Oldenburg is more than just the new kid on the block
With over 600 wine farms it’s sometimes hard to believe that there’s actually space for another one. It’s not an easy business to invest in these days. It takes guts, passion, money and a whole lot of determination to turn it into a profitable venture. These four characteristics describe Adrian Vanderspuy.
Adrian was born on the farm Rainbows End in the Banghoek valley, but left South Africa as a small child. Throughout his upbringing he returned to South Africa every year to visit his grandparents on Oldenberg. His love for the Stellenbosch Winelands never subsided and in 2003 he decided to purchase the farm. Adrian became increasingly aware that South Africa and its wine industry were set to experience a renaissance and after extensive research it was clear that the farm had the perfect terroir to produce wines of outstanding quality.
Adrian decided to replant the vineyards, which had suffered from over a decade of neglect and in 2004 he employed viticulturist and winemaker, Simon Thompson. Simon believes that Oldenburg has the perfect geography, soil and climate to make extraordinary wines and the proof is definitely in the bottle.
The Oldenburg wines are made only from grapes from the estate. The philosophy behind the wines is to tread as lightly as possible and to craft wines with minimal intervention. They strive to interact with nature in a sustainable manner and as much as possible is done by hand. Only the best grapes make it to the cellar. Simon believes that the grapes must do the talking and they are clearly a happy bunch indeed. Each of the five wines in the Oldenburg range reflects elegance, sophistication and juicy flavours.
The 2010 Chenin Blanc’s grapes come from a vineyard that was planted in 2006. The young vines are reflected in the wine, but the 7 months French oak aging complement the young flavours and adds structure to the wine. It’s a refreshing wine that shows amazing potential, to such an extend that it walked away with a Gold Medal at the International Wine Challenge this year. An impeccable achievement if one considers the age of these vines. The wine retails at R92 and it’s a definite must try.
The 2010 Chardonnay projects fruity flavours and fresh minerality. It’s a rejuvenating wine and borderline addictive. The wine complements the flavours found in the valley and captivates your senses with it’s youthfulness. The wine retails at R119 a bottle.
Elegance and finesse are written all over the 2008 Syrah. White pepper and spice are balanced out nicely with the up-front fruit flavours on the nose. This intensely deep mulberry-coloured wine was aged in French and American oak for 15 months. The 2008 Syrah walked away with Gold at this year’s Diamond Awards and retails at R154 a bottle.
The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon … wow! Oldenburg really pulled out all the stops with this wine. Intense hues of ripe cherries and black current can be found on the nose with hints of cigar box and herbs. It’s a youthful wine with classic elegance and great aging potential. I expected the wine to be priced at round about R250 a bottle, so I was over the moon when I discovered that it retails at a mere R168.
Over the past two years a few producers in South Africa discovered the secret behind making a good Cabernet Franc and Oldenburg can be added to that list. The terroir found in the Banghoek valley embraces the flavours in this wine. Simon believes that if you treat Cabernet Franc well in the vineyard and in the cellar, it will shine in the bottle. He clearly pampered the 2008 Cabernet Franc because this wine is truly divine! For R182 a bottle you can indulge in a seamless wine that demonstrates great balance and style.
Adrian’s mission is to take these incredible creations of Simon and show the world the quality wines that South Africa can produce. His main aim is to open up the Banghoek Valley to the rest of the world and turn Oldenburg into a destination winery with a collection of fine wines to match. For me, the Oldenburg range is like a breath of fresh air that I just cannot get enough of. What surprised me most was the quality in relation to price. These wines are not just great value for money, they over deliver in every sip. Oldenburg might be the new kid on the block, but their determination and passion is bound to turn them into one of South Africa’s pride and joys.