Off the beaten track, just beneath Rainbow’s End is Oldenburg Vineyards, in the Banghoek Valley. It’s a well-established estate with an elegant tasting room that looks over a lush garden and up into the mountains that circle the valley in an amphitheater. You can’t help but marvel at the beauty around you.
Oldenburg’s Sommeliers are excellent presenters, some of the most well spoken and refined I’ve seen at wine estates. They helped us select a tasting from the three options on offer – we had the intro to Oldenburg which featured six varietals. They bring you a cheese and biscuits platter which totally stole the show. I mean look at that cheese – it looks like a shower loofer met a whispy piece of sea coral on its way to the fridge. It’s a proper work of art, and a decent Gruberg too. The crackers are made by someone in the valley, they’re not out of a box, and the whole experience was fantastic.
Because I’d just tumbled down the hill from Rainbow’s End, I was very picky about which wines I loved from the tasting. If I’d started here and then moved on to the second farm, I’d probably have rated the wines differently. The problem with living in one of the best wine producing countries in the world is that your standards elevate quickly and the bar is set so high (see what I did there?).
For me there was one outstanding wine from Oldenburg – the 2021 Chardonnay. I love a good Chardonnay and I’ve been looking for one that just hits the spot. It’s got to be wooded, it needs depth, character, and just the right amount of richness and buttery-ness. I last found a wine that hit the spot for me in 2017 from Babylonstoren but their later vintages didn’t match that particular one, and I’ve been looking for one that matched or surpassed it since then, but haven’t found the one till the Oldenburg 2021 Chardonnay. OMG. I bought a case immediately.
While we were enjoying the tasting, marketing manager Thys Lombard came to check in on everyone and we ended up chatting to him for a long while about the estate, about wine and the wine industry, about Winebase (of course), and everything else inbetween. What a great guy with such great ideas and energy to shape the wine industry.
Oldenberg is a beautiful destination in a stunning setting, offering some superb wines with unmatched views. Their Cab Franc is comparable with the top ones out there, but their 2021 Chardonnay, in my opinion, is one of the finest I’ve tasted in a long time. Their wine tasting experience is elegant and luxurious, and that Gruberg, wow. It’s well worth the trip.