Ghostly Clouds Swirl at Spookfontein
Experience 4.0 Hemel-en-Aarde Valley Wine 4.0

Ghostly Clouds Swirl at Spookfontein

SPOOKFONTEIN
Thursday 4 April 2019
http://www.spookfontein.co.za/

Experience: 4/5
Wines: 4/5

My last tasting of the day was my first trip down the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, having worked my way up from Bartho Eksteen to Newton Johnson to Domaine des Dieux. The entrance led to a long, curving, sandy road past tall pines and fynbos to start but then fynbos and vines. The swirling, low clouds that had obscured the best views all day remained – perhaps a nod to the ‘spooks’ or ‘ghosts’ of the Dutch name of the estate. It gave a drab and rather stern approach to the natural stone Tasting Building that, with its large sliding front doors, could have been a large farm barn or industrial workshop. I am sure that architect D J Carr would disagree albeit the contrast on entering was impressive. The Restaurant-come-Tasting Room was open plan, indoor-to-outdoor light, airy and spacious. Every surface was curved, or rather swirled, to fit into the ‘spook’ theme. Large glass windows opened onto magnificent views down the valley, whether from dining table or relaxed tasting seating.

Spookfontein

Spookfontein

Nicole was my attentive tasting host as I selected 4 of the 9 available wines on the menu for tasting (R35, waived on bottle purchase over R100). I began with the only white on the list which was made from the only grapes not grown on the 313 hectare farm (14 hectares under vine). The very pale straw wine showed gooseberry, pineapple, mango and green pepper spicy aromas on the nose with a purity that made it almost New Zealand in style. The tropical fruits were more developed on the palate that was clean and crisp but with only a moderate finish.

Spookfontein

Spookfontein

The Pinot Noir had a similar shyness, light style and short finish, being matured for 15 months in 2nd fill oak. It was medium bodied with little depth and flavours of smoky cherry and leather. Firm acidity helped strengthen the light mouthfeel. Cabernet Franc is also grown on at Spookfontein – together with Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon – and was my next choice of wine. It was unusual in that meaty aromas and liquorice spiciness overpowered the fruits of redcurrant and cranberry. Braai smokiness followed through to the palate with cherry flavours with those of green olives emerging for a green style. Tight tannins gave grip from 14 months in 40% new and 60% 2nd/3rd fill oak barrels.

Spookfontein

Spookfontein

Spookfontein dates back to 1847 and was purchased by nature lover Mike Davis, founder of Ocean Eyewear and Dragon Sports, as a retreat for lazy family weekends. The first vintage was made in 2005 and the Tasting Room opened in December 2013. There are 2 self-catering cottages that sleep up to 4 guests as well as the Restaurant.

Spookfontein

Spookfontein

I ended with the Merlot-led Bordeaux-style blend, the Phantom, which was my favourite wine of the tasting. The wine showed the characteristic house smoky style with a good mix of cherry, cassis, currant and berry fruits beneath on the nose. Each cultivar contributed their own fruit flavours to the oaky palate with closed, drying tannins and a high acidity.

Spookfontein

Spookfontein

Spookfontein did the basics well and without fuss. The new wine labels with their ‘spook’ swirl in different colours for the cultivar are elegant and striking. No doubt there are better Sauvignons Blanc, Pinots Noir and Cabernets in the Valley but not with the same tight, green and smoky style. I would like to return to sample the Restaurant fare or even stay in one of the cottages, if only to experience the superb views without the swirling ghostly clouds below …

Wines tasted (bought *):

White:

2017 Sauvignon Blanc – R98

Red:

2016 Pinot Noir – R195
2016 Cabernet Franc – R135
2017 Phantom (50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Franc, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon) – R145 FAVOURITE WINE

Spookfontein

You Might Also Like

More Still at Tanagra

Around the (Old) World in 18 Hours – starting with the European Cuvée!

An Early Start at Rietvallei

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

Baby Thrown Out with the Bath Water?

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

I Needed to be Guided by the Angel Gabriel

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

Au Revoir France!

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

Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard

PicknPay Pairs it again at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

On the Left, but then on the Right …

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

Rijk Tulbagh Gives Name to Cellar and Town

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

Franschhoek’s Hidden Gem Is Reluctant to Reveal

Vista to Verdot at Glen Carlou

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

No Black Marks at Raka

Sip Sip Sip and Drip Drip Drip at Domaine des Dieux

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

Bon Courage and Bon Voyage

In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

Good Things Come in Twos – at Southern Right too!

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

More-ish Wines at Môreson

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

Late at Lateganskop

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Two Dam Good!

Oh-MG at Anthonij Rupert

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

Four Partners (not Cousins) at the Vineyard Hotel

Mutual Attraction

At the Bend in the Road in Bot River

Beyond Expectation

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

Wines Merely to Lust After

More than Just a Destination

Posh Spice in Franschhoek!

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

Leaping to the Right Conclusions

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

The Terroir is Honoured in the Bottle at Springfield

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

SMV, SMG, GSM – BLICS and PAPERCLIPS!

Boutique de Brendel

Wines to Love on Love Street

It’s High Time Again

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

Relaxing Rosendal

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

Rivergold is a Gem Waiting to be Discovered

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

The Darling from Darling Steps into the Vineyard

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Joy at Really Tasting the Difference at Esona

Taking the Garage into the Classroom

Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble!

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

Cabsolutely Frankulous at the Carnival

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

Barrels of Fun at My First Stellenbosch Street Soirée

Eksteen Experiments in the Lower Valley

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

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

Warwick Wines Win their Colours

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

A Family Occasion – the Story behind the Bottle

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

Speed Tasting with Sommelier ‘Royalty’ at my First SASA Meeting

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

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

Great Value in the Swartland

From the Angel Gabriel to the Arch Angel

Wine on the Slopes at Chamonix

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

Blush-endal!

Linga-ring in a Winery in Malawi

Red Chair in the Morning

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

Class in Glass at Glenelly

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

Heaven and Earth Create a Costly Pairing

My Best Blend at Zandvliet

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

Iconic Steenberg

Better than a Fair View Where the Goats do Roam!

Villion Pairs with Barton in Bot Rivier

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

Rain Meets Earth at Newton Johnson

Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

Altitudes with Wine!

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

Blaauwklippen was Good for a Friday

Sugar and Spice is Twice as Nice

Peace but No Rest for Rust en Vrede

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

Tasting Vines at the Vineyard

Virgin Whites Led Me into the Last Temptation

Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard

Mooi Mooi Mooi Mooiplaas

Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

Sa-Bot-Riveur!

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

A Warm Welcome in the Cool Climate at South Hill

Where the Lions Roar in the Wild West of Bot Rivier

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

Leave a Reply

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