After many years on the fringes of the Cape wine world I am still constantly surprised and delighted by new discoveries.
Most recent of these was one of the Cape’s newer wineries, Gabrielskloof near Botrivier. Established as recently as 2002, the farm produced its first bottling in 2007.
What makes this all the more remarkable is the fact that Gabrielskloof was created from scratch.
Former coal mining businessman Bernhard Heyns left Middelburg in Mpumalanga and looked for a piece of land where he could establish a brand new wine farm. All there was on the property he chose, seven kilometres from Botrivier, was stony fallow wheatlands and a great deal of dust.
Today it stands out like an emerald jewel of vineyards and olive groves that appears almost shockingly out of place in its arid surroundings.
But in the few short years of its existence, Gabrielskloof has become the centre of social life in the Botrivier area. Apart from the wine cellar and olive press, there’s a relaxed, informal restaurant and deli, where local farmers drop in for coffee or a meal, children play on the safe lawns, and wine lovers stop for a serious tasting of the cellar’s excellent products.
The restaurant has become a sought-after venue for business lunches and tour groups.
No expense has been spared to create an efficient and ultra-modern wine cellar where winemaker Kobie Viljoen produces truly superb wines.
His Syrah and Five Arches Bordeaux blend rated four and four-and a half stars in the latest issue of the Platter Guide. The Gabrielskloof standard red blend, labelled simply The Blend, is a deliciously creamy wine that’s easy-drinking and fruity, with the potential of a few years’ maturation.
On the white side is a blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc called Magdalena, lovely and fresh, with crisp green fruit notes.
When you think you’ve seen all the shady oak lanes and old Cape Dutch gables to last you a lifetime, take time to travel out into the wheatlands.
Gabrielskloof is just 100km from Cape Town – an hour’s drive on a good scenic road. It’s certainly worth the drive.
Visit their website for details.