Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal
Experience 4.0 Stellenbosch Wine 3.0

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

EIKENDAL VINEYARDS
Thursday 6 July 2017
http://www.eikendal.com/

Experience: 4/5
Wines: 3.5/5

My journey North from Yonder Hill on the R44 towards Stellenbosch passed 2 estates where I had tasted at before: Avontuur and Ken Forrester. I headed instead to Eikendal Vineyards. Unusually, this was a wine farm that I knew nothing of nor had I seen or tasted their wines beforehand. ‘Eikendal’ translates from Afrikaans to English as ‘Oak Valley’. I saw little of either.

My first impression of Eikendal was of the large seated area beside the dam and outside the large tasting Room/Cellar building. I did not expect there to be the range of activities that make up the ‘Eikendal Experience’. Besides wine tasting and sales, there are cellar tours, a Lodge, an Italian restaurant, tractor rides and playground for children, fly fishing, and vineyard walks.

The 76 hectare wine farm has been owned by the Saager family from Zurich, Switzerland since 1981. They quickly established the Cellar and wines were first made in 1987. Fifty hectares are planted on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cinsault, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Shiraz and Chardonnay. Red wines predominate with wines made in the Bordeaux, Burgundy and Rhône styles. These are sold in 3 ranges: the Premium Range, Reserve Range and Icon Range.

I paid R50 to taste 5 wines and chose from each of the ranges. Bradley was my attentive host. The Premium Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay and Rosé were easy drinking value wines as I would expect from their R68 price tag. Neither was demanding of the drinker, showing simple complexity of aroma – herbaceous, guava and kiwi for the white blend and sweet strawberry and raspberry for the Rosé – and moderate acidity but a light finish on the palate.

I much preferred the Janina Chardonnay, named after the first daughter of the owners, from the Reserve Range. Eikendal grapes are mixed with those from Elgin (20%) to make a naturally fermented, unwooded wine (concrete eggs used) with bold, forward notes. I tasted vanilla and honey amid the ripe red apple aromas that gave the wine an almost wooded character. Unlike the first 2 wines, dry acidity on the palate contributed to a firm follow-though to the finish.

The Reserve Charisma, an interesting blend of Bordeaux and Rhone grapes with a splash of bought-in Sangiovese, was full bodied and with a purple tinge to the medium ruby colour from the dominant Shiraz. ‘Rhône meets Spain meets Italy’ is how the wine is described on the Eikendal website. This was a bold wine with good complexity of spicy dark plum, blackberry, and cassis. It had bags of tannins from 15 months maturation in large 4,500 litre barrels. The tannins were bitter and overpowered the fruit flavours to mar an otherwise good palate. I expect this wine to improve with age as the tannins soften.

My final wine was the multi-award winning Classique. The flagship Bordeaux style blend with up to 25 years ageing potential showed its class and attention to making. Full bodied like the Charisma but deeper ruby in colour, the plumy nose brought out the full fruity complexity of the individual cultivars and of the Merlot in particular. Fruit and (softer, more rounded) tannins were in better balance than the Charisma to make for a delightful wine.

Eikendal had much to offer even though I sampled the wines only. The higher quality wines just outnumbered the commercial ones. Price and quality of the wines matched. That may seem an obvious statement but it is not always the case. The Janina Chardonnay was best value of all the wines I tasted. Unsurprisingly for late on a Thursday winter afternoon, the farm was quite but I can imagine being a popular choice of families during a summer weekend. Eikendal definitely deserves a repeat visit.

Wines tasted (bought *):

White:

2017 Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay (74% Sauvignon Blanc, 26% Chardonnay) – R68
2016 Janina Chardonnay – R78 FAVOURITE WINE

Rosé:

2017 Rosé (78% Merlot, 11% Mourvèdre, 11% Grenache) – R68

Red:

2015 Charisma (74% Shiraz, 25% Petit Verdot, 1% Sangiovese) – R104
2014 Classique (50% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot) – R267

You Might Also Like

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

More Still at Tanagra

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

Blush-endal!

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

Iconic Steenberg

Taint, Mould, Sweet-Sour, Elastoplast, Stale Honey, Bee Wax and Potato Skin With the Wine Prof

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

It’s High Time Again

Grape Fun – Stomping Well Worth the Journey!

“Swimming Pool” Wines for Now – or Leave until Later

Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Next Time to Taste at Hannay

Beyond Expectation

Mooi Mooi Mooi Mooiplaas

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

A Warm Welcome in the Cool Climate at South Hill

Dis-gorgeous at Weltevrede

Quantity over Quality at Durbanville Hills

More-ish Wines at Môreson

Wine Passions Mounted at Cavalli

Golden Wines at the End of the Rainbow

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

Robertson – Town by Name, Wine by Name

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

Warwick Wines Win their Colours

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

Sugar and Spice is Twice as Nice

Better than a Fair View Where the Goats do Roam!

Never too Early in the Morning for Wine Tasting!

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

A Kleine Experience at Zalze

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Vista to Verdot at Glen Carlou

The Terroir is Honoured in the Bottle at Springfield

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

The Darling from Darling Steps into the Vineyard

No Black Marks at Raka

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

Delaire Graff Wines Sparkle

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

Simonsig Excellence Today with a Traditional Legacy

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard

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

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

Englishman Meets Mrs English at Classic Lanzerac

PicknPay Pairs it again at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

King Chenin Kens (Knows) the Wood from the Trees

Kept Alone at Kaapzicht

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

Boutique de Brendel

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

Intriguing and Confusing – An Enigmatic Experience

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

Mutual Attraction

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

The Bestbier Family produces Best Wines at Goede Hoop

Class in Glass at Glenelly

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

Eq-wine – Fine Wines and Fast Horses!

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

On the Left, but then on the Right …

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

Classic(al) to Barrique – De Morgenzon Hits all the Right Notes

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

Altitudes with Wine!

Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

More than Just a Destination

Blaauwklippen was Good for a Friday

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

Pedigree Stud Grub at Cavalli

Red Chair in the Morning

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

Heaven and Earth Create a Costly Pairing

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Great Value in the Swartland

Wonderful Grapes at the Vineyard Hotel

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

2 Comments

  1. Wine Passions Mounted at Cavalli – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] for the iconic estates of Vergelegen and Lourensford, then North to scenic Yonder Hill and busy Eikendal. I reckoned I had time for one last tasting. The Platter’s Wine Guide advised tasting at Cavalli […]

  2. Pedigree Stud Grub at Cavalli – Cape Wine Lovers' Society

    […] even better than it had at the end of a day of tasting at Vergelegen, Lourensford, Yonder Hill and Eikendal vineyards. The expansive, contemporary building, complete with modern art inside and out, was as […]

Leave a Reply

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