As I sit here on Sunday morning looking out of the window at the wind howling past and the rain pouring down, my mind drifts back to the wonderful evening that we had last week in the sunny, hot Swartland town, Riebeek Kasteel.
Heather and I received an invite from M.C. Stander, the winemaker at Antebellum wines in Riebeek Kasteel. He had just finished bottling some wine for a couple of gentlemen from the village. Would we like to pop out and do a tasting? So, on Friday we travelled out to Antebellum wines to meet with Addy and Joop, this is their story.
Many years ago and far from the fairest Cape two families lived as neighbours in the village of Zoetermeer in Holland. As it happens in small villages, close bonds and friendships between adults and children alike were formed. The Goedhart and Kentgens families spent a lot of time together, not only at home but on frequent holidays as well.
After the children had finished their education and flown the coup the parents started their retirement and moved to various parts of the world. The Goedhart’s settled in South Africa and the Kentgens in Ireland.
Addy Goedhart remained in Holland, eventually heading up his own business in visual arts. Joop Kentgens on the other hand, after graduating from Hotel School in Ireland gained a little experience in England and then joined Sol Kerzner’s Southern Sun Hotels in South Africa. He worked in various hotels in Southern Africa and Mauritius as food & beverage manager, general manager and regional manager. After 35 years of service he eventually retired to the Natal Midlands.
Addy and Joop kept in touch over the years with the occasional visits from Addy and his family to South Africa. In 2000 Addy decided to move to South Africa permanently. It was then that he purchased a small vineyard of trellised Colombar vines in Riebeek Kasteel in the Western Cape. He built two houses on the property and named it ” Klein Goedhart Estate”
Colombar produces a delightfully dry, fruity white wine and is also being used to distill Cognac in France and Brandy in South Africa.
After Joop retired he and Jenny, his wife, decided to pay Addy a visit and found out that the second house on the estate was on the market. They thus bought the second house and so, after fifty years the Goedhart and Kentgens families once again became neighbours.
The two retirees decided that rather than just sitting back and admiring the vineyard, they would come out of their retirement and pull the vineyard out of its retirement as well.
They received a lot of friendly and useful advice and assistance from local experts in and around Riebeek Kasteel. They approached Marthinus C. Stander, better known as M.C. the 29-year-old head winemaker/viticulturist at Antebellum and ask him to produce some wine for them.
M.C. qualified in November 2009 with a bachelor of Agriculture in Viticulture & Oenology at the university of Stellenbosch (South Africa) and since then he worked at various estates to gain experience in the art of winemaking and vineyard management until he joined Antebellum in January 2015.
M.C. explains, the vineyards went through kind of a sabbatical in 2015 with no pruning, suckering or any viticultural work being done on the vineyards. We picked approximately 880kg grapes at around 23 balling, and pressed to tank. Fermentation was completed half way in tank where the wine was then taken to barrel to finish fermentation naturally. With bottling, the wine was racked off the primary lees and bottled completely unfiltered. Racking was done on full moon, making use of the earth gravity forces being at it’s strongest, to ensure a clean racking. This can be seen on the great clarity of the wine. This wine to me is truly as natural as it gets with the way the wine and vineyards were handled from vine to bottle. Thus, the result, two delicious wines from their first two casks of barrel fermented Colombar and a third cask, which is a blend of barrel, fermented Swartland Chenin Blanc (65%) and Colombar (35%).