Decent Wines Rock from the Pulpit
Experience 3.5 Swartland Wine 3.5

Decent Wines Rock from the Pulpit

Friday 22 September 2017

Experience: 3.5/5
Wines: 3.5/5

Pulpit Rock reminded me of my trip to the Wolseley area and of Mountain Ridge winery in particular. The tan concrete building set back a short distance from the road. The functional but rather stark Tasting Room. The lack of food and souvenir boutique shop. There were none of the ‘vinotourism’ trappings of deli, restaurant, art displays or mountain bike trails here. It was good to get away from the fancy Stellenbosch wine estates for a change.

Pulpit Rock

Pulpit Rock

The winery is named after the weathered, rocky mountains of the Kasteelberg. The vines – some 450 hectares on 2 farms – are grown on the lower mountain slopes in soils of shale and weathered sandstone. Red grape cultivars outnumber white ones by 2 to 1 with all the big name varieties (Grenache too) being grown. Pulpit Rock has a reputation for ‘fruit driven’ wines, especially Chenin Blanc and Shiraz. In keeping with the Swartland region and Riebeek West area, many of the Chenins Blanc are wooded and softer in style whilst the red wines often contain higher alcohol levels than most due to the hot, dry summer temperatures.

Pulpit Rock

Pulpit Rock

Eliza was my cheery tasting host. She told me how Pulpit Rock is owned by the Brink family who have farmed the land for over 5 generations. The family dreamed about making wine for decades. Grandpa Brink was asked, as long ago as 1918, to become the winemaker at Groot Constantia but he declined the offer as the time was not right. It was his son, Ernst, who sent sons Haumann and Van Der Byl to study wine. The first grapes were harvested in 2004.

Pulpit Rock

Pulpit Rock

I chose to sample 5 wines from the Reserve Collection. The range covers the major variety white and red wines together with a Cape Blend. The Chenin Blanc was warm in character with aromas of lemon, lime and pineapple. The acidity was moderate and the finish average. I preferred the barrel-fermented Chardonnay that I tasted after. Apple, guava and vanilla aromas followed through to a creamy palate with a more pronounced finish.Pulpit Rock

The red wines were all matured for about 16 month in 60% new French oak. The Shiraz was typically fruity with aromas of spicy, smoky black peppery blackcurrant and blackberry. The fruit flavours faded on the palate to leave firm tannins. I did not like the Pinotage as much. Juicy chocolate and blackcurrant aromas showed average complexity but the tannins were astringent and overpowering on the palate.

Pulpit Rock

My favourite wine was the flagship Cape Blend that was 50% Pinotage, though each vintage differs in blend mix. Named after ouma and matriarch Louisa, it tasted warm and alcoholic (14.8%). The fruit aromas of each cultivar – plum, currant and berry – showed through with good complexity. Grippy tannins were better balanced on the palate than they were for the Pinotage.

Pulpit Rock

My tasting at Pulpit Rock was short and sweet. None of the wines are Tim Atkin or Old Mutual Trophy competition winners but they are not meant to be. The winery produces decent no-frills wines and caters for the local and export markets. I am sure they sell well at festivals too.

Wines tasted (bought *):


2015 Reserve Chenin Blanc – R75
2015 Reserve Chardonnay – R75


2013 Reserve Shiraz – R95
2013 Reserve Pinotage – R95
2013 Reserve Louisa (50% Pinotage, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Shiraz) – R140 FAVOURITE WINE

Pulpit Rock

You Might Also Like

Hope Brought to the Vineyard

Haven Rather than Heaven at La Bri

Try as I Could I Did not Find Waterkloof Wines Dynamic

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Peter Falke Didn’t Knock my Socks Off

Sip Sip Sip and Drip Drip Drip at Domaine des Dieux

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

River Grandeur at Viljoensdrift

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

Pick n Taste Time at Stellenbosch

Scary Jan Harmsgat Delivers Elegant Wines

A Lekker Jol at Wandsbeck

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

Great Value in the Swartland

An Early Start at Rietvallei

The Italian Collection at the Vineyard

Wines from the Orchards at Le Pommier

Wheels Turn Full ‘Cycle’ at Meerendal

House Wine from the Wine Tram

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

Libby Would not have been Proud of Linton Park

Bushmanspad Gave Me the Weirdest Tasting Ever

A Kleine Experience at Zalze

At the Bend in the Road in Bot River

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

More Plaisir at de Merle Please!

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

2018 Wacky Wine Ends at Le Roux & Fourie

In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

Horsepower in the Vineyard

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

Noble Wines without the Rot

Eq-wine – Fine Wines and Fast Horses!

Kept Alone at Kaapzicht

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

A Quando-ary: When to Drink …?

Heaven and Earth Create a Costly Pairing

Pinotage Hits a Purple Patch in Paarl

Judge and be Judged!

Relaxing Rosendal

Yanky Doodle Dave Didn’t Bring all the Wines

Champagne and Brandies left Me Disappointed

Hand at Work Handiwork at Boschrivier Wines

Baby Thrown Out with the Bath Water?

Where’s the Grande in Provence?

Bartinney Clings to the Mountain

Graham Beck MCCs Fizzled Out

Vrede en Lust Struggled to Reveal it’s Delight

Allez les Boks – Pas les Bleues!

Intimate, Tranquil and Refined

Slave to the Rhythm at Solms-Delta

View from the E-Skaap-ment

Surprisingly Good – and Not Only for the Red Bus Tourists

There’s No Gun Smoke Without Wine

Late at Lateganskop

Rijk Tulbagh Gives Name to Cellar and Town

Dis-gorgeous at Weltevrede

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

Woody Wildekrans

Style or Substance? Nitida left Me Wondering

The Cut ‘n’ Paste Stellenbosch Wine Festival Comes to Cape Town

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

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

Busy, Bubbly, Noisy Wonderfontein

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

Leave a Reply

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