owner’s 2 large ridgeback dogs roamed the room together with a small but still sizeable puppy.

Noble Hill is a boutique wine estate with 30 hectares under vine with a mix of red and white cultivars. There are over 600 olive trees too, of 4 varieties, that are used to produce the Virgin Territory brand olive oil. I was hungry and so I ordered a cheese board before tasting. It came promptly and contained generous portions of tasty blue and Languedoc cheese.

My tasting host was Francina (R40 for 5 wines). Two glasses of white wine were poured ‘blind’ for starters. This gave me a further chance today, having visited Anura Vineyards beforehand, to practice my Cape Wine Academy learning from the Certificate Course. There’s so much detail to think about and write down. The structured tasting analysis helped me to identify a lightly oaked Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc.

Francina told me the owners were from California. I asked how often she saw them and she told me that they are there often. I was lucky to meet the owner, Kathleen. She was friendly and full of smiles. I love to meet vineyard owners and wine makers. I am increasingly conscious that there is as much a story about vineyard owners as there is about their vines and wines.

Kathleen told me that she and her winemaker son bought the farm some 20 years ago. The Tasting Room has been expanded and the restaurant built. The setting is magnificent with a shady lawn leading to a dam. Picnic baskets can be bought to share on the lawn. Kathleen explained how she wanted a Californian ambiance for the Tasting Room. I liked the casual, modern uncluttered style that would not look out of place in a family home.

The cellar was at the back of the Tasting Room and Kathleen kindly showed me around. It was quieter now, she said, with harvesting complete and the new vintages in production. Her wines are sold in equal amounts in South Africa and for export.

I returned to taste 3 red wines. Each one was slightly different in their characteristics and a challenge to assess and to identify the grape cultivar. These were undemanding wines for easy drinking at home, with or without a meal. I preferred the Cabernet Sauvignon to the Merlot, both of which I correctly picked out. The Estate Reserve Bordeaux blend was fruity and with mild spice, with medium-body and with moderate tannin wet grippy tannin. I thought it was a Shiraz but it was the end of a testing tasting day. By the way, the little green pots are spittoons!

I sampled the Mouvèdre Rosé as an extra to finish. I didn’t buy any wines, rare for me, but that was because I had spent enough on wine recently rather than for any other reason. I left contented and wondering what the story was about the logo of the old keys. I read after that these were found in a box when the farm was bought. They proved of little use to open any of the buildings or gates – but have found a noble home to belong to now.

Wines tasted (bought *):


2015 Chardonnay – R125 FAVOURITE WINE
2016 Sauvignon Blanc – R89


2016 Mouvèdre Rosé – R105


2013 Merlot – R135
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon – R135
2015 Syrah – R105
2013 Estate Reserve (59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot) – R80

You Might Also Like

Late at Lateganskop

At the Bend in the Road in Bot River

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

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

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

Haven Rather than Heaven at La Bri

Boutique de Brendel

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

Slave to the Rhythm at Solms-Delta

Dis-gorgeous at Weltevrede

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

More-ish Wines at Môreson

Allez les Boks – Pas les Bleues!

The Italian Collection at the Vineyard

In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

Oh-MG at Anthonij Rupert

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

Libby Would not have been Proud of Linton Park

Style or Substance? Nitida left Me Wondering


Wine on the Slopes at Chamonix

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

A Kleine Experience at Zalze

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

Decent Wines Rock from the Pulpit

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Wheels Turn Full ‘Cycle’ at Meerendal

Hand at Work Handiwork at Boschrivier Wines

Horsepower in the Vineyard

Pinotage Hits a Purple Patch in Paarl

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

Try as I Could I Did not Find Waterkloof Wines Dynamic

Champagne and Brandies left Me Disappointed

View from the E-Skaap-ment

Heaven and Earth Create a Costly Pairing

Woody Wildekrans

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

Hope Brought to the Vineyard

A Quando-ary: When to Drink …?

Judge and be Judged!

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

Eq-wine – Fine Wines and Fast Horses!

Tram-Way to Heaven in Franschhoek

Intimate, Tranquil and Refined

Surprisingly Good – and Not Only for the Red Bus Tourists

Rijk Tulbagh Gives Name to Cellar and Town

Kept Alone at Kaapzicht

Baby Thrown Out with the Bath Water?

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

There’s No Gun Smoke Without Wine

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

Where’s the Grande in Provence?

Pick n Taste Time at Stellenbosch

Franschhoek’s Hidden Gem Is Reluctant to Reveal

House Wine from the Wine Tram

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

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

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Tasting Vines at the Vineyard

Rickety Tram Passengers at Rickety Bridge

Graham Beck MCCs Fizzled Out

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked *