A Visit to Meerendal

I must admit that I always thought that the Durbanville wine route ended on the other side of the hill, the Durbanville Hills Winery side. But today that all changed. We were invited to do a tasting at the Meerendal Wine Estate (on the other side of the hill) what a treat!

The Estate has a history of wine making going back over 300 years. Some of their vineyards were planted over 60 years ago.

         

Our host, Jacqueline Swanepoel, met us in the tasting room. She gave us a brief history about the estate, the people and its wines and then she took us through a memorable tasting.

Heather tasted two wines, the Sauvignon Blanc and the Pinotage Rose.

Both of these wines are classic, easy drinking summers day wines. Fresh crisp and when served cold they are at their best. Both wines are from the 2017 vintage. Even though they are quite young they are both showing well.

         

The Sauvignon Blanc has hints of green pepper and guavas on the nose. These flavours are joined on the palate by gooseberries. It has a smooth mouth feel. The acidity is nice and crisp and it has a refreshing aftertaste. The fruit comes from 3 blocks, planted in 1994, 2001 and 2007.
The Pinotage Rose is light salmon in colour. There is skin contact for 2 to 4 hours. The nose has hints of strawberries, Turkish delight and candy floss. These flavours pop through on the mouth and are joined by a good acidity. There is a nice dry finish. I think that the wine would go well with a light pasta or a risotto dish.

Hannah and myself tasted the six reds. We both felt that this is where the estate blossoms.

         

Heritage Block Single Vineyard Pinotage 2015:
Dark red with hints of purple, lots of black fruits, prunes, plums and cherries. Fruitcake comes to mind. An elegant wine with a medium balance, gentle tannins and a long dry finish. If cellared correctly this wine should last for a good number of years. The first vintage was 2005 and I believe it is drinking very well.
Estate Pinotage 2015:
Ruby red in colour. Dark fruits with hints of chocolate and cloves on the nose. Lovely berry flavours on the mouth, a good tannin structure and a medium balanced dry finish.

         

Estate Merlot 2015:
Dark red in colour. Concentrated flavours of cherries, plums and chocolate. Nice rich tannins. The fruit and oak are well balanced together and a delightful dry finish.
Estate Shiraz 2015:
Light red in colour. Fruit from two blocks, picked, fermented and barreled separately. Red berries on the nose. Pepper and spices on the mouth, but not as much as in other Shiraz’s that I have tasted. The more the wine was kept in my mouth the more the fruity flavours came through. Quite a light and fresh wine. A nice long full mouth finish.

        

Heritage Reserve 2012:
Dark red in colour, 24 months in barrel, nose and palate shows flavours of strawberry jam, mulberries and chocolate. Quite a complex wine. Still needs a bit of time to balance. Quite a powerful finish.
Bigfeet Pressed for Elephants 2015:
A wine with a wonderful story. The feet of elephants pressed the first vintage. Each vintage is made from different varieties. The wine is easy drinking with hints of strawberries and cherries, quite jammy. It was served chilled. R1 from the sale of each bottle is donated to the “elephants alive “ foundation.

Summing up the visit:
There are a couple of wonderful memories that we took away from our visit. The wines are quite special, well made with lots of passion, care and love. Well done to winemaker and cellar master, Liza Goodwin and her team. The reds are not sold off to early which makes them very drinkable. They have a wonderful art gallery in the tasting room. This lends to a bright colorful room.

And lastly the staff are so nice and friendly. I must single out Jacqueline, her title is “Wine and Art Assistant” but we all felt that she should be known as the “Wine Ambassador” She has only been there for about a year or so, but her passion and knowledge oozes that of a seasoned operator. I can comfortably suggest that if you haven’t been to the estate for a tasting yet, you are missing out.

       

Footnote:
There is a quaint little chapel, which is great for weddings, an elegant hotel if you are looking for some accommodation, two well-priced restaurants and the estate has some challenging mountain bike tracks. A perfect venue to explore.

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