What a weekend!

We thought it would be nice to share some of our favourite things to do in and around the Swartland. Spending a weekend (or any few days) in the region can really relieve you of the stresses of the city. I mean there is no traffic, the few taxis in the towns are driven by polite law abiding citizens, the ratio of shining retail window display to real things made by locals are in your favour and the landscapes are wide open and unobstructed.

So, if you are planning to spend a few days in our (or any other local) accommodation (note, ours is the most instagram worthy and my gosh that linen!) here are a few of the things we like to do within 30mins drive of the farm.

Hiking:

So many options; you can start on the farm and walk into the Paardeberg (ask Semma); drive to the Riebeek Mountain and take the newly reopened route from Pulpit Rock or take a super easy walk up the granite hill outside Malmesbury (see slideshow below).

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Alternatively drive through Wellington and into Bain’s Kloof Pass (gorgeous views of everything the light touches) and stop off to sit next to the river (ask Helena for tips). For all of these we can provide guides on request and at a small fee.

Most of these routes are also mountain bike friendly!

Shopping and eating like a local:

On your way to Bain’s Kloof you will pass my favourite leather shop. Redemption Leather is a local factory / shop where you can buy hand made shoes, bags, belts and so much more. Worth a visit. I should go back but the boots I bought in 2016 are still going strong!

For farm fresh food you have plenty of options… as you should in the country side.

In Riebeek you can get great produce at The Biggest Little Market (previously Crisp) opposite Beans about Coffee (yes, another coffee is a great idea!) and something to braai straight from Delico Meat, a farmstyle family butchery.

The Biggest Little Market produce

For meals we always recommend Mama Cucina (great specials on the blackboards but the Sophia Loren pizza never fails) and make sure to look into King Olaf Furniture across the road. We also like drinking cocktails at The Alchemist, buying wine at The Wine Kollective and checking out art at the various galleries.

In Malmesbury you should stop at The Swartland Street Market where the Bill&Co Deli and Wine Shop stock all things local and Marvel Bistro and Bakery prepare good food daily. There is also a lovely urban food garden, created by Buurtvrug, and lots of space for city kids to stretch their legs. They have monthly winetasting dinners, market days and more.

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Wine (and other) tastings:

Most small producers are only open by appointment (like us) so make sure to enquire in advance.  Check out the Swartland Wine and Olive Route’s site or that of Riebeek Valley Tourism for details on cellars that have open doors and active tasting rooms.

We’ve set aside a few dates for tasting days on the farm (click click) so try coming out on those weekends!

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Ok, this post is getting long. I will do a follow up story with nurseries, horse riding, local festivals and other things, soon.

Hello harvest my old friend…

And then it was February- goodness. We’ve been very busy on the farm; first prepping the cellar and new cold room for harvest, then waiting for grapes and after a rather hectic heatwave everything seemed to come at the same time. The Chenin Blanc anyway.

 

With Jasper now heading up his own cellar down the dust road Hanneke Botha has stepped up to head the team in the day to day of the cellar. Luckily for her and us Keiji has joined us from Japan for the third year and we have a few more pairs of hard working hands joining the regular crew this season.

In the next few weeks I will try to catch them all for a short interview (somehow between 4:30am starts, staggered lunch times and closing shop at 19:30 they have very little time for social media mangers…)

Here’s a few pics, keep an eye on our Instagram account @aabadenhorst for day to day blow by blow action.

Grafting

This week we started grafting some shoots.

Grafting or graftage (just sounds like the kind of word that needs to be in italics) is a horticultural technique whereby tissues of plants are joined so as to continue their growth together. We have joined Chenin Blanc, Palomino and Ugni Blanc scions onto an old Red Globe root systems. These grapes will in future be used for brandy wine production…

Ugni Blanc? At first my phone corrected it to Agri Blanc – so I had to read up more.

And no surprise I hadn’t heard of the varietal also known as Trebbiano before; Wikipedia (that wonderful deep well of knowledge) lists synonyms for it as “Albano, Albana secco, Biancone, Blanc Auba, Blanc De Cadillac, Blancoun, Bobiano, Bonebeou, Branquinha, Brocanico, Bubbiano, Buriano, Buzzetto, Cadillac, Cadillate, Castelli, Castelli Romani, Castillone, Chator, Clairette D’Afrique, Clairette De Vence, Clairette Ronde, Engana Rapazes, Espadeiro branco, Falanchina, Greco, Gredelin, Hermitage White, Juni Blan, Lugana, Malvasia Fina, Muscadet Aigre, Padeiro branco, Perugino, Procanico, Procanico Dell Isola D Elba, Procanico Portoferraio, Queue De Renard, Romani, Rossan De Nice, Rossetto, Rossola, Rossula, Roussan, Roussea, Rusciola, Saint Emilion, Saint Emilion Des Charentes, Santoro, Shiraz White, Spoletino, Talia, Trebbianello, Trebbiano, Trebbiano Della Fiamma, Trebbiano Di Cesene, Trebbiano Di Empoli, Trebbiano Di Lucca, Trebbiano Di Tortona, Trebbiano Fiorentino, Trebbiano Toscano, Trebbianone, Tribbiano, Tribbiano Forte, Turbiano, Ugni blanc, Bouan, Beau, Thalia, Trebbiano di Soave, Trebbiano Romagnolo, Trebbiano Gallo and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo.

Trebbiano shares at least three synonyms with the Spanish wine grape Viura including Queue de Renard, Rossan, Ugni blanc and the similarly spelled Gredelín/Gredelin.”

Yup! In short – it is an Italian wine grape, one of the most widely planted grape varieties in the world. It gives good yields, but tends to yield undistinguished wine. Its high acidity makes it important in Cognac productions. En van daar die brannewyn planne.

And so, hopefully, you learn something new every day! Stay tuned for more informative updates, we’re excited to watch this develop.

World of fine Chenin

Adi doesn’t usually get excited by media attention, ratings or awards…

But on Saturday morning, when we happened to run into each other outside Kooperasie Stories (a beautifully curated antique store on the road between Pniel and Franschhoek), the first thing he said (after handing me a juicebox) was “did you see that Fine Wine article on Chenin?”

So I knew this would be exciting recognition. And it is!

He was referring to the latest issue of The World of Fine Wine – which includes a rare Chenin tasting. A few of our wines (and even two accredited to us incorrectly, sorry Jasper and Keermont…) did well but it is the Secateurs results that got us smiling.

For an entry level wine, retailing under R100 (£12 / $15) to even show up on this list of impressive international wines is quite something. Never mind the 92 points or its position on the list…

As Tim James reports (like just now) “It was, though, above all, a good result for internationally rather unfashionable chenin, with 25 wines out of 37 scoring an average of 89 or more out of 100, meaning “very good” wine on the World of Fine Wine scale (the magazine is one of the more ungenerous scorers, I’d say). Fifteen wines came in the “outstanding” band of 92, 93 and 94 points – eight of them South African, seven French.”

Here are a few (bad quality) screengrabs of scans of the article.

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In other news, my gosh has it been raining in the Swartland! We received 80mm of rain in June and 56mm just this weekend (from Friday the 29th till today) and the region is finally looking lush and green – this is winter like I remember it from my childhood – and man we are loving it.

Swartland Heritage II

Last year the Swartland Independent Producers (or SIP) of which we are a proud member, hosted the first instalment of the Swartland Heritage Festival at the Paternoster Fish Market. Click here for some pictures from last year. 

Tickets are now on sale for version two, coming to you on the first weekend of November. Book tickets by emailing RSVP@studio-h.co.za.

Hope to see you there!

New stock [images]

 

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Last week we had our friend Maree and her camera on the farm to shoot some library images for us (it had been five years since we last did it, and a LOT changes on Kalmoesfontein in five years…)

Here is just a sneak peak for your enjoyment. It is nice to see the evolution through the lens of a proper camera (and not an #iphone with #instagram filters!)


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We also shot some photos for new fact sheets for the Badenhorst, Secateurs and single vineyard ranges. Watch this space, we’ll upload them to the site when ready and if you are in the trade, lekker things are on their way – for you and your customers to get a sense of where our wines come from.

Photos: Maree Louw.

Friday things

Never a dull moment on the Partyberg. It is Friday and there are lots of things happening on Kalmoesfontein.

The flowers are in bloom,

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new wines are going into bottle,

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and we’re prepping for a trade tasting (and lunch) tomorrow.

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Meanwhile Greg Sherwood (MW!) posted nice things about the 2015 Raaigras Grenache, and I quote:
“This must be one of South Africa’s best Grenache reds. Coming from old vines planted on Adi Badenhorst’s farm on the decomposed granite hills of the Paardeberg, Swartland in 1951, this wine shows such Grenache purity, power and authenticity.”

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and our Chenin is included in a tasting line up, in Stellenbosch (of all places).

Happy Friday indeed! Cheers.

Good report cards

The Tim Atkin SA Report 2017 is out and we got a table of wines on the 90+ list!

Say’s Tim: “Both at home and overseas, there is a growing awareness of the winemaking and viticultural revolution that is unfolding in the Cape. Consumers worldwide are becoming increasingly passionate about South African wines. And not before time! My annual report is, I hope, a part of that success.”

It sure is Tim!

Our school report reads as follows:

Tim Atkin Report 2017

Not too shabby hey Nige.