Oldenburg – “New from Old” Stellenbosch Winery

April 8th, 2011 by karen

I was invited to a tasting of the range of Oldenburg wines at French Toast earlier this week but unfortunately I was unable to attend.  As a pretty decent consolation prize I was sent a couple of bottles to try, and enjoy at home.

Who?  What?  Where?  You may ask………  Here is their story (www.oldenburgvineyards.com):

Oldenburg - View of the Vineyard

(Photo courtesy of Oldenburg Vineyards)

With extensive research into the winemaking potential of Oldenburg, Adrian Vanderspuy bought the farm (neighbouring land of his birthplace!) back to life in 2003. Analysis of the terroir provided insight that the farm had potential to produce wines of outstanding quality, thus the neglected vineyards were replanted. In 2004 Adrian employed viticulturist and winemaker, Simon Thompson, who was previously at Tokara.

The wines are made only with grapes from the estate where guiding principle is to let the grapes do the talking and create wines that are elegant, with the best of both Old and New world styles. Oldenburg Vineyards released its first commercial vintage in early 2010, with a Cabernet Franc 2008, Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 and Syrah 2008, and in January 2011, released their maiden white wine vintages – a Chenin Blanc 2010 and a Chardonnay 2010.  Other exciting varietals have been planted to allow flexibility and creativity with future blends.  These include Viognier, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Grenache and Mourvedre

First up my hubby and I tried the Chardonnay which, though it offered the upfront butterscotch tones of French oak barrel fermentation and ageing, it was elegantly balanced with citrus and peaches.  The wine was fresh and not weighed down by the oak at all. I have always been of the impression “Don’t add oak at all, or go all the way”.  However, the examples of lightly oaked Chardy’s that I have had the pleasure of tasting lately, that allow the fruit to speak for itself, are becoming more and more my stand out wines!  This beauty was no exception!

First release - Oldenburg Chardonnay 2010

Mistakenly I thought a smoked salmon pasta would be a fabulous pairing with this wine.  Unfortunately, it did not have the body to uphold the smoked salmon (a far milder, non-smoked fish would have been much better) and the creme fraiche wiped away the creamy mouthfeel and mid-palate of the wine leaving only a “metallic” after taste – food 1, wine 0.  Hastily we saved the rest to be enjoyed in its entirety the following evening and learnt from our mistakes!

Smoked Salmon pairing failure:(

Determined not to be outsmarted again we could not have chosen better for our second dinner “pairing” of Ostrich Bolognaise with the Cabernet Franc

Oldenburg Cabernet Franc paired with Ostrich bolognaise

Now, granted, Cabernet Franc is one of my ultimate varietals of the past few months with some incredible examples being made locally, but this was a top notch wine!!  Intense, spicey, integrated, balanced, just down-right delicious!  Offering ripe dark fruit, herbs, chocolate and coffee complexity with subtle acid and tannin structure – bliss in a bottle.

So, after tasting these wines I am even more sad to have missed the event this week but I will not miss an opportunity to enjoy Oldenburg Vineyards wines whenever I come across them again

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