Woody Wildekrans
Experience 3.5 Walker Bay & Bot River Wine 3.5

Woody Wildekrans

WILDEKRANS WINE ESTATE
Monday 14 May 2018
http://www.wildekrans.com/

Experience: 3.5/5
Wines: 3.5/5

Wildekrans was just a short hop through the village of Bot River and across the N2 highway but it was like entering a different world to Beaumont Family Wines, where I had just left. The long driveway through the classic white sweeping entrance led past individually labelled trees and through vineyards lined with citrus plantings, past a Eucalyptus grove, before descending through more citrus and olive trees on a curved approach to the Tasting Room. Bench tables and chairs were set out on a tidy lawn at the rear of the large, traditionally furnished, Tasting Room, set against a mountain backdrop in the autumn sunshine.

Wildekrans

Wildekrans

Eugene greeted me as I entered, complete with dinner jacket and black bow tie which somehow seemed out of place. I was the sole customer, it being Monday lunchtime, and so had the Afrikaans music and silent sports TV that was showing reruns of the weekend soccer games all to myself.

Wildekrans

Wildekrans

Wildekrans wines fall into 2 main ranges: the Premium Barrel Select Range, made from vines treated with special care, and the Estate Range that heralds back to when the estate first made wines in the early 1990s. There’s an entry Caresse Marine Range (to reflect the summer breeze from the nearby ocean), two MCC, and a red and white wine badged with the Sharks rugby logo.

Wildekrans

Wildekrans

I opted for a standard tasting of wines from the Estate Range, less the Sauvignon Blanc that was not available but replaced by a Chenin Blanc from the Premium Range. It is perhaps never fair to compare wines between estates but as I sipped the Chenin Blanc I could not help but reflect on the 4 superb Chenins I had tasked at Beaumont barely an hour previously. There was no comparison, and this a wine priced at similar level to the flagship Beaumont wine. The Wildrekrans Chenin Blanc was clearly decent as evidenced by an array of 7 awards stickers on the bottle but I did not rate it highly. The wine was over oaked (12 months in new French barrels) to give prominent vanilla and butterscotch notes that largely masked those of fruity lemon, melon and baked apple. The wine was full creamy on the palate, showing little subtlety, with average complexity and a moderate finish.

Wildekrans

Wildekrans

It was the sole white wine of the tasting. Whilst waiting for Eugene to pour me the first red wine, I ordered a cheese platter (R130) that was nicely laid out with a generous helping of fresh ciabatta bread, goat’s cheese, blue cheese and brie, complete with sweet preserves, estate olives and farm vegetable pickle. The Cabernet Franc Merlot blend, the typical mix of a Right bank Bordeaux, showed its 2 components in equal measure: sweeter red currant and raspberry fruits together with plum, tomato and pencil shavings. The wine again was over oaked for my taste – 18 months in 2nd fill French oak – with bitter, moderately grippy tannins too prominent on the palate and an average finish.

Wildekrans

Wildekrans

The Deep Purple, another blend replete with award stickers on the bottle, was Pinotage-led. Full bodied in deep ruby to medium purple colour, the Cape Blend showed potent aromas of plum, cherry and currants. The wine was pleasantly lighter on the palate than expected though still with a full mouthfeel and a short finish. Each grape variety comes from a different vintage, hence the Non Vintage on the bottle label.

Wildekrans

Wildekrans

Wildekrans is an estate that has been owned for 10 years by the Harlow family. The 1,000 hectare property boasts a Restaurant (complete with an ‘Indigenous Dining’ experience as chefs forage from the surrounding pastures and farmers), 8 self-catering holiday cottages, and a venue for indoor or outdoor weddings. The farm has an interesting history that dates back to 1864 when it was known as ‘Keerwer’ or ‘Keerweder’. The whole area around the farm, including Campagni’s Drift Farm now owned by Beaumont together with the village of Bot Rivier, was used by 17th, 18th and 19th century travellers for their oxen and wagons. The name Bot River, or Botrivier, originates from ‘Butter River’ as this was the area where the local Khoi tribe sold butter to the European pioneers.

Wildekrans

Wildekrans

The rolling hills of the Overberg and the Hoew Hoek were known as ‘Canaan’ or the ‘promised land’, hence the name Wildekrans. Use of the land has changed many times, from sheep, cattle, grain and onion farming to fruits and grapes a hundred years ago. The original cellar and the concrete vats date back to the 1920s and 1930s. A new cellar and the present vineyards were built in 1982, later extended in 1997 to 40 (now 72) hectares of vines together with 30 hectares of plums and pear, and 14 hectares of olives. A total of 13 white and red grape varieties are currently grown, notably all the major cultivars together with Grenache Blanc, Hanepoot, Riesling and Sémillon).

Wildekrans

Wildekrans

The final 2 wines of the tasting were single variety wines. The Pinotage was full bodied and typical of its grape, showing ripe fruit flavours of red and black plum, black cherry and sweet Black Forest gateau. Like the Cape Blend, the wine was short on the palate with a moderate finish despite 18 months maturation in 2nd fill French oak. I rated similarly the Shiraz to finish. The wine was made with the same oaking regime as the Pinotage with spicy red to dark fruits of limited complexity, a simple palate and a short finish.

Wildekrans

Wildekrans

The Wildekrans winemaking philosophy is that great wines are made in the vineyard. There’s nothing new in that statement and it is a truism that great wines need great grapes as their key ingredients. The large size of the farm and range of soil types clearly support the large mix of cultivars that are planted. That said, most of the wines I tasted were too heavily oaked – new or 2nd fill and for 18 months or more – to show the subtleties of the individual grape varieties. I read that a new winemaker was appointed in 2017 and so I hope Wildekrans will reach its obvious potential.

Wildekrans

Wildekrans

Owner Amanda Harlow writes that ‘Wildekrans is unlike any other estate in the sense that we don’t just function as a wine estate but as a farm because we also focus on the production of fruit, olives and we tend to sheep’. This might just give a clue to the need for singular or greater focus on the wines. Remember there are cottages and a wedding facility too. I have no doubt that Wildekrans is busy at weekends and that the Estate wines are popular with its clientele. Meanwhile, it is fair to conclude that the wines were not of a style to my particular liking.

Wines tasted (bought *):

White:

2015 Barrel Select Chenin Blanc – R245

Red:

2014 Cabernet Franc Merlot (50% Cabernet Franc, 50% Merlot) – R92
NV Deep Purple (63% Pinotage, 23% Shiraz, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon) – R85
2016 Pinotage – R99
2016 Shiraz – R99

Wildekrans

 

You Might Also Like

Villion Pairs with Barton in Bot Rivier

Becoming Ship-Shape at La Couronne

Peter Falke Didn’t Knock my Socks Off

Where’s the Grande in Provence?

Yanky Doodle Dave Didn’t Bring all the Wines

River Grandeur at Viljoensdrift

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

Heaven and Earth Create a Costly Pairing

Hope Brought to the Vineyard

Intimate, Tranquil and Refined

Champagne and Brandies left Me Disappointed

Haven Rather than Heaven at La Bri

Eq-wine – Fine Wines and Fast Horses!

Pick n Taste Time at Stellenbosch

Le Lude Left Me Feeling Flat

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

Judge and be Judged!

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

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

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

High 5’s All Round for Pride without Arrogance

A Kleine Experience at Zalze

Slave to the Rhythm at Solms-Delta

Graham Beck MCCs Fizzled Out

There’s No Gun Smoke Without Wine

Libby Would not have been Proud of Linton Park

Hope Lies High in the Valley

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

All Green at Villiera

Late at Lateganskop

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Sublime Sauvignon Blanc Makes up for Variable Bloemendal

2018 Wacky Wine Ends at Le Roux & Fourie

Horsepower in the Vineyard

Sip Sip Sip and Drip Drip Drip at Domaine des Dieux

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

House Wine from the Wine Tram

Sa-Bot-Riveur!

Allez les Boks – Pas les Bleues!

Wheels Turn Full ‘Cycle’ at Meerendal

Old Oaks at La Bourgogne

Peter Has a Whale of a Time in Hermanus

At the Bend in the Road in Bot River

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

Simple Spier

In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

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

Busy, Bubbly, Noisy Wonderfontein

Bramon Beside the (Plettenberg) Bay

The Italian Collection at the Vineyard

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

Wines from the Orchards at Le Pommier

From the Angel Gabriel to the Arch Angel

Noble Wines without the Rot

Morgenhof in the Morning

Only One JC Le Roux Wine Sparkled and Scintilla-ted

Rijk Tulbagh Gives Name to Cellar and Town

Dis-gorgeous at Weltevrede

Vrede en Lust Struggled to Reveal it’s Delight

Try as I Could I Did not Find Waterkloof Wines Dynamic

Hand at Work Handiwork at Boschrivier Wines

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Peter Puts into Hermanus

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

Surprisingly Good – and Not Only for the Red Bus Tourists

Sylvan Vale Wines Good for a Meeting or an Eating

Relaxing Rosendal

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

View from the E-Skaap-ment

A Lekker Jol at Wandsbeck

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

More than Just a Destination

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

Never too Early in the Morning for Wine Tasting!

Superb Views of Guardian Peak

Anysbos a Wine Estate to Look Out For

A Quando-ary: When to Drink …?

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

An Early Start at Rietvallei

Lovane Serves its Guests Well

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Scary Jan Harmsgat Delivers Elegant Wines

Pinotage Hits a Purple Patch in Paarl

Where the Lions Roar in the Wild West of Bot Rivier

Laibach Shows its Spots

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

Decent Wines Rock from the Pulpit

I Needed to be Guided by the Angel Gabriel

Hermanus-sleepers-fontein!

Style or Substance? Nitida left Me Wondering

Baby Thrown Out with the Bath Water?

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

Kept Alone at Kaapzicht

More Plaisir at de Merle Please!

Com-fort-able Wines at Fort Simon

Bushmanspad Gave Me the Weirdest Tasting Ever

Bartinney Clings to the Mountain

1 Comments

  1. Satisfaction in Getting My Ducks (and Wines) in a Row – Cape Wine Lovers' Society

    […] impeccably dressed in tan pants, a white shirt and black bowtie. I had seen similar dress at the Wildekrans Estate in Bot River, that had seemed out of place but Jan fitted well into the estate ambience. He neatly […]

Leave a Reply

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