My Best Blend at Zandvliet
Experience 4.0 Festivals & Events Robertson Wine 4.0

My Best Blend at Zandvliet

Thursday 31 May 2018

Experience: 4/5
Wines: 4/5

The Wacky Wine Weekend is always something that I plan with near military precision. I aim, for example to visit the most popular estates and events on the Thursday, the first festival day, when there are least visitors. This, I headed North across the Breede River valley from Esona to be at the Zandvliet Wine Estate before 2.00pm and in time for the wine blending experience. I knew from last year’s blending at Excelsior that this would be busy and so I arrived in good time. The large grassed field that was set aside for parking in front of the magnificent Cape Dutch homestead confirmed my predictions that Zandvliet would become increasingly popular as the weekend unfolds. I heard later that more than 1,500 people will visit on Saturday.



I made my way past the marquées and into the dimly lit Tasting Room, named the Kalkveld Lounge and opened in December 2016, that was lined on one side with barrels. There was a long table with glasses full of wine and sweet pairings. There were few people about and so I began taking photographs. It was then I realised that this was set out for the Zandvliet and Citrus Synergy Pairing that was to take place at 3.00pm. It explained too why there were so few festival-goers and I soon made my way downstairs to where there was a cellar tour before the wine blending.




Leslie and Jacques were our guides who told us the history of the Zandvliet estate as we moved through the old cement tanks – built 120 years ago and last used for Muscat 60 years ago – whose walls were now lined with excellent historic displays. Muscat is still produced but nowadays Zandvliet brands itself as ‘the home of Shiraz’ from plantings that date back to the 1870s. The Kalkveld Shiraz, named after the calcareous Karoo soils that contain red clay and pockets of limestone, is the flagship wine of the estate. The 29 different soils on the estate, eroded over millennia from the surrounding Langeberg Mountains, bring acidity, concentrated flavours and minerality to the wines.




Zandvliet dates back 180 years, to 1838 when the 5,000 hectare farm was granted to a Van Zyl and a Balthazar Kloppers. The De Wet family bought the property in 1867 and divided it into the estates that are now known as De Wetshof, Excelsior, Prospect and Zandvliet. Wine could be made at the time but it could not be sold in the bottle due to the control of the KWV. The first vintage was made in 1975 and the walls of the old cement tanks are lined with bottles of most of the old vintages (a 1983 bottle was given at last year’s Wacky Wine Weekend) together with old historic photographs and exhibits.



We soon made out way into the main cellar where the blending was to take place. Leslie explained that there were no rules other than to create a blend to your own personal style and taste. The available wines were:

  • 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon – an excellent wine, matured for 12 months in 3rd/4th fill French oak
  • 2017 Mourvèdre – from Ashton, fruity and with high acidity, 8 months in oak
  • 2016 Shiraz – from Zandvliet



I sampled each wine individually before deciding on my blend composition. The Cabernet Sauvignon showed average red and dark fruit aromas on the nose, decent acidity and grippy but not aggressive tannins. The Mourvèdre was denser with dark fruits, deep tannins for structure and a bright acidity, whilst the Shiraz was fruity with mild pepper spices and a smooth mouthfeel with good length.



I decided that my wine would make the most of the Shiraz (81%) with structure from the Mourvèdre (11%) and fruits from the Cabernet Sauvignon (8%). Time will tell as to how the wine will develop in the bottle. Once carefully measured, I filled my bottle and fitted the cork before labelling it and adding hot wax to seal the cork.



The blending done, I returned upstairs to sample a few wines before leaving. The Tasting Room was far busier than when I arrived. A band was playing and I recognised friends Gerald Clark and Simon Orange amongst the musicians. I tasted first the Chardonnay that had warm aromas of ripe lemon and yellow apple on the nose. The wine had good balance and length with a mild, creamy texture.



I picked out the flagship Kalkveld Shiraz to follow. Shiraz purple showed to the full-bodied wine that had excellent complexity of currants, dark plum, bramble and spice notes. The palate was good too with fruits and spices in balance and rounded tannins that were not overpowering.



I ended with 2 wines. The first, a Natural Sweet Muscat de Frontignan, was predictably grapey and floral with citrus flavours of tangerine and orange. It was my favourite wine and I liked the smooth, ripe off-dry to medium sweet mouthfeel and 8% alcohol. The Cape Vintage Port (or Vintage Liqueur Wine) made from Shiraz, was altogether more potent with warm spirit aromas from fortification to 17.5% alcohol. It was fruity and grapey with a lingering nutty aftertaste.




I recommend the Blending Experience to anyone who has not done it before. Zandvliet put on a good show and it was no wonder that it is popular Wacky Wine Weekend destination. Be sure to go early if you attend next year. Meanwhile, I shall keep my best blend safely to enjoy when it has matured.

Wines tasted (bought *):


2017 Chardonnay – R100


2015 Kalkveld Shiraz – R210


2017 Muscat – R100 FAVOURITE WINE
2013 Cape Vintage Shiraz – R180


You Might Also Like

2018 Wacky Wine Ends at Le Roux & Fourie

Great Value in the Swartland


In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

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

An Early Start at Rietvallei

Baby Thrown Out with the Bath Water?

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

Late at Lateganskop

It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk

Barrels of Fun at My First Stellenbosch Street Soirée

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Individual Quality at Jordan

Morgenhof in the Morning

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

Pinotage Hits a Purple Patch in Paarl

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

Taking the Garage into the Classroom

Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble!

Joy at Really Tasting the Difference at Esona

More Still at Tanagra

Busy, Bubbly, Noisy Wonderfontein

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

All Green at Villiera

On the Left, but then on the Right …

Ghostly Clouds Swirl at Spookfontein

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

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

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

Relaxing Rosendal

Cabsolutely Frankulous at the Carnival

Mooi Mooi Mooi Mooiplaas

The Terroir is Honoured in the Bottle at Springfield

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

PicknPay Pairs it again at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

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

Sugar and Spice is Twice as Nice

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

Linga-ring in a Winery in Malawi

The Early Bird Catches the Wine

More than Just a Destination

Vista to Verdot at Glen Carlou

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

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

Mutual Attraction

Simple Spier

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

Bon Courage and Bon Voyage

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

Where the Lions Roar in the Wild West of Bot Rivier

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

No Black Marks at Raka

Wine on the Slopes at Chamonix

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

Idiom Puts on a Festival Master Class

Robertson – Town by Name, Wine by Name

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

Oh-MG at Anthonij Rupert

Old Oaks at La Bourgogne

Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard

Altitudes with Wine!

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

Dis-gorgeous at Weltevrede

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

Colmant Sparkled

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

Langverwacht Introduced Me to Ruby Cabernet

Leaping to the Right Conclusions

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

Four Partners (not Cousins) at the Vineyard Hotel

Dave Goes Down Under and the Wines Go Up

At the Bend in the Road in Bot River

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

Where Eagles Care

No Blues at Hillcrest

Bushmanspad Gave Me the Weirdest Tasting Ever

The Darling from Darling Steps into the Vineyard


Au Revoir France!

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

River Grandeur at Viljoensdrift

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

More-ish Wines at Môreson

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

Wines to Love on Love Street

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Wines Merely to Lust After

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

Iconic Steenberg

Class in Glass at Glenelly

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Beyond Expectation

Franschhoek’s Hidden Gem Is Reluctant to Reveal

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

Quoin Rock Gently Roars at Knorhoek

Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

Superb Whites in the Near Dark at Mont Blois

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

A Warm Welcome in the Cool Climate at South Hill

Grape Fun – Stomping Well Worth the Journey!

Sip Sip Sip and Drip Drip Drip at Domaine des Dieux

From the Angel Gabriel to the Arch Angel

Peace but No Rest for Rust en Vrede

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

Blaauwklippen was Good for a Friday

Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard

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

Graham Beck MCCs Fizzled Out

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

Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines


It’s High Time Again

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

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

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

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

A Lekker Jol at Wandsbeck

Rijk Tulbagh Gives Name to Cellar and Town

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

A Quando-ary: When to Drink …?

Rivergold is a Gem Waiting to be Discovered

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

Posh Spice in Franschhoek!

Value for Money at Van Zylshof

A Family Occasion – the Story behind the Bottle

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

I Needed to be Guided by the Angel Gabriel

Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

Scary Jan Harmsgat Delivers Elegant Wines

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

Warwick Wines Win their Colours

Villion Pairs with Barton in Bot Rivier

Windfall Offered Unexpected Delights

Magnifico – Grazie Mille Idiom!

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

Red Chair in the Morning

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

Better than a Fair View Where the Goats do Roam!

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

Very Cape Wines at Capaia

Pick n Taste Time at Stellenbosch

Tasting Vines at the Vineyard

Being Creative at Flagstone

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

Boutique de Brendel

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

Rain Meets Earth at Newton Johnson

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

Leave a Reply

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