View from the E-Skaap-ment
Experience 3.0 Helderberg Wine 3.5

View from the E-Skaap-ment

Friday 2 March 2018

Experience: 3/5
Wines: 3.5/5

The view over False Bay from the top of the ridge was as sudden as it was glorious in the late summer morning sunshine. Somehow I did not expect it. I had been at Lithos Wines amid the montane forest and fynbos. But as I walked through to the rear of the dining room of the large log cabin I saw the Bay set out below as if from a buzzard high above.


I was visiting to taste the Skaap Wines. This is done in the luxury Lalapanzi Lodge in the midst of the Wedderwell Country Estate beneath Sir Lowry’s Pass close to Somerset West. It is in the Helderberg wine region and at the end of the Schapenberg Wine Route. The Country Estate is vast at over 600 hectares in size. The Lodge extends to 17 hectares, of which 4 hectares are under vine. Sauvignon Blanc and Shiraz are plante4d with other cultivars for the Skaap wines bought in from Durbanville and Stellenbosch. It is the coolest Stellenbosch wine region, above False Bay and at 250 metres above sea level.


Skaap was the third guest-house-come-wine-farm that I have tasted at in barely a month, strangely so as I previously hadn’t tasted at any in over 14 months of wine tasting. First, there was Le Manoir de Brendel in Franschhoek and then Manley Wine Lodge in Tulbagh. Rose was my tasting host and had set out 4 small glasses with bottle beside and tasting notes under each glass.


As she filled each glass in turn, she explained that Schapenberg is Afrikaans for ‘Sheep Mountain’. The farm is owned by Dutch banker Thierry Schaap who fell in love with the Cape when first on holiday in South Africa in 2005. I can well understand why he stayed, as I have since arriving in 2010. By happy coincidence, Schaap means ‘sheep’ and so the playful wine name Skaap was born. The bottle labels feature a woolly sheep in different metallic colours according to the wine.


Guests were checking out and Rose was busy seeing to their needs. I was left much alone for the tasting. I would have preferred more explanation about the wines but I sensed that Rose knew little. As she said, ‘I just work here’. The Okuphinki Rosé, made from Sauvignon Blanc and (Durbanville) Merlot free run juice, was a deep salmon colour. Simple strawberry and raspberry aromas led through to a dry, acidic wine on the palate with an ordinary finish.



The Sauvignon Blanc was similar in character and my favourite wine. It showed a vibrant intensity of fresh green fig, lime, bitter lemon and asparagus, with mineral undertones. The more promised more than it delivered in the mouth as the flavours fell away all too soon.


Three days pre-soaking extracted the maximum deep, deep purple colour from the Shiraz grape skins. This was classic spice forwards Shiraz – black peppercorns and cloves overlying mulberry, black plum and blackcurrant on the bouquet. Stalky, grippy tannins overpowered any fruitiness on the palate.



The final wine of the tasting was a red blend called Nathan. I didn’t find out the reason behind the name but enjoyed the red Merlot fruits that softened to dark Cabernet berries on the nose. Flat, dry unassuming tannins gave medium length.


Skaap was worth visiting even if just for the view. The wines warmed up as I tasted and so were not at their best. They were not to my preference and style. That’s ok. No one has to like all wines. The wines were better on the nose than on the palate. I wanted more depth and intensity and a firmer finish, especially for wines priced over R200. I didn’t buy for this reason but enjoyed the chance to visit another estate.

Wines tasted (bought *):


2017 ‘46’ Sauvignon Blanc – R120 FAVOURITE WINE


2017 ‘46’ Okuphinki (55% Sauvignon Blank, 45% Merlot) Rosé – R120


2016 ‘45’ Shiraz – R240
2015 ‘44’ Nathan (34% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Cabernet Franc) – R240



You Might Also Like

Superb Views of Guardian Peak

Dornier Disappoints

House Wine from the Wine Tram

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

Never too Early in the Morning for Wine Tasting!

Tasting Vines at the Vineyard

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Robertson – Town by Name, Wine by Name

Eq-wine – Fine Wines and Fast Horses!

Vrede en Lust Struggled to Reveal it’s Delight

Surprisingly Good – and Not Only for the Red Bus Tourists

Wonderful Grapes at the Vineyard Hotel

Peter Falke Didn’t Knock my Socks Off

Hope Brought to the Vineyard

Idiom Wines Make a Statement

Laibach Shows its Spots

Decent Wines Rock from the Pulpit

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

An Early Start at Rietvallei

Hand at Work Handiwork at Boschrivier Wines

Wines Made to Stand the Taste of Time

Being Creative at Flagstone

Langverwacht Introduced Me to Ruby Cabernet

Where’s the Grande in Provence?

Horsepower in the Vineyard

Slave to the Rhythm at Solms-Delta

A Kleine Experience at Zalze

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

Graham Beck MCCs Fizzled Out

Value for Money at Van Zylshof

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

Le Lude Left Me Feeling Flat

Allez les Boks – Pas les Bleues!

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

Pick n Taste Time at Stellenbosch

Sylvan Vale Wines Good for a Meeting or an Eating

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

Style or Substance? Nitida left Me Wondering

Wine Dinners are Not For Me

2018 Wacky Wine Ends at Le Roux & Fourie

Kept Alone at Kaapzicht

A Lekker Jol at Wandsbeck

Becoming Ship-Shape at La Couronne

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

Bushmanspad Gave Me the Weirdest Tasting Ever

Hope Lies High in the Valley

Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble!

Good Things Come in Twos – at Southern Right too!

Only One JC Le Roux Wine Sparkled and Scintilla-ted

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

Quantity over Quality at Durbanville Hills

Putting Capelands on the Cape Winelands Map!

Com-fort-able Wines at Fort Simon

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

Haven Rather than Heaven at La Bri

Four Partners (not Cousins) at the Vineyard Hotel

Noble Wines without the Rot

Libby Would not have been Proud of Linton Park

Intimate, Tranquil and Refined

Wine on the Slopes at Chamonix

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

Bon Courage and Bon Voyage

Next Time to Taste at Hannay

More Plaisir at de Merle Please!

Busy, Bubbly, Noisy Wonderfontein

Pinotage Hits a Purple Patch in Paarl

Woody Wildekrans

There’s No Gun Smoke Without Wine

Intriguing and Confusing – An Enigmatic Experience

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

Try as I Could I Did not Find Waterkloof Wines Dynamic

Sublime Sauvignon Blanc Makes up for Variable Bloemendal

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

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

A Quando-ary: When to Drink …?

Leave a Reply

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