Zandvliet soars on the wings of showstopper Shiraz

Zandvliet Wine Estate takes centre stage again this winter thanks to its reputation as the historic home of great South African Shiraz.

Every year, red wine soars as daily temperatures cool. But an undeniable star for fireside enjoyment remains Shiraz from the award-winning vineyards of Zandvliet.

“The magical key to Zandvliet wines lies locked within its soils,” says winemaker Jacques Cilliers, who took the reins at the iconic estate in 2011. “Known as calcareous Karoo, with a red clay underlay dotted with pockets of chalky limestone, this is what we call kalkveld. It’s the driving force behind our classical wines. Firm acidity, concentrated flavours and mineral traces are delicately managed from vineyard to cellar.”

Zandvliet’s excellence underscores its entire range of wines, but it is the Shiraz variety that is known as the farm’s brightest star. As such, it is presented to wine-lovers in three expressions – the Estate, Kalkveld and Hill of Enon.

Zandvliet Estate – the forerunner
Zandvliet Estate is the direct descendant of the farm’s first vintage of Shiraz, made in 1975. The first release however only came the following year.
Back then, the variety was relatively unheard of for individual bottling. Most Shiraz was used in blends. The owners of the time knew their soils and that Shiraz would thrive.

Vines for this range are planted in a red weathered shale soil. It is rich in minerals, allowing the plants to grow and produce healthy bunches. Wines from these vineyards typically spend 20 to 24 months maturing in a 4000-litre foudre of French oak, with the quality of fruit providing a complex wine with a soft supple palate.
Zandlviet Estate Shiraz may be matured up to 20 years from vintage.

Kalkveld – the beacon
The Robertson Wine Valley has some of the very few concentrations of natural limestone (kalk in Afrikaans) in South Africa’s winelands. Even that concentration is limited to a few farms, and Zandvliet is one of them.

The Kalkveld range (literally translated as “limestone field”) hails from vineyards that grow on a hill that dominates the centre of the Zandvliet farm. The soils comprise a complex conglomerate of limestone, pebbles, and clay.

Further enhancing the character of its wines are the daily south-easterly breezes that serve to temper heat and ensure optimal, slow ripening of the fruit.

Its wines are refined and elegant with classic Shiraz characteristics. Like the Estate range, these wines continue to develop in bottle for up to two decades after vintage.

These excellent Shiraz wines may be tasted on the farm, located near the village of Ashton, off the R60. Zandvliet’s Kalkveld Lounge integrates contemporary décor with the farm’s proud heritage. It is open Monday to Saturday, from 10:00 to 15:00.

The Zandvliet Estate Shiraz retails for R150/bottle, the Kalkveld Shiraz for R280/bottle. Zandvliet wines may be ordered online, for door-to-door delivery.

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