The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!
Experience 4.0 Stellenbosch Wine 4.0

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

SONKLIP WYN
Friday 1 December 2017
https://www.facebook.com/SonklipWynWine

Experience: 4/5
Wines: 4/5

Chrismie, a typical portmanteau name in Afrikaans, welcomed me to her home while husband, engineer and winemaker Frik made his way through late Friday afternoon traffic to host me. The satnav reference from my 2017 Platter’s Guide didn’t quite get it right and I overshot the turning off the Jonkershoek Road just east of the centre of Stellenbosch. ‘Turn into Omega Road and take the lane by the stone with the 28 on it’, Frik advised. Fortunately, I was far enough away from the Cape Flats not to be too bothered by any significance of the ‘28’!

Sonklip

Sonklip

Frik’s large house, originally his mothers and subsequently extended, is set in 3½ hectares of land in scenic surroundings. The land grows some of the oldest Chenin Blanc bush vines in South Africa, though I was soon to learn that Frik concentrated on making red wines.

Sonklip

Sonklip

Frik led me downstairs to the family garage that, like so many, hasn’t seen a vehicle for many a year. His aim was to ‘make a strong Stellenbosch Bordeaux blend’. He told me too that his 2 phobias were to run out of wine – there’s no chance of that I soon discovered – and not having a corkscrew. Frik is a garagiste of note and an active member of the Garagiste Movement of South Africa. Few garagistes are listed in the Platter’s Guide; Bemind Wines in McGregor being the only other I have sampled and visited.

Sonklip

Sonklip

Fittingly for Frik, the word garagiste literally means ‘garage mechanic or garage owner’. The movement began in Bordeaux in 1991 by a rebellious wine merchant in St Emilion who decided to make his own wines using grapes he bought in from surrounding vineyards. Four years later and the first South African garagiste started in Muizenberg. Wine of Origin certification is necessarily bureaucratic; production is limited to 9,000 litres a year and the winemaker must be self-financing.

Sonklip

I listened intently to Frik as he passed me samples of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet France and Malbec – his favourite cultivar – from the different sized barrels. I didn’t know, for example, that barrel prices halved from new to 2nd fill, to 3rd and then to 4th fill. I was unaware too that it was possible to buy ‘reconditioned’ barrels by Revolution that have the insides shaved (wines penetrate only the inside 5mm of the barrel during fermentation).

Sonklip

Sonklip

I soon learned that Frik was a master wheeler and dealer with many contacts in the industry, from vine grower to supply him with grapes to bakkie-mounted mobile bottling plant. Problem-solving is an important skill for the garagiste and I could see why Frik was a mechanical engineer. He began by taking the Garagiste Course with Professor Du Toit of Stellenbosch University a few years ago. I booked the course last November but had to miss it due to my Cape Wine Academy studies.

Sonklip

Frik was modest about his success. The wines all tasted good to me even though barrel samples, as the recently bottled wines were still suffering ‘bottle shock’ and it was too soon to open. He explained how one does not learn the intricacies of wine until one starts to make it. I was relieved to learn – as I am sure one day I shall get the bug to make – that he had never had a barrel turn to vinegar.

Sonklip

Sonklip

Frik was larger than life, generous of his time, and just as inspiring. I left feeling motivated and determined to take the small-scale winemaking course next year if the Cape Wine Academy programme allows. As I left, he gave me a bottle of Sonklip Red and showed me the koppie with the rock that catches the sun behind his house that gave name to his wine (and silhouetted on the bottle label). Perhaps I shall wait until I have done the garagiste course to open and savour it …..

Wines tasted (bought *):

Red:

2017 Merlot – Barrel Sample
2017 Cabernet Sauvignon – Barrel Sample
2017 Cabernet Franc – Barrel Sample
2017 Malbec – Barrel Sample
2014 Sonklip Red (63% Shiraz, 37% Mourvèdre)

Sonklip

You Might Also Like

Grape Fun – Stomping Well Worth the Journey!

A Family Occasion – the Story behind the Bottle

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

Simple Spier

Mutual Attraction

Old Oaks at La Bourgogne

Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard

My Best Blend at Zandvliet

Quoin Rock Gently Roars at Knorhoek

Bartinney Clings to the Mountain

Sylvan Vale Wines Good for a Meeting or an Eating

Dornier Disappoints

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Laibach Shows its Spots

Cabsolutely Frankulous at the Carnival

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

Being Creative at Flagstone

At the Bend in the Road in Bot River

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

Oh-MG at Anthonij Rupert

New Branding for Old-enburg is Perfect

Golden Wines at the End of the Rainbow

Hearty Food and Wine Brought by the Stork at Hartenberg

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

The Bestbier Family produces Best Wines at Goede Hoop

Baby Thrown Out with the Bath Water?

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

No Black Marks at Raka

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

Wine on the Slopes at Chamonix

I Needed to be Guided by the Angel Gabriel

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

Four Partners (not Cousins) at the Vineyard Hotel

PicknPay Pairs it again at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

Very Cape Wines at Capaia

Rain Meets Earth at Newton Johnson

Eq-wine – Fine Wines and Fast Horses!

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

Exciting, Excellent Keermont

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

Classy, Small and Precious Kleinood

King Chenin Kens (Knows) the Wood from the Trees

Altitudes with Wine!

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

Posh Spice in Franschhoek!

Warwick Wines Win their Colours

Tasting Vines at the Vineyard

Morgenhof in the Morning

God Bless Slaley and All who Drink with Her

Iconic Steenberg

Better than a Fair View Where the Goats do Roam!

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

Sugar and Spice is Twice as Nice

Keermont Farmhouse Redefines Luxury

Late at Lateganskop

Leaping to the Right Conclusions

More-ish Wines at Môreson

Superb De Trafford Worthy of Being My 200th Wine Estate

Wine Passions Mounted at Cavalli

Wonderful Grapes at the Vineyard Hotel

Putting into Port at De Krans

Rijk Tulbagh Gives Name to Cellar and Town

Colmant Sparkled

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

More Still at Tanagra

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

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble!

Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

Wines Merely to Lust After

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

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

Individual Quality at Jordan

Dave Goes Down Under and the Wines Go Up

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

Where the Lions Roar in the Wild West of Bot Rivier

Boutique de Brendel

Franschhoek’s Hidden Gem Is Reluctant to Reveal

Peace but No Rest for Rust en Vrede

Superb Views of Guardian Peak

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Diploma Done and Dusted – But for the Final Result – I Passed!

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

The Darling from Darling Steps into the Vineyard

Blaauwklippen was Good for a Friday

Rivergold is a Gem Waiting to be Discovered

Windfall Offered Unexpected Delights

In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk

Bramon Beside the (Plettenberg) Bay

Relaxing Rosendal

Ghostly Clouds Swirl at Spookfontein

The Terroir is Honoured in the Bottle at Springfield

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard

Joy at Really Tasting the Difference at Esona

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

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

Englishman Meets Mrs English at Classic Lanzerac

Wines to Love on Love Street

Pedigree Stud Grub at Cavalli

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

Sa-Bot-Riveur!

A Kleine Experience at Zalze

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

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

Simonsig Excellence Today with a Traditional Legacy

More than Just a Destination

On the Left, but then on the Right …

A Warm Welcome in the Cool Climate at South Hill

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

Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

Mooi Mooi Mooi Mooiplaas

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

Au Revoir France!

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines

Wine Dinners are Not For Me

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

SMV, SMG, GSM – BLICS and PAPERCLIPS!

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

Cheers! Or Beers?!

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

Beyond Expectation

Linga-ring in a Winery in Malawi

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

Syrah Pillars of Excellence at Haskell

Barrels of Fun at My First Stellenbosch Street Soirée

Super Surprises at Super Single Vineyards

Only One JC Le Roux Wine Sparkled and Scintilla-ted

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

Com-fort-able Wines at Fort Simon

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

Sip Sip Sip and Drip Drip Drip at Domaine des Dieux

Blush-endal!

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

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

Peter Falke Didn’t Knock my Socks Off

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

Wines from the Orchards at Le Pommier

All Green at Villiera

It’s High Time Again

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

Class in Glass at Glenelly

Red Chair in the Morning

Bon Courage and Bon Voyage

Kept Alone at Kaapzicht

Villion Pairs with Barton in Bot Rivier

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

An Early Start at Rietvallei

Delaire Graff Wines Sparkle

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

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

Great Value in the Swartland

No Blues at Hillcrest

Waterf-ord More Ord-inary Than Extra-ord-inary

Vista to Verdot at Glen Carlou

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

Taking the Garage into the Classroom

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

From the Angel Gabriel to the Arch Angel

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

Leave a Reply

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