DurbanvilleMountainBack Label: Durbanville used to be called Pampoenkraal as it was a source of fresh vegetables for the VOC whose galleons would revictualise at the Cape en route to and from the Spiceries.  Today olives and grapes are more common than green peppers, although those tangy green flavours of asparagus, gooseberries and grapefruit are to be found in the most popular cultivar in the Durbanville Valley: Sauvignon Blanc.

The precise location of the green curtain that bisects the Western Cape and separates Durbanville and Darling on the one side from Stellenbosch and Wellington on the other, has yet to be mapped by Duimpie Bayly and his famous demarcation committee that rolls around the Winelands in a combi, arriving at farms for on-site terroir inspections and demanding wine for their braais, as Johann Krige from Kanonkop remarks.

On the west coast side of the curtain, it’s the Sauvignon Suburbs with Thys Louw the mayor.  On the other side of the curtain is Chenin City with Ken Forrester in control.

In a nutshell:

  • The vegetable garden of Cape Town
  • Seasons of Sauvignon an annual Sauvignon Blanc showcase
  • Fresh and spicy Merlot a feature

Four Favourites

♥♥♥♥♥ Altydgedacht The Ollo 2011 R75

♥♥♥♥♥ D’Aria Cabernet/Merlot 2010 R75

♥♥♥♥♥ De Grendel Merlot 2009 R90

♥♥♥♥♥ Meerendal Chenin Natural Sweet 2009 R105

Nine Terroir Sauvignon Blancs

♥♥♥♥ Diemersdal MM Louw 2011 Exotic oak, tropical and veggie, jammy and honeyed notes.  Creamy and naturally fresh with apricots and limes plus a touch of sweat.

♥♥♥♥ Diemersdal 2012 Green beans, asparagus, veggy style.  Light citrus. Creamy, round.  Good natural acidity.  Tops with food.

♥♥♥ Nitida Club Select 2012 Green beans, asparagus with light citrus notes.  Creamy and medium rough texture.  Good natural acidity and well worth cellaring.

♥♥♥ Maastricht 2012 Delicate green peppers.  Light citrus and well balanced tropical notes.  Creamy and round.  Some natural palate roughness.  Good natural acidity.

♥♥♥ Hillcrest 2012 Green beans, asparagus.  Light citrus and well balanced tropical notes.  Creamy, round with pleasant fruit sweetness.  A bit of natural roughness and good natural acidity.  Food friendly.

♥♥♥ Phizante Kraal 2012   A bit honeyed with some perfume. Tropical. Medium intensity.  Creamy and sweet.  Popular commercial style.

De Grendel 2012 Unexpected floral beauty in a tropical fruit salad.  Some vanilla scent.  Round palate, medium-bodied.  Good commercial style.

Diemersdal Eight Rows 2012 Tinned peas and white asparagus.  Light citrus notes. Round with medium rough texture.  Good natural acidity.  Suitable with light fried food.

Bloemendal 2011 A bit honeyed.  A green Sauvignon, good with food.

A Quartet of Terroir Whites

♥♥♥♥♥ Altydgedacht The Ollo 2011 One exotic white blend with creamy minerality and good length.  Flavours of candied stone and tropical fruits with well integrated wood spices.

♥♥♥♥ De Grendel Viognier 2012 Very Rhônish, Condrieu almost with a dry palate, fresh and tangy.  Peach peel and pulp with a long finish.

♥♥♥ De Grendel Pinot Gris 2012 Good summertime drink with creamy citrus fruits.

♥♥♥ Diemersdal Chardonnay Reserve 2011 Hefty dollop of oak but the fruit powers through.  Citrus and white candied fruit with thrusting acidity.  A fantastically fresh Mr. Fox of a wine.

Best Rosé in the Village

Meerendal Pinotage Blanc de Noir 2012 Red candied fruit and mushroom soup, Bordeaux style.  Smoky and smooth like Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous.

A Six Pack of Merlot

♥♥♥♥♥ De Grendel 2009 Cold tea and liver pâté sandwiches.  Tobacco, vanilla and dried prunes.  Mouthfilling, long lasting.

♥♥♥♥ Durbanville Hills Luipardsberg 2008 Intense bell pepper and ripe red fruit.  Tobacco, leather and dried prunes.  Elegant, long lasting.  A challenge to chefs.

♥♥♥♥ Durbanville Hills Rhinofields 2009 red candied fruit and bell peppers.  Judicious oaking.  Elegant, young tannins, good acidity and sweet balance.

Klein Roosboom 2009 Chocolate and sour cherries, some mint.

Meerendal 2010 jammy red fruit, bell peppers. Youthful tannins, medium, elegant body. Good ageing potential.

Diemersdal 2011 Fruit driven, vanilla, simple but intense flavours. Elegant and fresh, good with food.

A Quartet of Pinotage

♥♥♥♥ Durbanville Hills Rhinofields 2011 Lively fruit cinnamon spice and charry oak.  Dried prunes and candied red fruit.  Floral fresh notes.  Pleasant sucrosity, elegant.  A gourmand wine.

♥♥♥ Diemersdal Pinotage Reserve 2011 Charry oak and fascinating red fruit cheesecake flavours.

♥♥♥ Meerendal The Heritage Block Pinotage 2010 Intense oak aromas, some leather, dried prunes and orange marmalade.  A big, chewable wine, good with food.

Diemersdal Pinotage 2011 White pepper, light fresh palate, all raspberries and cream.

A Quartet of Shiraz

♥♥♥♥ D’Aria The Soprana  2009 Earthy, oregano, spicy typicity.  Stone fruit and chocolaty.  Big bodied, for strong foods.

♥♥♥ Phizante Kraal 2009 Tutti frutti, tangy, white pepper spice.  Chocolaty and mint, intense and a popular style. Elegant, fresh, with good bottle ageing potential.

Durbanville Hills Rhinofields 2008 Spice and earthy complexity.  Dried stone fruit with fresh minty oak.  Elegant, ready to drink.

Maastricht 2011 A well-made and fine commercial wine.

A Trio of Cabernet Sauvignon

♥♥♥ Meerendal 2010 Sweet fruit heavily oaked, rich and full.

Phizante Kraal 2009 Fresh cassis blackcurrant and bell peppers, clean.  Spicy oak

Maastricht 2011 Cheesecake and bell peppers, intense.  Serious tannins; a good food wine.

A Six Pack of Red Blends

♥♥♥♥♥ D’Aria Cabernet/Merlot 2010 Exotic oak, tangy fruit, clean.  Ripe and dried stone fruit, bell peppers with a rich complexity.  Huge length.

♥♥♥♥ Nitida Calligraphy 2010 Nutty oak, baked fruit character of port, good length.  Red and stone fruit cheesecake.  Chary and spicy nose, rich complexity.

♥♥♥♥ Hillcrest Quarry 2009 Some tropical fruit and bell peppers, fresh, fine and complex with extreme spice.  Good oak management.

♥♥♥ Hillcrest Hornfels 2009 Some earthy tangy fruit.  Bell peppers and spicey oak.  Chewable tannins.

Durbanville Hills Rhinofields Cape Blend 2010 Sour cherries, chary oaky vanilla and stone fruits.

Diemersdal Private Collection 2010 Chary and spicy oak, deep ripe and dried stone fruit, bell peppers. Elegant and fresh.

A Brace of Sweeties

♥♥♥♥♥ Meerendal Chenin Blanc Natural Sweet 2009 Huge blockbuster style with flavours of honey and quince marmalade, super creamy.

♥♥♥ Nitida Modjadji 2011 Incredibly sweet and floral.  Flavours of dried tropical fruit: mango, pawpaw and spanspek melon.