LE POMMIER WINE ESTATE
Thursday 28 March 2019
I arrived later than planned at Le Pommier, located beside the Helshoogte Pass East of Stellenbosch. I had over-run my time at Oldenburg Vineyards beforehand so pleased to arrive. The walk to the small Tasting Building was short with the Restaurant that serves South African dishes to my left. The small Tasting Room overlooks the vineyards and the spectacular Simonsberg Mountains at the rear of the property. Le Pommier also offers accommodation in 12 en-suite bedrooms, with 2 self catering units, that makes it a popular venue for weddings and conferences.
Le Pommier offers a single range of just 6 wines. Zin was my tasting host who explained that I could choose 4 of them for tasting, albeit the Olivia Sémillon/Sauvignon Blanc white blend and the Jonathan Malbec were not currently available. Olivia was the ouma or grandmother of owner Johan van Schalkwyk whilst the Malbec name came from the resident bull who escaped to destroy half the Malbec vineyards. Just 5 hectares of the 16 hectare estate are under vine – Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc and Malbec are grown – with the mostly red wines (55%) made by neighbouring Zorgvliet. The classy Le Pommier logo and estate name reflects the farm origins (as many in Stellenbosch) as an apple orchard over 100 years ago.
The 4* Platter Sauvignon Blanc was excellent value. The wine showed a slight sweetness of tropical guava, gooseberry and pineapple fruits on the nose. It was refreshing with a bright acidity for a clean, crisp palate. The Rosé was similarly pale and watery but that came as no surprise as it was made too from Sauvignon Blanc, with added Cabernet Sauvignon to bring the pale salmon to coral delicate colour. Sauvignon Blanc is an unusual cultivar for a Rosé; I can think only of Diemersdal where I have tasted before. The wine showed the same character as the Sauvignon Blanc with a bone dry, crisp palate and limited aromas of sweet strawberry.
The first red wine was the Owner’s Red Blend, a Merlot-led Bordeaux style wine that showed fruity redcurrant, cranberry and baking spice aromas. The Cabernet Sauvignon contributed just enough structure and grip even if the tannins (16 months in 2nd/3rd fill barrels) were a little prominent for my taste.
Last was my favourite wine, the Cabernet Sauvignon that had been matured for the same time in 3rd fill barrels. It showed a medium-deep ruby colour together with a good intensity of spicy red and dark fruits, vanilla and pencil shavings on the nose. Tannins came to the fore ahead of lighter fruits on the palate.
Le Pommier offered simple wines with excellent value for money. The view from the Tasting Room overlooking the vines and mountains is worth a visit alone. You will not be disappointed.
Wines tasted (bought *):
2018 Sauvignon Blanc – R85
2018 Rosé (98% Sauvignon Blanc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon) – R85
2016 Owner’s Red Blend (73% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc) – R95
2016 Cabernet Sauvignon – R95 FAVOURITE WINE