A decade ago ‘The Swartland’, as it is known in South Africa, was a relatively indistinct piece in the jigsaw of the Western Cape’s Coastal Region.
Even the local winemaker’s winemaker Eben Sadie says it was basically a truck-stop in the wheatbelt. In the last 10 years a growing band of independently-minded winemakers with very little to lose have championed what is possible from this region’s old bush vines, particular soils and established cultivars.
Today, not having a ‘Wine of Origin Swartland’ on your books/shelves/mind would be deemed an oversight at least. Swartland is now, quite rightly, an established and critical part of any contemporary South African list or, as the young people say, it’s a ‘thing’. As much as Swartland has become this ‘thing’, there are very few specific estates that belong solely to the region, most of the output being from winemakers working loosely with growers and collaborating with, for instance, surely the world’s only rockstar viticulturalist Rosa Kruger to identify, champion and then hopefully save some of the older plantings.
Then there is Kloovenburg.
Having been registered on 26th September 1704, some 313 years ago, Kloovenburg is the oldest registered property in the Swartland, but only by half an hour. The farm is based on the edge of Kasteelberg, the mountainous granite fin slicing through the wheatbelt that overshadows the small town of Riebeek-Kasteel. Specifically, Kloovenburg is in the ward of Riebeekberg and has been growing for many decades Shiraz, Chardonnay and other classic local cultivars. Recently this established, ancient farm has very much been part of the independent Swartland movement in terms of recognising the local shale and granite soils and increasingly successful plantings of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Noir and Carignan as well as their more traditional roster of grapes.
Since 2014 the winemaker here has been the hugely-talented Jolandie Fouche whose energy and passion for this evolving region is evident in her amazing Shiraz, Grenache, and Chardonnay. Pieter du Toit, the third-generation family owner of the farm has long championed the region and his family is reflected in the Eight Feet Red and White blends, the feet being the four pairs found on his sons.
Boutinot has been working in Swartland for over 20 years and more recently has promoted the region with site-specific wines. Now we bring you one of the founding farms of the region, the oldest registered property in Swartland yet one that is delivering some of the region’s most contemporary wines.
Five to fall in love with….
Kloovenburg Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, WO Swartland 2015
Layers of apricot and citrus enhanced by elegant use of oak.
Kloovenburg Eight Feet Red, WO Swartland 2014
Shiraz, Carignan, Grenache and Mourvedre. Pure, focused, lifted concoction of delightfully thought-through components for a sum more subtle than its parts might presume.
Kloovenburg Eight Feet White, WO Swartland 2016
Chenin Blanc, Grenache Blanc, Rousanne and Verdelho. Further proof that South Africa’s white blends are among the most compelling contemporary wines in the New World. Refined, pithy and proper.
Kloovenburg Grenache Noir, WO Swartland 2016
Kloovenburg’s Malmesbury schists and granite are profoundly expressed in this tight, mineral and yet headily-perfumed beauty.
Kloovenburg Shiraz, WO Swartland 2015
The farm’s core wine and that on which its reputation, if not part of Swartland’s longer term reputation, has been built. Fine, textured, bright and beautifully measured stuff.