Ons onderSTEEN #drinkchenin dag

Here in the Swartland most days are Chenin Blanc days, we make a lot of it, we drink a lot of it…

But June 18th is officially known as Drink Chenin Day, officially in the sense that “In 2014 the first #DrinkChenin Day was celebrated on June 12th in New York and 10 other cities across the USA. This campaign was the brainchild of a group of USA retailers and sommeliers. The Chenin Blanc Association joined the campaign in 2016.” It seems it has since moved on 6 days… like I say, every day is Chenin day. (source)

But to celebrate #drinkchenin day, we’ll take a look at a few of our favourite Chenins, that we bottle.

First up, everyone’s go to, value-for-money house white, the Secateurs Chenin Blanc; one cultivar, 28 sites! This little snapshot of our fact sheet tells you more:

On the other end of the spectrum, we make a few Chenins from single specific sites, sites with a unique expression of terroir. These wines might not get bottled every year (if a vineyard does not deliver a juice good enough it will get blended into the Secateurs or the Kalmoesfontein White Blend). The vineyards are old and the yield is low. Here is more on a few of those:

Above is a view of Dassiekop during harvest – Dassiekop, described by Adi as “the finest Chenin Blanc vineyard in SA, a place where viticulture and nature come together in perfect balance” is farmed by Franziska Wickens on Waterval farm, a few kilometers from our cellar.

And then, of course, there is always something a little bit left of field. Chenin Blanc is also the base wine of our Cape aperitif, Caperitif. Find out more about this product if you need to, on our sister site dedicated to The Ghost Ingredient.

We hope you get to enjoy a fine Chenin Blanc today and this weekend, any many more days to come. Cheers!

What a weekend!

We are sharing some of our favourite things to do in and around the Swartland again, since some of the businesses and restaurants originally suggested have sadly closed down.

Spending a weekend (or any few days) in the region can really relieve you of the stresses of the city. There is no traffic (unless you encounter a herd of sheep crossing a dirt road), 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 stay in our accommodation (or others in the area) 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 our 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.

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 cocktails and Asain inspired food try The Alchemist, definitely buy wine at The Wine Kollective (the only wineshop in the world that stocks alllll the Swartland gems) and check out art at the various galleries.

In Malmesbury you should get your coffee at Koffie (and see what the owner baked that morning) and grab some lunch in the garden at Granny Jeans. Peaberry Cafe and Cherry Lane are also both nice stops for light meals, coffee and local baked goods.

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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.

After harvest we hope to once again set aside a few dates for tasting days on the farm so try coming out on those weekends! And we have started to put together a sort of “menu of experiences” that friends and neighbours can offer so ask Semma about that when you book and get the most out of a weekend in die platteland.

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And if you want to visit some local nurseries, both the Malmesbury Kwekery (on Reservoir street) and the Riebeek Valley Garden Center in Riebeek West come highly recommended.

Enjoy your visit to the Swartland!

At your leisure

After much this way and that way, our accommodation is open for leisure travel for guests from within the Western Cape.

As stated before, we will take extra special care to ensure your visit is safe and virus free. In fact we promise that (as long as you switch off your social media) the farm will help you forget about it all.

The fresh air, wide open space and natural products will leave you feeling revived and restored. The kids can run around and play with the animals or in the various play areas (and generally just get out of your hair for a bit…)

If all this sounds like a dream, head over to our accommodation pages for more information and get in touch with Semma to make a booking.

From the farm with love

Another week has come and gone, our local Covid19 strategy has evolved from a complete lockdown to a stage 4 (but figuring out exactly what that means feels like tricky algebra and we just know we cannot sell or export wine yet).

On the farm we are keeping busy though. Last week there was much excitement (and the most likes ever on a photo on our Instagram page) when we set up some cameras in the kloof and captured a Cape Leopard visit.

The whole family’s teenagers are currently locked down on the farm – after (huge) breakfasts they work on the farm (whatever is on the daily agenda) until (a massive) lunch and then it is homeschool time. When homework is done they usually venture into the kloof to work on and play in their ‘den’. In the past they had also spent a few nights camping there.

But last week brother-in-law Mark had a hunch to set up a camera at a porcupine hole and what do you know, we caught a glimpse of a leopard having a go at two porcupines!

Very exciting (if you are not sleeping 30 meters away!).

This week we’ve checked into a few vineyards which might interest you.

The last grapes harvested for 2020 comes from the oldest Bukettraube vineyard in SA (and the world??). Planted in 1978 – a time when Swartland Bukettraube could be found in every bottle store in the country.

I remember my Oupa talking about “boeke vol trouble” (books full of trouble) and although we are not looking for trouble, Adi does mention that he is trying to “make the Swartland great again…”. …

And then, on the other end of the scale, this is a young Grenache Noir vineyard planted in 2018 and doing very lekker.

Oh we hope we can show you around the farm in real life, soon soon.

Stay safe.

Our Venue: Die Bos

You will often hear us talk about Die Bos, a party in die bos, a walk up to die bos or swimming in die bos… If you’ve ever wondered what on earth, allow me to explain.

At the ‘top edge’ of the Kalmoesfontein property was a very big Eucalyptus plantation (very common on farms around here as the trees were planted for the long straight poles they produce as well as firewood.) Over the years we’ve slowly cut back this plantation (because they use SO MUCH water and because frankly we’d rather plant wheat, grapes or local trees) but have left a hectare or so on the very top of the hill. In the middle of this bos (Afrikaans for forest) we’ve cleared a section to plant a maypole and have a few parties.

Over the years the space has been used for weddings (both ceremonies and celebrations), outdoor cooking seminars, parties and several Oesaf Harvest celebrations. We’ve decorated it with ribbons of all colours, leaves and vines, hessian and fabric. We love getting creative and making it a unique space for every occasion.

Most recently we added a pool to it’s offering…

If you are ever looking for a special spot for a celebration or event of any kind – come check it out. It is accessible via a steep but spectacular walk up the hill (usually with a drink spot along the way) or we can arrange a fun array of ‘shuttles’ to get those who can’t make the walk up there.

For more info or to arrange a viewing, contact semma@aabadenhorst.com.

Harvest 2020

2020 is a leap year, although we didn’t even really need the extra day in February- the grapes are 99% picked and pressed.

Down to just over 250 tons from about 280ish tons in 2019, this year’s harvest came in fast. Vineyards put their hands up to say ‘pick me now’ from early in January; there were a few crazy days in early February when temperatures peaked in the low 40s (that’s degrees Celsius) and it seemed the cold room would never be empty again.

But the vinyl kept playing; the crew kept gooiing kussies; the pomp kept klapping and the team are all smiles.

This year we once again had Keiji (aka Cage) all the way from Japan and Raynard (all the way from Malmesbury…) with new (very) local addition Tol (his father being our much featured long time employee Fortuin); first half impact player Tom (a Badenhorst) and Tom (not a Badenhorst, who has already departed to do it all again in Argentina). With Hanneke keeping on top of all the details and Adi guarding over the bigger picture, the cogs kept on turning – some days from 4am till long after the sun set, only grinding to a halt for the occasional visit from The Loadshedding Demon.

Back from left to right; Tom (not Badenhorst), Tol, Hanneke, Adi. In front; Cage and Ray

Obviously there were a few sunrise braais, many cups of good coffee and, according to the team ‘never the same lunch twice’.

In between Charl and Semma (and Judy and Mina and the team) hosted numerous lunches (and breakfasts and pizza oven experiences) and we put on another edition of Bradstock.

Bradstock, as it is known amongst fans, originated last year as a combined 40th/50th for Belinda and Andy – the jol was such a hit that they decided to do it again this year, making it a mini festival for their group of friends. Hosted over 24 hours and with two meals, three dance floors, eight musical acts, numerous outfit changes and thirty Glamping tents on the terraces – this was a party to remember (and repeat!).

Just a friendly reminder that Kalmoesfontein is not only the home of some of your favourite wines, we also provides a unique venue and location to bring your celebrations to life.

As always, be sure to follow us on Instagram and/or Facebook to see what we get up to.

Winter wedding venue

As November starts to go downhill into December into Jingle Bells and fake snow covered Christmas trees in shop windows – we want to throw it back to a cool August 30th.

Karel and Grethe got married on the farm and we have some pictures of the venue and decor to proof it.

The cellar may be basic, as Adi himself will point out, but it makes for a pretty lovely backdrop to say “I do”.

And then there is the Paardeberg in all its magic hour glory…

For more info on our farm / cellar / old house / vineyards as a venue or (photo shoot) location, check out this page or contact Semma@aabadenhorst.com – she’ll sort you out!

Pics with credit to Liesl le Roux Photography.

Single Vineyards 2018 Release

Our Single Vineyard wines are made and bottled with the express intent to respect the truth of the site. Most of these vineyards are on our farm or other slopes and valleys of the Paardeberg. We’ve been working with some for almost 9 years now and each year these vineyards show a consistansy and uniqueness that we seek out.

As Adi says “these are wines without eye-shadow…”

The one everyone is talking about (well, Tim Atkin named it his red wine discovery of the year in his 2019 South African Report… and described it as ‘delicate, ethereal and graceful’, saying, ‘it’s one of the best Cinsaults I’ve ever tasted.’) is the new kid on the block the Ringmuur Cinsault.

It’s rarer than we like our fillet, sold out from our side and most retailers, make sure to grab it if you see it anywhere.

Others returning to the line up include

– the famous Raaigras “oldest Grenache vineyard in the land” from 12 rows / 1268 vines which yields about 3 tons in a good year.

-Chenin Blancs from Dassiekop, according to Adi the “finest Chenin Blanc vineyard in South Africa”; The Golden Slopes, named after the deep yellow coloured granite in the site; Piet Bok se Steen so called after an old vigneron who lived in a tiny cottage besides the block and Klipkop – a tiny parcel planted on top of a granite outcrop in 1966.

– and just to make things a bit harder for our international agents, wines named Sk’Windjiesvlei (a Tinta Barocca planted in 1962) and Sout van die Aarde (Palomino from the West Coast just north of Dwarskersbos…)

Christian Eedes reported on (and scored) all the wines from the 2018 vintage single vineyards recently. You can read his thoughts and tasting notes here (click click).

You can buy some here.

You can read about the 2019 harvest, here.

Stable image

Finally, some professional pictures of the latest accommodation offering on the farm.

The Stables cottage is secluded behind the cellar. Two shaded outside areas are great for dining and relaxing.

Stables-front-1

Soon the veggie garden in the courtyard will be ripe for your picking;Stables-garden-2

the kitchen is fully equipped with modern fittings;Stables-kitchen-1

some herbs and farm fresh eggs and daily baked bread available;Stables-kitchen-4Stables-lounge-1

the master bedroom has a king size bed with luxurious bedding;Stables-main-bedroom-1

the second bedroom has two twin beds (which can also be set as a king!);Stables-Twin-Bedroom-2

each room has an identical bathroom (plants may differ!) Stables-main-bathroom-1

and in summer there is a perfect little splash pool with lovely views of the valley. The-Stables-pool

2 bedrooms | 2 bathrooms | fireplace | aircon | wifi | farm dam / pool

for more info, to view the other options for accommodation or to book, click click. 

Pictures by Lana Lou.

Winter wedding vibes

This weekend we hosted a lovely wet winter wedding.

Congratulations to Neil and Nadine, we are so happy that you had such a blast.

The couple got married in front of the cellar, ate and celebrated on the stoep (made cost by curtains and heaters) and danced the night away under the tent covered dance floor.

To find out more about our venue or to enquire about hosting your event n the farm, contact semma@aabadenhorst.com