Blaauwklippen – The Zinfandel King of South Africa
The Zinfandel grape originates from the Croatian grape variety Crljenak Kaštelanski as well as the Primitivo grape, which was traditionally grown in Italy. The grape found its way to the United States in the mid-19th century, and became known by variations of the name “Zinfandel”, a name of uncertain origin. Zinfandel became the pride an joy of the United States wine industry and today this red grape is planted in over 10 percent of California vineyards.
In 2008 Blaauklippen wine estate outside Stellenbosch became the first winery in the Southern Hemisphere to join the ZAP – Zinfandel Advocates and Producers, a non profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of Zinfandel. The ZAP head office is based in America and more than 300 growers and producers of Zinfandel around the world are members of ZAP. Their vision to preserve the heritage and expand the knowledge base of the Zinfandel grape.
The first Zinfandel vines were planted by Walter Finalyson and his team in the late seventies. Rolf Zeitvogel, Blaauwklippen’s cellar master and general manager of Blaauklippen, feels that Zinfandel is a unique selling point and are committed to build on the legacy that Finalyson left behind.
Not many producers in South Africa focus on producing wines from this varietal. It’s a tricky grape to grow and it ripens unevenly. This means that a single bunch may contain both raisin-like, over-ripe and green, and unripened grapes. Blaauwklippen, however is the South-African market leader when it comes to the production of Zinfandel and they get around the uneven ripening problem by cutting the bunch in half at an early stage. They discard of the bottom half of the cluster and this allows the grapes closest to the vine to ripened evenly.
The Blaauwklippen Zinfandel range consist out of:
- Blaauwklippen Red Zinfandel – You will find dark chocolate and poached pear aromas on the nose and intense dried-fruit flavours on the palate
- Blaauwklippen White Zinfandel – This Blanc de Noir is goldish in colour and was made from whole bunch pressed grapes.You’ll find baked apples and pear flavours on the palate with a lingering taste of candied fruit
- Blaauwklippen Zinfandel Noble Late Harvest – Nice and sweet and the perfect wine to enjoy with your favourite dessert
The White Zinfandel made history in 2007 by becoming the first white style Zinfandel in South Africa.
Blaauwklippen’s Zinfandel is competing with some of the best Zinfandels in the world and if you haven’t tried it yet, best you make a plan and visit their tasting room outside Stellenbosch.You can also pop around to the Westin Executive Club and enjoy a bottle or two while you admire the spectacular views over Cape Town and Table Mountain from the 19 floor of the Westin Hotel.