Franschhoek’s Hidden Gem Is Reluctant to Reveal
Experience 4.5 Franschhoek Wine 4.0

Franschhoek’s Hidden Gem Is Reluctant to Reveal

HOLDEN MANZ WINE ESTATE
Friday 15 February 2019
http://holdenmanz.com/

Experience: 4.5/5
Wines: 4/5

My business at the Cape Chamonix wine estate in Franschhoek ended at lunchtime and so I decided to visit a couple of wine farms for tasting before returning to Cape Town. Holden Manz was recommended. I was eager to see the estate as I had sampled some of their excellent high end Cabernet Francs at the annual Cabernet Franc Carnival but nothing more.

Holden Manz

Holden Manz

The estate was easy to find, being well signposted off the Green Valley Road, South of Franschhoek. Security at the gate was impressive as befitting a 5-star Country House hotel, spa and wedding venue, home also to the Franschhoek Kitchen restaurant. The entrance guard was as efficient as he was polite, asking me to enter my name onto a palm-top device that read my licence disc. The dusty road led through hot vineyards. I soon saw why Holden Manz brands itself as ‘Franschhoek’s hidden gem’, as just the rooftops of the white buildings showed above vines laden with their dark ripe grapes ready soon for harvest.

Holden Manz

Holden Manz

The indoors/outdoors Tasting Room across the lawn was set with outdoor seating and a pool to invite for an intimate tasting setting. A range of tasting options were offered: Gold (R80 for 4 wines); Platinum (R100 for 6 wines); Diamond (R120 for 7 wines) and Reserve (R200 for the 4 Reserve wines). Holden Manz is at the end of the Yellow, Green, Red and Blue lines of the Franschhoek Wine Tram. Visitors arriving by tram gain a 20% discount on the tasting fee. I selected the Platinum Tasting and was pleased that Paul was my tasting host. Being WSET Level 3 qualified – an unusually high qualification for a Tasting Room host – we had much in common as fellow wine students.

Holden Manz

Holden Manz

The first wine of the tasting, a Grenache-led Rosé, was one of my favourites. It was one of those delicate pink colours that are so hard to describe, a mix of oeil-de-perdrix and pale onion skin. The wine was served at just the right temperature. Paul explained how Rosé was the first wine made by the Holden Manz winemaker, at the age of 14 years old in Corsica. Delicate but intense, refreshing aromas of strawberry and wild raspberry matched the delicate colour. The wine was dry and crisp on the palate. I decided there and then to buy a bottle.

Holden Manz

Holden Manz

Two white wines followed, both of which were well balanced and well made. The natural fermented, old bush vine Chenin Blanc was everything a Chenin should be. The grapes are brought in from a farm between Paarl and Stellenbosch, before being lightly pressed and 20% barrel fermented. The result was a wine with obvious fruity aromas of good intensity and complexity: white honey, floral honeysuckle, sweet apple, guava and green pineapple. The palate was lighter than I expected, with a delicate creamy mouth feel, but grew on the finish.

Holden Manz

I preferred, just, the barrel-fermented Chardonnay from the Avant-Garde collection. The white wax cap was unusual for a Chardonnay but the wine showed classic baked apple, lemon, vanilla and fresh dough on the nose. The creamy, silky texture on the palate was refined and moreish, whilst the balance between fruit and oak was excellent.

Holden Manz

The ‘hidden gem’ ethos, though not espoused by the wines, follows through to the brochure and website. There’s tantalisingly little about the history or background of the estate. Fortunately, the Platter’s Wine Guide offers a little more. Sixteen hectares of the 22 hectare property, owned by Gerard Holden and Migo Manz, are under vine. Red cultivars are mostly grown – Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc, together with Merlot and Shiraz – and thus 85% of wines produced are red, the rest being white, Rosé and Cape port.

Holden Manz

I was excited to sample the red wines. Vernissage is French for ‘the preview of an art exhibition before formal opening’, originally meaning ‘varnishing’. It was the name too of the next wine that was also from the Avant-Garde collection, complete with distinct simple label. Holden Manz has an art gallery too but there were no notes of varnish in this wine. Made in lighter style with almost equal amounts of Franschhoek-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot, the wine offered a nod to a visit by the owners to Australia (the French appellation rules would never allow such a blend combination). Each cultivar contributed to make an excellent value-for-money entry wine: Shiraz, a spicy, fruity nose that dominated; Cabernet Sauvignon, a tight tannic structure; and Merlot, cherry flavours and a rounded texture.

Holden Manz

The second red wine was single cultivar Cabernet Sauvignon at double the price. This was a classic South African Cabernet Sauvignon. Full bodied and medium ruby in colour, the wine oozed juicy fruits on the nose with aromas of red berries, redcurrant, cassis, bramble, mulberry and liquorice. The palate showed high acidity with tight youthful tannins. I liked the freshness of the wine but R200 seemed a little over-pricey.

Holden Manz

I rated the similarly-named Visionaire the same. The tasting note described the wine as a ‘spicy Bordeaux blend’. It was spot on. The Visionaire is made from the 5 Bordeaux grapes together with 20% Shiraz. The wine was more ruby in colour and spicier on the nose than the Vernissage, due to the greater proportion of Merlot and hot peppery Shiraz, respectively. The Merlot gave the Visionaire a Right Bank feel to a wine made in like style as the other reds tasted so far.

Holden Manz

The Big G was much better and my favourite wine of the tasting, albeit the Rosé was close behind. Made without Shiraz and using the 3 primary Bordeaux grapes, this Cabernet Sauvignon-led wine (51%) tasted Left Bank in character. The fruit-dominated style with aromas of red and dark fruits – plum, cherry, blackcurrant, dark chocolate and bitter orange – meant that the Big G could never be mistaken for an Old World wine. I liked the depth of fruitiness that followed through to a full palate with a rich texture, weight and an extended finish. This is a wine that will last and deserves keeping for at least 10 years fully to mature.

Holden Manz

Holden Manz

I misread Cape Vintage for Cape Blend alongside Good Sport on the Tasting Sheet, so was surprised when Paul poured the final wine in a port glass. It was nonetheless a pleasant surprise and a nice wine to end the tasting. The dessert wine showed obvious Port character with a deep intensity of ruby purple colour and high alcohol (19%) on the nose. I liked how the Shiraz spiciness and dark-berry fruitiness balanced the sweetness and softness on the palate.

Holden Manz

Holden Manz

I much enjoyed my first tasting visit to Holden Manz and the opportunity to taste more than the Cabernets Franc that I have tasted at festivals. The wines were well-made and well-served, albeit the pace of the tasting was uneven due to the repeat influx of Wine Tram guests who are on a very tight time schedule. Each wine was served at the right temperature too. Sadly, this is not a given in my experience even when the afternoon ‘room’ temperature was 29°C. I left clutching a bottle of the Rosé with a vague feeling that I had tasted some decent wines but learned little about the estate. This was confirmed when I researched the website and elsewhere for this review. I am thus left with that sense that Holden Manz shows that slight arrogance that says ‘I know I am good but you have to find me’. A gem hidden indeed!

Wines tasted:

White:

2018 Chenin Blanc – R140
2018 Chardonnay – R140

Rosé:

2018 Rosé (42% Grenache, 34% Syrah, 12% Cinsault, 4% Cabernet Franc) – R90*

Red:

2015 Vernissage (35% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Shiraz, 30% Merlot) – R250
2016 Cabernet Sauvignon – R200
2013 Visionaire (35% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Shiraz, 11% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec) – R160
2014 Big G (51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Cabernet Franc, 18% Merlot) – R250 FAVOURITE WINE

Dessert:

2014 Good Sport Shiraz Cape Vintage – R250

Holden Manz

 

You Might Also Like

Class in Glass at Glenelly

Swallowing Fine Wines at Paserene

More Still at Tanagra

Elgin Valley is the Cool Wine Tour

Being Creative at Flagstone

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

From the Angel Gabriel to the Arch Angel

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

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

God Bless Slaley and All who Drink with Her

It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

Sa-Bot-Riveur!

Windfall Offered Unexpected Delights

Le Lude Left Me Feeling Flat

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Allez les Boks – Pas les Bleues!

Idiom Puts on a Festival Master Class

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

Opening the Book at Elgin Vintners

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

Fish (and other foods) with Wanda!

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

A Cracker and a Stormer at Paul Wallace

Back to the Future in the Berg of Paarl

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

Anysbos a Wine Estate to Look Out For

Lemberg Punches Above its Weight

I-own-a Wine Farm!

Sugar and Spice is Twice as Nice

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

Tram-Way to Heaven in Franschhoek

Beyond Expectation

Sip Sip Sip and Drip Drip Drip at Domaine des Dieux

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

Hearty Food and Wine Brought by the Stork at Hartenberg

Morgenhof in the Morning

Hermanus-sleepers-fontein!

Red, Red (Spanish) Wine

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

No Blues at Hillcrest

At the Bend in the Road in Bot River

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

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

Bon Courage and Bon Voyage

Where Eagles Care

Joy at Really Tasting the Difference at Esona

Virgin Whites Led Me into the Last Temptation

In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

Blush-endal!

Always a Favourite – Guaranteed to Delight

Red Chair in the Morning

My Best Blend at Zandvliet

Marching into France

Very Cape Wines at Capaia

A Family Occasion – the Story behind the Bottle

Wine on the Slopes at Chamonix

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

Oh-MG at Anthonij Rupert

Peace but No Rest for Rust en Vrede

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

Rain Meets Earth at Newton Johnson

Better than a Fair View Where the Goats do Roam!

The Darling from Darling Steps into the Vineyard

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

All Green at Villiera

Golden Wines at the End of the Rainbow

Simple Spier

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

Latching onto Superb Wines at De Grendel

High Living on the Stoep Sipping Aged, Luscious Red Wines

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

Old Oaks at La Bourgogne

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Classy, Small and Precious Kleinood

Slave to the Rhythm at Solms-Delta

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

More than Just a Destination

Cork and Talk with Dave

South over the Hills in Elgin

King Chenin Kens (Knows) the Wood from the Trees

Putting Capelands on the Cape Winelands Map!

Red and White Wines with Frog’s ‘Legs’

Delaire Graff Wines Sparkle

Peter Puts into Hermanus

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Tasting Vines at the Vineyard

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

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

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

Four Partners (not Cousins) at the Vineyard Hotel

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

Wines to Love on Love Street

Rijk Tulbagh Gives Name to Cellar and Town

House Wine from the Wine Tram

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

Superb Whites in the Near Dark at Mont Blois

Same but Different End to the Diploma Lectures

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

Where’s the Grande in Provence?

Boutique de Brendel

Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble!

Iconic Steenberg

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

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

Real Wines in the Place of God

Excellent Unstated Wines and Service – Naturally!

Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard

Englishman Meets Mrs English at Classic Lanzerac

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

Magnifico – Grazie Mille Idiom!

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

‘Out of the Office’ at Groot Constantia

Noble Wines without the Rot

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

Cabsolutely Frankulous at the Carnival

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

I Needed to be Guided by the Angel Gabriel

Ruddy Red and Blanc Sauvignons

More-ish Wines at Môreson

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

Colmant Sparkled

Becoming Ship-Shape at La Couronne

Superb De Trafford Worthy of Being My 200th Wine Estate

Simonsig Excellence Today with a Traditional Legacy

Idiom Wines Make a Statement

No Black Marks at Raka

Leaping to the Right Conclusions

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

Where the Lions Roar in the Wild West of Bot Rivier

Hope Lies High in the Valley

Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

More Plaisir at de Merle Please!

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

Hout Bay Vineyards – Simply the Best!

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

Pinotage Hits a Purple Patch in Paarl

Diemersdal has Six Appeal

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

PicknPay Pairs it again at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

Individual Quality at Jordan

The Early Bird Catches the Wine

Rivergold is a Gem Waiting to be Discovered

Ghostly Clouds Swirl at Spookfontein

Barrels of Fun at My First Stellenbosch Street Soirée

Blaauwklippen was Good for a Friday

Baby Thrown Out with the Bath Water?

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

Vrede en Lust Struggled to Reveal it’s Delight

Linga-ring in a Winery in Malawi

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

Wines Made to Stand the Taste of Time

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

Rickety Tram Passengers at Rickety Bridge

The Ladies in Red

Haven Rather than Heaven at La Bri

Super Surprises at Super Single Vineyards

Well and Truly Oaked!

Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

A Cape Wine Master-class

Relaxing Rosendal

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

A Sparkling Tasting at Charles Fox

Great Value in the Swartland

Vista to Verdot at Glen Carlou

It’s High Time Again

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Posh Spice in Franschhoek!

Late at Lateganskop

2 Comments

  1. Haven Rather than Heaven at La Bri – Cape Wine Lovers' Society

    […] passed La Bri as I headed up the Green Valley Road in Franschhoek to Holden Manz. I knew the estate was open for tasting after (many Valley wine farms are ‘by appointment’ […]

  2. Simple Spier – Cape Wine Lovers' Society

    […] Perhaps, having a big reputation makes it too easy compared with energetic upstarts like Oldenburg, Holden Manz and Rainbow’s End who are pushing their way into the top flight. Perhaps, the average wine punter […]

Leave a Reply

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