Horsing around in Robertson

Zandvliet Wine Estate and thoroughbred farm is a must visit when in town

This is no ordinary farm. Aside from the nonchalantly grazing thoroughbreds, all sleek and shiny, this rambling property is simply beautiful. Oh, and they make delicious wine.

When I first meet Dan de Wet, he’s wearing a faded orange J&B Met cap—a testament to his involvement with professional horse-racing and breeding. This is after all the home of popular pony, Pocket Power.

Lunch today is right next to a barn, which is spilling golden bales of hay. A long wooden table is set up under an acacia tree. Dan is seated at the head. He’s the perfect host, quick to tell a joke, his blue eyes twinkle mischievously under that faded hat.

Not for long. His wife, noticing it, swiftly removes it from his head and replaces it with Panama hat. The first wine we try is the estate’s sauvignon blanc, a tropical example, it doesn’t have that green aggressive acidity so common in new world offerings.

Next we try the chardonnay. “It’s lightly wooded chardonnay,” says winemaker Etienne Malan. “It has a lemony zesty-ness, the wood is used only for a bit of travel on the palate.”

“I had a glass of wine the other night,” chimes in Dan, “that felt as if I was swimming through the wood. Our wine is more old world in style." Their Zandvliet Kalkveld Estate Shiraz is stuff of legends. All ripe red fruit and heady violet perfume.

Lunch is served, whole Norwegian salmon done on the braai, saddle of beef and seared springbok (from the farm). We eat in a converted barn room, there’s a faded Spanish mural covering the wall, and as Dan tells jokes and makes sure our plates are full, we could be a thousand miles away from anything else.

The afternoon winds down, and I’m genuinely sorry to leave. The de Wets are such warm, convivial hosts.

Don’t forget to visit this special farm on The Wacky Wine Weekend. Pre-book for the Zandvliet experience: braaied Norwegian salmon on the Friday, with plenty of wine, followed by Argentinean saddle of beef on the Saturday.

By Malu Lambert

Zandvliet Wine Estate is found in the scenic Robertson Valley, not far from Ashton, off the R60. | + 27 (0) 23 615 1146

Tasting Room opening hours: Monday - Friday: 09h00 - 17h00; Saturday: 10h00 - 14h00

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