Hout Bay Vineyards – Simply the Best!
Constantia Valley Experience 4.5 Wine 4.5

Hout Bay Vineyards – Simply the Best!

Sunday 28 May 2017

Experience: 4.5/5
Wines: 4.5/5

It was a typical grey May day in Cape Town as I ventured up Constantia Nek. Constantia Mist and Silvermist vineyards are named so for a reason. The sun was trying its best as my altitude declined and I arrived at Hout Bay Vineyards for the second day of their 2017 Open Day. Hout Bay Vineyards has no complicated name. It is, as they say’ “What it says on the tin”. There’s no complicated marketing-speak here. And that’s what I love about the place – the boutique and small vineyards in general – is their decent honesty and darn good wines.

The wines on offer for tasting at the open Day (R50) were mostly the same as I had enjoyed before but I was nonetheless eager to try again. It was not long after noon but many were here already. It was good to see Cathy again too. She poured me a glass of the Blush Rosé, dry elegant and very champagne-like in character. Unsurprisingly so since, but for a splash of Viognier, it is made from the classic 3 champagne grapes.

I ventured into the cellar I had remembered so well from before. Little had changed bar the intimate tasting room upstairs. The table had been temporarily taken away to make space for wines maturing in oak barrels that were awaiting bottling.

I ventured outside and met Peter, her husband, and winemaker. I had not met him before but had wanted to. By now, I had the youthful, lively Sauvignon Blanc in hand. I knew it was made from grapes in vineyards beside Suikerbosse (albeit not visible from the road) and higher up in Constantia Nek. Peter explained how, after 13 years, he feels he is just starting to understand the vines. That may sound like a really obvious observation for a winemaker to make, but I had not heard it before.

Peter went on. “I can tell, by looking at the grapes, what kind of wine I can expect this year”, he said. That, he explained, dictated the style and flavour of that particular vintage. “There’s no point in trying to replicate the wine from a previous year, as the grapes are not the same”. It all made immediate sense to me and, again, is why I like the simplicity – and I am not for one moment saying that winemaking is simple – of the small vineyard.

The 2 vineyards, even though with the same cultivar, clone and graft (but different rootstock as differing soils) produce grapes with different flavour profiles. Those from the lower vineyard (150m), barely 1 kilometre away, are green, grassy and herbaceous on the nose. The grapes harvested from Constantia Nek, at some 190m above sea level, bring fruity, grapefruit and guava flavours to the palate. This is where the skill of blending comes in. Peter blends 70%: 30% to give a fresh, crisp, acidic Sauvignon Blend with a grassy nose and fruity palate. Wine is one of the most fascinating activities I know. I understand too why I like the evenly balanced grassy, fruity Sauvignon Blanc from Silvermist so much.

I bought a small charcuterie platter with Italian meats, made in Observatory, bread and olives before sampling the red wines. The Merlot was light in style and character, pale ruby and light-medium body in appearance. Fruity cedar notes followed through to a surprisingly firm lingering palate.

The Shiraz was the wine I had been looking forwards most to savouring again as it was my favourite at the previous tasting. I am delighted that my memory was absolutely correct. The Hout Bay Vineyards Shiraz remains one of my favourite of all – light, dark berry fruity, peppercorn spicy – and very drinkable! The tasting finished with the 2013 Petrus (I had tasted the 2011 before) that was still a classic Rhone blend that will mature and get even better.

I was counting down the minutes to start of the Monaco Grand Prix – Formula 1 being another passion of mine – and so went to thank and bid farewell to Peter. He was with friends in the cellar and beckoned me in to taste some older vintages. He was opening an unlabelled 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon and a bottle of his first Bordeaux Blend (2007). Priorities can change very quickly when faced with such a treat and a privilege …. The cabernet Sauvignon was a deep ruby colour, with flavours of deep berry, mulberry and blackberry. The Bordeaux Blend was even deeper and made in a heavy style, dry and with more tannins. This was wine that could mature for another 5 years and be even better.

Peter generously offered in late July, during a weekend afternoon, to give me and Cape Wine Lover’s Society aficionados a technical and vertical tasting of the Petrus vintages and other wines with him. This promises to be a real treat and so let me know if you’re interested to join. Meanwhile, I left without buying the case of Shiraz that I wanted – yet another excuse to return! Oh, and I missed the start of the Monaco Grand Prix. It didn’t matter at all. Hout Bay Vineyards and their wines just have that affect on me.

Wines tasted (* bought):


2016 Sauvignon Blanc – R480 per case of 6


2016 Blush Rosé (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Viognier) – R480 per case of 6


2015 Merlot – R480 per case of 6
2014 Shiraz – R780 per case of 6
2013 Petrus (50% Shiraz, 50% Grenache, Mourvèdre, Carignan) – R780 per case of 6 FAVOURITE WINE
2008 Cabernet Sauvignon – not for sale
2007 Bordeaux Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Malbec) – not for sale



You Might Also Like

Intriguing and Confusing – An Enigmatic Experience

Excellent Unstated Wines and Service – Naturally!

A Cracker and a Stormer at Paul Wallace

Same but Different End to the Diploma Lectures

It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk

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

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

Super Surprises at Super Single Vineyards

Magnifico – Grazie Mille Idiom!

Fish (and other foods) with Wanda!

Barrels of Fun at My First Stellenbosch Street Soirée

Where Eagles Care

The Early Bird Catches the Wine

Marching into France

Linga-ring in a Winery in Malawi

Anysbos a Wine Estate to Look Out For

Red, Red (Spanish) Wine

Opening the Book at Elgin Vintners

Putting Capelands on the Cape Winelands Map!

God Bless Slaley and All who Drink with Her

Second Helping – and Tasting – at Oak Valley

King Chenin Kens (Knows) the Wood from the Trees

Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

Rickety Tram Passengers at Rickety Bridge

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

Iconic Steenberg

A Hidden Gem of Rare Excellence

Did I really spend THAT much on a Bottle of Wine?

Beyond Expectation

South over the Hills in Elgin

Always a Favourite – Guaranteed to Delight

This Vineyard Touched My Soul (aka, I Bought My First Bottle of Petrus)

Intimate, Tranquil and Refined

Diemersdal has Six Appeal

Hearty Food and Wine Brought by the Stork at Hartenberg

Altitudes with Wine!

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

Where the Lions Roar in the Wild West of Bot Rivier

‘Out of the Office’ at Groot Constantia

High Living on the Stoep Sipping Aged, Luscious Red Wines

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

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

Pinotage Hits a Purple Patch in Paarl

Franschhoek’s Hidden Gem Is Reluctant to Reveal

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price

Latching onto Superb Wines at De Grendel

Classy, Small and Precious Kleinood

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

Well and Truly Oaked!

A Sparkling Tasting at Charles Fox

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

Idiom Puts on a Festival Master Class

A Cape Wine Master-class

Elgin Valley is the Cool Wine Tour

Red and White Wines with Frog’s ‘Legs’

Superb Whites in the Near Dark at Mont Blois

Villion Pairs with Barton in Bot Rivier

Quoin Rock Gently Roars at Knorhoek

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

Lost and Found at Lomond – 100s!

Scary Jan Harmsgat Delivers Elegant Wines

Hard Graft without Grafts at Abingdon Wines – No Hail to the Monkeys

Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines

Wines Made to Stand the Taste of Time

It’s High Time Again

Bartinney Clings to the Mountain

Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard

Wines to Love on Love Street

Virgin Whites Led Me into the Last Temptation

Cork and Talk with Dave

I-own-a Wine Farm!

Mutual Attraction

The Italian Collection at the Vineyard

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

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

Englishman Meets Mrs English at Classic Lanzerac

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

Wines Merely to Lust After

Idiom Wines Make a Statement

Ruddy Red and Blanc Sauvignons

Surprisingly Good – and Not Only for the Red Bus Tourists

Delaire Graff Wines Sparkle

A Family Occasion – the Story behind the Bottle

Lemberg Punches Above its Weight

Swallowing Fine Wines at Paserene

Superb De Trafford Worthy of Being My 200th Wine Estate

Good Things Come in Twos – at Southern Right too!

The Ladies in Red

Oh-MG at Anthonij Rupert

Golden Wines at the End of the Rainbow

Hazendal Fit for a Tsar, a Hare and a God of Wine

Peter Puts into Hermanus

Real Wines in the Place of God

Simonsig Excellence Today with a Traditional Legacy

Back to the Future in the Berg of Paarl


1 Night, 7 Oaks, 3 Wine Tastings for Visit 2!

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

Satisfaction in Getting My Ducks (and Wines) in a Row


  1. Let me know when you are doing that vertical tasting.Keen to join

    1. Cape Wine Lovers Society

      Yes will do. It will be very interesting

      1. Love to join, let me know when you have the next one .

  2. I have noticed you don’t monetize your website, don’t waste your traffic,
    you can earn extra bucks every month because you’ve got high quality content.
    If you want to know how to make extra $$$, search for: Ercannou’s essential tools
    best adsense alternative

Leave a Reply

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