South Africa, Riebeek Kasteel; KLOOVENBURG WINE & OLIVE ESTATE in the beautiful Riebeek wine valley enters a new phase in its long and distinguished history with several bold new developments underway, now with a recently appointed winemaker beside owner Pieter du Toit at the helm. Jolandie Fouché joined Kloovenburg in November last year. Her arrival coincides with the launch of a new premium wine range and new plantings on the farm.
“Jolandie grew up in the Swartland,” says Du Toit, Kloovenburg’s cellarmaster and viticulturist. ”This gives her a real understanding of the culture and climate we seek to reflect in our wines.”
A graduate of the Elsenburg Institute for Agricultural Training, Fouché completed her B.Agric Cellar Management degree and diploma in cellar technology. She gained international experience working at vineyards in South Australia and California, as well as at wine farms in Stellenbosch and Tulbagh as assistant winemaker before taking up the winemaker position at the Riebeek-Kasteel estate.
Fouché is responsible for the production of Kloovenburg’s wine range; to her, the appeal of Kloovenburg lies in the history of the farm, its people and the area’s unique terroir. “I also like the direction Kloovenburg has embarked on in terms of the new cultivars planted and new wine styles being made,” she says. “We believe the wine is made in the vineyard, which is why we focus on terroir expression in each wine, with minimal intervention in the cellar to produce wines that are complex.”
For the past 300 years generations of farmers on Kloovenburg land have harnessed the rich agricultural potential of the Swartland’s soil. Kloovenburg stands proud as a top-end wine producer and olive grower of international acclaim.
Kloovenburg stretches along the lower contours of Kasteel (Castle) Mountain, offering a diverse collection of soils and altitudes and where south-easterly facing slopes have proven to be ideal for the Shiraz cultivar.
The soil is mainly Malmesbury schist, with strong loamy soil on the higher ground. The sandier loam lower down the slopes are supplemented by the area's rich Hutton soil. This varied selection of soils lends itself to planting proportions of 60% red and 40% white, comprising Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Colombar, Pinot Noir, Mourvedre, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc.
Of the farm's 300 hectares, 110 are under wine grapes, 45 under table grapes and 30 under olives. A total 30% of the best grapes are reserved for making Kloovenburg's own wines.
Kloovenburg was planted with grapes as early as the mid-18th century, but it had to wait for the two generations of Du Toits to transform these into significant wines. In 1998 Pieter produced his first Shiraz and its success encouraged him to renovate Kloovenburg's cellar, with the purpose of establishing a new name in the South African wine industry: Kloovenburg, the “place in the ravine”.
The old wine cellar was restored in 2000 while the Kloovenburg wine tasting room has since been upgraded too, reflecting the timeless elegance of the wines and their heritage. In 2011, bush vine red cultivars of Shiraz, Grenache, Carignan and Mouverdre were planted.
Kloovenburg’s wine portfolio is currently also undergoing some change and comprise the Kloovenburg range and Eight Feet premium selection.
The current Kloovenburg range includes the Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Unwooded Chardonnay 2014, Naturally Fermented Chardonnay 2013, Barrel Fermented Chardonnay 2014, White from Red Shiraz Sparkling, Merlot 2013, Shiraz 2013, Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, Eight Feet 2011 (comprising two cultivars) and a port-style Cape Vintage Shiraz.
The Kloovenburg range will in future only comprise a Sauvignon Blanc, Unwooded Chardonnay, White from Red Shiraz Sparkling, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The soon-to-be launched Eight Feet premium range will include:
- Eight Feet Red Blend, that will be made of four Southern Rhone varietals and this year comprises bush vine Shiraz, Grenache, Mourvedre and Carignan
- Eight Feet White Blend, to be released later this year as a blend of Chenin Blanc and Grenache Blanc. Future incarnations may also feature Roussanne and Verdelho; all of which will be planted as bush vines on a North-easterly facing slope and will be shepherded through the cellar in the most natural way possible;
- Eight Feet Chardonnay; and,
- Eight Feet Syrah
The Eight Feet name is derived from a family occasion as it originally involved every member, including his four sons, says Pieter du Toit. “My boys were always playing around the cellars and in the vineyards and loved to follow me around and watch me work. So in 2003, I thought it would be a nice thing to get them involved – a good opportunity for some father-son bonding – so I let them pick some grapes, stomp them themselves in a couple of barrels and we made some wine! My wife suggested calling it ‘Eight Feet’ to remind us all of that happy family time we had together.”
Kloovenburg is open for wine and olive tastings, cellar tours and sales every Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 16h30 as well as on Saturdays from 09h00 to 14h00. The new Kloovenburg Pastorie Tasting Centre is open on Sundays from 11h00 – 14h00. For further information or group bookings contact Kloovenburg on (022) 448 1635; email firstname.lastname@example.org