Sylvan Vale Wines Good for a Meeting or an Eating
Experience 3.5 Stellenbosch Wine 3.5

Sylvan Vale Wines Good for a Meeting or an Eating

Thursday 18 July 2019

Dr Peter Rating – Experience: 3.5/5
Dr Peter Rating –
Wines: 3.5/5

My fiancée was attending a lunch time networking session at the Devon Valley Hotel, North West Stellenbosch, and so I thought I would travel with her for some wine tasting. It was a decidedly wet wintry Cape day but that did not detract me. The area was not one I had visited much before, save for Clos Malverne more than 2 years ago, and so I was excited to return. The Devon Valley road, rural in its surroundings, was subject to major road works with a 20 minute ‘Stop/Go’ and so it made sense to head further up the valley. My tasting at JC Le Roux took less time than expected and so I returned to the hotel to sample the Sylvan Vale wines. The 3 wines are made from the 4.3 hectares of Chenin Blanc, Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon vines that surround the 8 hectares Devon Valley Hotel. Though the Hotel dates back to 1947, the South-East facing vineyards with their cooling Atlantic breezes and rich, red soils have been in existence since the 1960s.

Sylvan Vale

Sylvan Vale

The word ‘sylva’ is Latin for things that have an association with wood. It also refers to wooded, rural and pastoral charm. Both meanings are well suited to wine in general and to the Hotel setting and to the wines in particular. Tasting was in the Bar of the Hotel with its comfortable seating and warm log fire to chill the bones on the cold winter’s day. The aptly named Ghost Tree – named after the trees outside the Hotel, all ghostly and bereft of their leaves – was half labelled and served very chilled, is made from an unusual combination of Chenin Blanc and Colombard with a dash of Hanepoort. The unwooded wine was a shiny, clear pale straw in appearance with yeasty fresh apple and honey aromas that strengthened on the palate. Medium acidity and a rounded mouthfeel made for a simple wine.

Sylvan Vale

Sylvan Vale

The Rosé was unusual in not only being a Cape blend but also a blend of red with white grapes. The deep pink colour was equally rare with obvious signs of extended skin contact. As I was tasting, a group besides were meeting to discuss Spiegelau and other wine glass makes and shapes. I mentioned my imminent review of ‘normal’ v Nachtmann v Zalto glasses and joined in their conversation. The Spiegelau representative lent me a glass for the Rosé tasting. It was fascinating how different the nose was. The ISO standard 100 millilitre tasting glass with 30 millilitre pouring was flatter on the nose with strawberry notes compared with the larger, 260 millilitre Spiegelau glass that showed fresher and noticeably more intense aromas. The difference was less on the palate that was dry and with a light finish.

Sylvan Vale

Sylvan Vale

Made from near equal amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the Ghost Tree Three Colour Red just edged out its white cousin as my favourite wine. It was full bodied and shiny in appearance with red and dark berry and other fruits. It was difficult to distinguish the individual fruit flavours but the wine was simple and approachable on the palate, light in style and with modest tannins and finish.

Sylvan Vale

Sylvan Vale

I suspect that much like the boutique guest houses of Le Manoir de Brendel and La Bourgogne in Franschhoek, the Sylvan Vale wines are made for and consumed by the guests of the Devon Valley Hotel and, perhaps, local restaurants. They serve this need well, not only by offering a white, a rosé and a red wine but by offering affordable, easy drinking and undemanding wines. The simple wines are not made to win major awards as they do not need to and that is no criticism. The venue and the tasting were friendly and welcoming so, if ever you are eating (I had a tasty chicken burger after) or meeting at the Devon Valley Hotel, order a glass or two of Sylvan Vale wine to go with.

#capewinelover #DrPeter

Wines tasted (bought *):


2018 Ghost Tree Three Colours White (Chenin Blanc, Colombard, Hanepoort) – R65


2016 Cape Blend Rosé (28% Pinotage, 26% Cabernet sauvignon, 17% Shiraz, 12% Chenin Blanc) – R100


2016 Ghost Tree Three Colours Red (52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 48% Merlot) – R65 FAVOURITE WINE

Sylvan Vale


You Might Also Like

Laibach Shows its Spots

Horsepower in the Vineyard

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

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

2018 Wacky Wine Ends at Le Roux & Fourie

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

Libby Would not have been Proud of Linton Park

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

Superb Views of Guardian Peak

Eq-wine – Fine Wines and Fast Horses!

Allez les Boks – Pas les Bleues!

In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

At the Bend in the Road in Bot River

A Kleine Experience at Zalze

Only One JC Le Roux Wine Sparkled and Scintilla-ted

Pinotage Hits a Purple Patch in Paarl

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

Super Surprises at Super Single Vineyards

Sublime Sauvignon Blanc Makes up for Variable Bloemendal

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

Dis-gorgeous at Weltevrede

View from the E-Skaap-ment

New Branding for Old-enburg is Perfect

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

Peace but No Rest for Rust en Vrede

Warwick Wines Win their Colours

Pick n Taste Time at Stellenbosch

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

Slave to the Rhythm at Solms-Delta

Delaire Graff Wines Sparkle

Try as I Could I Did not Find Waterkloof Wines Dynamic

Old Oaks at La Bourgogne

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

Wines from the Orchards at Le Pommier

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

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

Grape Fun – Stomping Well Worth the Journey!

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

Golden Wines at the End of the Rainbow

Hope Brought to the Vineyard

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

Dornier Disappoints

All Green at Villiera

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

Relaxing Rosendal

Becoming Ship-Shape at La Couronne

There’s No Gun Smoke Without Wine

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

More Plaisir at de Merle Please!

Wheels Turn Full ‘Cycle’ at Meerendal

Haven Rather than Heaven at La Bri

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

An Early Start at Rietvallei

Scary Jan Harmsgat Delivers Elegant Wines

Hand at Work Handiwork at Boschrivier Wines

Rijk Tulbagh Gives Name to Cellar and Town

The Italian Collection at the Vineyard

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

Woody Wildekrans

Simple Spier

Le Lude Left Me Feeling Flat

Wonderful Grapes at the Vineyard Hotel

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Vrede en Lust Struggled to Reveal it’s Delight

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

Where’s the Grande in Provence?

Champagne and Brandies left Me Disappointed

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

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

Quoin Rock Gently Roars at Knorhoek

Intimate, Tranquil and Refined

Bramon Beside the (Plettenberg) Bay

River Grandeur at Viljoensdrift

Sip Sip Sip and Drip Drip Drip at Domaine des Dieux

A Lekker Jol at Wandsbeck

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

Superb De Trafford Worthy of Being My 200th Wine Estate

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

Exciting, Excellent Keermont

Peter Falke Didn’t Knock my Socks Off

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

A Quando-ary: When to Drink …?

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Style or Substance? Nitida left Me Wondering

The Bestbier Family produces Best Wines at Goede Hoop

Heaven and Earth Create a Costly Pairing

Noble Wines without the Rot

Pedigree Stud Grub at Cavalli

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

God Bless Slaley and All who Drink with Her

Baby Thrown Out with the Bath Water?

Bushmanspad Gave Me the Weirdest Tasting Ever

Classy, Small and Precious Kleinood

Morgenhof in the Morning

Kept Alone at Kaapzicht

Keermont Farmhouse Redefines Luxury

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

Late at Lateganskop

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

Blaauwklippen was Good for a Friday

Bartinney Clings to the Mountain

Wine Passions Mounted at Cavalli

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

Com-fort-able Wines at Fort Simon

Hearty Food and Wine Brought by the Stork at Hartenberg

Hope Lies High in the Valley

Syrah Pillars of Excellence at Haskell

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

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

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

Class in Glass at Glenelly

Wines Merely to Lust After

Yanky Doodle Dave Didn’t Bring all the Wines

Individual Quality at Jordan

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

House Wine from the Wine Tram

Busy, Bubbly, Noisy Wonderfontein

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

Judge and be Judged!

Classic(al) to Barrique – De Morgenzon Hits all the Right Notes

Graham Beck MCCs Fizzled Out

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Simonsig Excellence Today with a Traditional Legacy

Surprisingly Good – and Not Only for the Red Bus Tourists

Mooi Mooi Mooi Mooiplaas

Englishman Meets Mrs English at Classic Lanzerac

Decent Wines Rock from the Pulpit

King Chenin Kens (Knows) the Wood from the Trees

Wine Dinners are Not For Me

Leave a Reply

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