DeWaal Sits Atop the Pinotage Hill
Experience 4.0 Stellenbosch Wine 4.0

DeWaal Sits Atop the Pinotage Hill

DEWAAL WINES
Tuesday 20 August 2019
http://www.dewaal.co.za/

Dr Peter Rating – Experience: 4/5
Dr Peter Rating –
Wines: 4/5

De Waal, branded as DeWaal, lies at the end of the cool Stellenbosch Kloof Valley to the South-West of Stellenbosch. It is a familiar tasting area for me. Turn off by Lovane close to the R310/M12 fork and head past Overgaauw but be careful to take the right fork or you will end up at Super Single Vineyards, Jordan Wine Estate and DeMorgenzon. The road threads its way through vineyards on open gentle slopes before one is welcomed by the estate sign that claims DeWaal has the oldest Pinotage vineyard in the world. More on that later.

De Waal

DeWaal was established in 1682 by Simon van der Stel and was once part of a larger Langverwacht/Zevenwacht landholding in Kuilsriver. The history pre-dates the wine estate with family roots of house building in Bree Street and Bo-Kaap, Cape Town that date back to Jan der Waal in 1752. Think, for example, of De Waal drive leading out of the city and the De Waal Park that was established in 1881. It was shortly before, in 1864, that Adriaan de Waal acquired the land only to find tin beneath the surface. He acquired the mining rights which led to a sizeable increase in value of the farm. Later, he sold the farm and divided the sale proceeds between himself and his children. Tielman de Waal acquired Uiterwyk which was later divided into 2 parts: one part was given to eldest son, Pieter; the other section is known as DeMorgenzon and Jordan (who, incidentally, make a Syrah called The Prospector to reflect the tin discovered beneath the gravel during the 1800s Gold Rush).

De Waal

De Waal

The historic legacy is immediately apparent on parking outside the Tasting Venue that is surrounded by the whitewashed, thatch-roofed Cape Dutch Manor House and previous Cellar built in 1798 and 1791, respectively. The present Cellar Building and tastefully, open yet comfortable, decorated Tasting Room was built in 1971. Helga was my attentive and knowledgeable host (R50 for any 5 white and red wines from the Young Vines and Middle Ranges; R100 for any 5 wines, to include the Premium wines). I chose a selection of both.

De Waal

Intriguingly, given the current vogue for old vines and bush vines, DeWaal produces a value for money range of Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Merlot and Shiraz made from young vines. There is a minority school of thought that considers that vine stress is integral to the quality and concentrated fruits of old (bush) vines, and that young vines possess much of the same character as they first produce their grapes. This argument tends to refer to vines that are 5 to 8 years old. I sampled the Young Vines Chenin Blanc made with vines that were 10 to 15 years old. The unwooded wine was pale and shiny in appearance with a good intensity on the nose despite being served cold. Fresh lemon, lime, guava, fennel and white honey notes gave way to more tropical fruits are the wine warmed in the glass. The intensity was less on the palate which showed above average acidity and medium length.

De Waal

De Waal

DeWaal makes equal amount of white and red wines from 120 hectares of the 160-hectare property. The wine is made by the 9th generation of the De Waal family: 4 generations in Cape Town and Constantia, followed by 5 generations on Uiterwyk. The winemaking remains very much a family business. Current owner Pieter manages the business whilst brothers Chris and Daniël make the white and red wines. White and red wines may be made in same quantity, but it is the red wines – and particularly Pinotage – that De Waal is known for. I tasted 3 beside each other that had a good price split (R110, R375 and R700) to be able to assess their character and quality.

De Waal

De Waal

The entry Pinotage, of 2016 vintage, was made from the youngest vines. These were 15 to 20 years old and trellised with the grapes picked early to make for a lighter style wine with a slight lower alcohol (12.5%). The wine was medium bodied with a pale ruby appearance marked with a purple tinge. Red and dark fruit aromas showed in the nose, of plum, cherry and redcurrant with some aromatic spiciness. Smoky bacon and leather flavours emerged on the palate to balance the fruits and medium tannins for a light style of wine.

De Waal

De Waal

I preferred the CT De Waal Pinotage that was a step up in quality. CT De Waal was the second oldest son of Adriaan De Waal and one of the pioneers of Pinotage. Unable to follow his wish to become a winemaker (in those days, you had to own a farm), he went into academia as a Lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch. It was there that he met the viticulturalist, Professor Abraham Perold who crossed Pinot Noir with Hermitage (Cinsault) in 1925 to create Pinotage. Sixteen years later, in 1941, there were enough grapes to make the first experimental barrel of wine which was made by CT De Waal. The wine with his name was richer and more voluptuous in style and made from grapes from 40 to 45-year-old bush vines, matured for 12 months in 20% new French oak. The Pinotage showed a greater intensity of warmer (but not overripe) darker fruits than the first wine. I liked the complexity of plum, dark cherry, mulberry, nutmeg and cinnamon aromas. The wine was less intense at first on the palate than I expected, albeit growing in the mouth, that was well balanced with rounded tannins, the fruits and 13.5% alcohol to give an elegant wine.

De Waal

De Waal

The signature Top of The Hill block of Pinotage was planted by Danie De Waal and his brother in 1950, just 9 years after CT made the first experimental wine. Whilst not the first vineyard to be planted, the 1 hectare of 69-year-old bush vines are the oldest in existence today. The brothers were cautious about replacing precious Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz and so planted the Pinotage on an open piece of land on top of a small hill, not knowing at the time that the medium to poor fertility sandy soils with their underlying deep clay were ideal for the variety. The location is 250 metres above sea level – the coolest on the farm – with the grapes picked early to avoid unwanted juicy banana and acetone flavours. This was the best of the 3 Pinotage and my favourite wine of the tasting. The Top of the Hill was the deepest ruby in colour and the fullest in body. It has the most complex nose, aided by 18 months maturation in 80% new French oak, with notes of more black than red plum, mulberry and bramble with slightly floral pepper spice undertones. The wine was decidedly moreish, rich and full of flavour with excellent balance with the smooth tannins and 13.0% alcohol and a refined elegance with lingering length that was worthy of its pedigree.

De Waal

It seemed almost wrong to end the tasting with a Cabernet Sauvignon that was a third the price, but I had wanted to taste the 3 Pinotage together. This was another excellent wine with a mix of red and dark fruit flavours of dark plum, cassis, mulberry, blackberry and a green stalky herbaceousness that were of brooding intensity, as typical of the 2015 vintage. The tannins were very different to those of the Pinotage, being much more structured and tauter to produce a bigger feeling wine. Approachable almost now, the Cabernet makes an excellent food wine that will only improve as the tannins round and soften.

De Waal

De Waal

DeWaal Wines well lived up to its reputation for producing excellent red wines and excellent Pinotage. Helga knew her wine and I could not fault her knowledge of South Africa’s signature and favourite red cultivar. I liked too how distinct the quality levels were for each range of wine. So often there’s an overlap between collections or, worse, mid-level wines are labelled as Premium or even Super Premium. DeWaal did not fall into this trap and was the better for it. Follow the journey of the De Waal ancestors along the Kloof Valley, a road dating back to 1700, that marked the way between Cape Town and Stellenbosch. You will not be disappointed.

#capewinelover #DrPeter

Wines tasted (bought *):

White:

2018 Young Vines Chenin Blanc – R75*

Red:

2016 Pinotage – R110
2015 CT De Waal Pinotage – R375
2015 Top of the Hill Pinotage – R700 FAVOURITE WINE
2015 Cabernet Sauvignon – R230*

De Waal

You Might Also Like

Eq-wine – Fine Wines and Fast Horses!

Boutique de Brendel

Sip Sip Sip and Drip Drip Drip at Domaine des Dieux

Rijk Tulbagh Gives Name to Cellar and Town

An Early Start at Rietvallei

Linga-ring in a Winery in Malawi

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

Englishman Meets Mrs English at Classic Lanzerac

Com-fort-able Wines at Fort Simon

A Family Occasion – the Story behind the Bottle

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

Bon Courage and Bon Voyage

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

Laibach Shows its Spots

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

My Best Blend at Zandvliet

Cheers! Or Beers?!

Wine on the Slopes at Chamonix

Sylvan Vale Wines Good for a Meeting or an Eating

Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

Bramon Beside the (Plettenberg) Bay

Golden Wines at the End of the Rainbow

Simple Spier

Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

History in Every Glass at Overgaauw

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

Colmant Sparkled

Rain Meets Earth at Newton Johnson

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

Wine Dinners are Not For Me

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Blaauwklippen was Good for a Friday

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

Peter Falke Didn’t Knock my Socks Off

Joy at Really Tasting the Difference at Esona

Late at Lateganskop

Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble!

Ghostly Clouds Swirl at Spookfontein

All Green at Villiera

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

Warwick Wines Win their Colours

Putting into Port at De Krans

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

Mooi Mooi Mooi Mooiplaas

Syrah Pillars of Excellence at Haskell

Franschhoek’s Hidden Gem Is Reluctant to Reveal

PicknPay Pairs it again at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

More Still at Tanagra

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

Dornier Disappoints

I Needed to be Guided by the Angel Gabriel

The Darling from Darling Steps into the Vineyard

Red and White Cab – and So Much More – at Asara

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

Quoin Rock Gently Roars at Knorhoek

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

No Blues at Hillcrest

Oh-MG at Anthonij Rupert

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

Superb De Trafford Worthy of Being My 200th Wine Estate

A Kleine Experience at Zalze

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

Au Revoir France!

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

Super Surprises at Super Single Vineyards

Wonderful Grapes at the Vineyard Hotel

Grape Fun – Stomping Well Worth the Journey!

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

It’s High Time Again

Dave Goes Down Under and the Wines Go Up

Peace but No Rest for Rust en Vrede

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Great Value in the Swartland

At the Bend in the Road in Bot River

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

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

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

Posh Spice in Franschhoek!

Tasting Vines at the Vineyard

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

Wine Passions Mounted at Cavalli

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

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

Wines to Love on Love Street

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

Vista to Verdot at Glen Carlou

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

Rivergold is a Gem Waiting to be Discovered

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

Pedigree Stud Grub at Cavalli

God Bless Slaley and All who Drink with Her

Superb Views of Guardian Peak

No Black Marks at Raka

Where the Lions Roar in the Wild West of Bot Rivier

Keermont Farmhouse Redefines Luxury

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

Hidden Valley and Its Wines are Revealed

Mutual Attraction

Class in Glass at Glenelly

Very Cape Wines at Capaia

On the Left, but then on the Right …

Stellenrust Eagerly Impresses

The Bestbier Family produces Best Wines at Goede Hoop

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

From the Angel Gabriel to the Arch Angel

Villion Pairs with Barton in Bot Rivier

Beyond Expectation

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

King Chenin Kens (Knows) the Wood from the Trees

Blush-endal!

Bartinney Clings to the Mountain

Sa-Bot-Riveur!

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

More-ish Wines at Môreson

SMV, SMG, GSM – BLICS and PAPERCLIPS!

Leaping to the Right Conclusions

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

More than Just a Destination

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Kept Alone at Kaapzicht

Taking the Garage into the Classroom

The Terroir is Honoured in the Bottle at Springfield

Four Partners (not Cousins) at the Vineyard Hotel

Being Creative at Flagstone

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

Red Chair in the Morning

Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines

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

Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

Simonsig Excellence Today with a Traditional Legacy

New Branding for Old-enburg is Perfect

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price

Delaire Graff Wines Sparkle

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

Only One JC Le Roux Wine Sparkled and Scintilla-ted

Better than a Fair View Where the Goats do Roam!

Perdeberg Earns Its Stripes

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

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

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

Cabsolutely Frankulous at the Carnival

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

Hearty Food and Wine Brought by the Stork at Hartenberg

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

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

Wines Merely to Lust After

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

Morgenhof in the Morning

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

Alto Reaches Heights with the M.P.H.S.

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

Classy, Small and Precious Kleinood

Altitudes with Wine!

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

Baby Thrown Out with the Bath Water?

Barrels of Fun at My First Stellenbosch Street Soirée

Sugar and Spice is Twice as Nice

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

Individual Quality at Jordan

Lovane Serves its Guests Well

Old Oaks at La Bourgogne

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

Wines from the Orchards at Le Pommier

It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard

Iconic Steenberg

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

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

Relaxing Rosendal

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

Exciting, Excellent Keermont

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

A Warm Welcome in the Cool Climate at South Hill

Windfall Offered Unexpected Delights

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

Leave a Reply

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