Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines
Experience 4.0 Stellenbosch Wine 4.0

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

SAXENBURG WINE FARM
Thursday 11 January 2018
http://saxenburg.co.za/

Experience: 4/5
Wines: 4/5

The vineyards are closely packed along the Polkadraai Road to the West of Stellenbosch. Saxenburg is one of the most Western of them and should have been my fourth and final wine tasting of the day but, unfortunately, Nico van der Merwe was closed for the afternoon. I had tasted a sample of 4 Saxenburg wines at the Vineyard Hotel, Newlands, Cape Town in August last year and wanted ever since to taste them in the winery in which they were made. Today was to be my day.

Saxenburg

Saxenburg

It was fitting that I returned on the day I had seen tarentaal in the fields en route to Boschkloof Wines where I tasted first before visiting Mulderbosch after. It was surprising then for a farm that prides itself on tradition that the Guinea Fowl Restaurant is no more. However good, Cattle Baron Grill Room doesn’t have quite the same cachet. Nonetheless, the Saxenburg branding logo of 3 Guinea fowls remains: one for a heart that beats with passion to make the finest wine each year; the second for the mind, to keep the heart in check and to make the best decisions; and the third, for the soul that keeps knowledge and passion together.

Saxenburg

Saxenburg

The bold gold-lettered entrance led to a drive passing burgeoning vines with traditional pest-indicator red and pink roses at the end of each row. I parked and then walked along a rising path beside a whitewashed wall with herbaceous borders to reach the unassuming Tasting Room. Inside, the décor was simple and functional, perhaps not what I expected from a historic estate dating back to 1693 when Governor Simon van der Stel granted land to Joachim Sax, a free Burger from Germany, who first planted vines in 1701. Twelve years later, Olaff and Albertus Berg took ownership of the property – hence the name today of ‘Saxenburg’.

Saxenburg

Saxenburg

Saxenburg, like Eikendal Vineyards to the South of Stellenbosch, has Swiss owners. The Bührer family bought the property more than 20 years ago and manage the business with the help of their children, Fiona and Vincent. The farm is famed for its Shiraz, for which the terroir especially suits. A wide range of other noble and traditional cultivars are grown on 85 hectares of the 195 hectare estate, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Pinotage, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Unsurprisingly, reds make up the majority (80%) of the wines produced. Of these, 70% is Shiraz.

Saxenburg

Saxenburg

I chose the Private Collection tasting (6 wines for R50, waived on purchases above R250) and began with the Brut MCC that I had sampled before in Cape Town. I suspect the bottle had been open for a while (it was almost empty) and that it was not at its best as there were few bubbles in the glass. Those bubbles that were there quickly disappeared. Bubbles in MCC/Champagne hold most of the aromas but I was able to detect lemon and apple notes beneath a yeasty and biscuity presence, developed from 36 months on the lees. The MCC disappointed on the palate, being lightweight and short in the finish. Reading back over my initial post, where I commented on a fresh and lively wine, this too may have been due to the serving condition.

Saxenburg

The Sauvignon Blanc was released just 2 months ago and showed brightness in appearance and character. It was made in the warmer fruity style with notes of papaya, passion fruit, guava and grapefruit. Dry and with good acidity it too, like the MCC, was short on the palate.

Saxenburg

In contrast, the Chardonnay was my favourite wine of the tasting. Moderately oaked (10 months in 20% new French barrels), woody vanilla and caramel notes complemented rather than overpowered apple, tangerine and citrus lemon in the bouquet. This elegant balance extended to the palate where the aromas and acidity matched for a creamy, full mouthfeel and an extended aftertaste.

Saxenburg

The Pinotage, my first for the day, was medium in body with typical purple tinge. It was lighter on the palate than most to show classic juicy, jammy plum and dark cherry flavours. The oak was closed and spiky as is so often the case for young Pinotage (2016) and needs rounding to improve.

Saxenburg

Single cultivar Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz wines followed with rising price to R200 a bottle. I liked most the Merlot, unusually poured using an aerator as the bottle was newly opened. This was stereotypical Merlot with forwards, earthy, cedar, cassis aromas with a good intensity albeit of average complexity. Slightly chilled, the pleasant serving temperature did not dull the strength of flavour on the palate that showed a smoothness befitting of its older vintage. It warmed my mouth to hint at more than the stated 13.5% level of alcohol.

Saxenburg

My favourite wine of the limited previous tasting was the Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine too was a classic, being bright and forwards on the nose with delicious and inviting red and dark berry fruits. It was already smooth on the palate but, like the Pinotage, needs ageing to develop and open fully.

Saxenburg

Last was the Shiraz, the wine of Saxenburg reputation. Intriguingly and interestingly, Syrah (the same cultivar) was the signature grape variety at Boschkloof just a few kilometres away. I pass comment as I had always considered the Stellenbosch region to be famed for superb Cabernet Sauvignon rather than Shiraz/Syrah. I rated this wine highly too as it scored well on appearance, the nose and palate. Forward ripe fruits of cassis, blackberry and spices showed a good intensity that followed through to merge with silky tannins in the mouth that lingered after.

Saxenburg

Saxenburg

Saxenburg produces decent if not exceptional wines. The visit to the wine farm reinforced my earlier tasting conclusions that always reassures. Some wines were better than others and that is to be expected. I like the focus on single cultivar wines and the honesty in their making. New plantings of 22 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz are planned over the next 5 years so the focus on these grape varieties will continue. Meanwhile, Saxenburg puts its heart, mind and soul into its wines ….

Wines tasted (bought *):

Sparkling:

NV MCC Brut (80% Chardonnay, 20% Pinot Noir) – R190

White:

2017 Sauvignon Blanc – R105
2016 Chardonnay – R150* FAVOURITE WINE

Red:

2016 Pinotage – R140
2012 Merlot – R160
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon – R200
2015 Shiraz – R200

Saxenburg

You Might Also Like

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

No Black Marks at Raka

Class in Glass at Glenelly

Mutual Attraction

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

It’s High Time Again

Eq-wine – Fine Wines and Fast Horses!

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

Rijk Tulbagh Gives Name to Cellar and Town

Four Partners (not Cousins) at the Vineyard Hotel

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble!

Linga-ring in a Winery in Malawi

Altitudes with Wine!

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

Of Female Rugby Players and Ballet Dancers! Let’s Continuously Study Very Seriously: Wines of the Loire and Northern Rhône

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

Bon Courage and Bon Voyage

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

More than Just a Destination

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

Red Chair in the Morning

A Kleine Experience at Zalze

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Wine on the Slopes at Chamonix

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

Beyond Expectation

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

Great Value in the Swartland

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

Kept Alone at Kaapzicht

Delaire Graff Wines Sparkle

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

Golden Wines at the End of the Rainbow

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

Blush-endal!

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

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

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price

Tasting Vines at the Vineyard

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival

Blaauwklippen was Good for a Friday

It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk

Barrels of Fun at My First Stellenbosch Street Soirée

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

Grape Fun – Stomping Well Worth the Journey!

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

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

The Terroir is Honoured in the Bottle at Springfield

The Bestbier Family produces Best Wines at Goede Hoop

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

Simonsig Excellence Today with a Traditional Legacy

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

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

Masses of Fun and a little Chaos at the Ambeloui Harvest Festival

Pedigree Stud Grub at Cavalli

Wine Passions Mounted at Cavalli

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

Oh-MG at Anthonij Rupert

On the Left, but then on the Right …

Vista to Verdot at Glen Carlou

Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

Sa-Bot-Riveur!

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

PicknPay Pairs it again at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Wines to Love on Love Street

Mooi Mooi Mooi Mooiplaas

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

More Still at Tanagra

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

A Warm Welcome in the Cool Climate at South Hill

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

SMV, SMG, GSM – BLICS and PAPERCLIPS!

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

A Family Occasion – the Story behind the Bottle

Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard

King Chenin Kens (Knows) the Wood from the Trees

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

Warwick Wines Win their Colours

Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

Wonderful Grapes at the Vineyard Hotel

Boutique de Brendel

More-ish Wines at Môreson

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

Englishman Meets Mrs English at Classic Lanzerac

The Darling from Darling Steps into the Vineyard

Baby Thrown Out with the Bath Water?

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

Better than a Fair View Where the Goats do Roam!

Iconic Steenberg

Sugar and Spice is Twice as Nice

Late at Lateganskop

Leave a Reply

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