“ Country: South Africa / World Region: Africa „
The Seidelberg Winery in Paarl, near Stellenbosch has a long history. As a group we were given a tour of the winery to learn how it was made, and the lady who worked here told us that this was originally the site of De Leuwen Jagt (The Lion's Hunt) vineyards from 1692. They still use the label but the name changed to Seidelberg in 1997 when taken over by some German owners. This year (2011) it has been taken over by Fairview, one of the other main wineries in Paarl.
Sadly when we visited it was off-season so no wine was actually being produced. We were talked through the process and it was very interesting. There are many large vats that crush the grapes, but certain special wines are still prepared by stomping on them in a bucket (actually a large dish, with the staff members attached by a harness so they didn't fall in). We also saw the cellars and it was explained the importance of certain types of wood for storing wines. I am not sure if there is a charge for the tour or tastings or if it was included as part of my trip.
Unlike in other wineries, we didn't always get to choose which wines we tasted, at Seidelberg we were brought a selection of red and whites by the hostess. As the weather was nice, we sat outside with views of Table Mountain in the distance, but you can sit in the cellar inside. I believe they do provide a light menu if you wished to have something to eat.
Prices quoted are in South African Rand and at the time of visiting one there were R11.50 to one British pound and R7.5 to the US dollar.
As I don't particularly like red and someone else didn't like white we were able to try six wines of our preferred colour (as selected by our hostess) who explained a little bit about each wine. The first wine I tried was a Six Hats Sauvignon Blanc which is a Fair Trade wine which was of the bargainous price of R90 for 6 bottles. I found it very light and smooth. Next I tried a Seidelberg 2010 Chardonnay (R68 per bottle). I'm not a huge Chardonnay fan, and I found this quite typical. It was fairly oaky and not a favourite. Next I tried a De Leuwen Jagt Rosé (R90 for 6 bottles) which was nice; it was sweet, but not overly so and quite drinkable. My fourth tasting was a Six Hats Viognier (R90 for six bottles) which was described in the sheet they gave us as "bold...with peach and apricot flavours". I expected it to be sweeter than it was, but it was a pleasant, fairly dry wine. The fifth wine was a De Leuwen Jagt Nuance which was a blended wine of white Muscadel and Cape Riesling. I find blended wines a bit hit and miss and assumed this would be too sweet for me going on the grapes used. I was pleasantly surprised - it was sweeter than I usually drink but not overly so, with a little spiciness and I ended up purchasing a bottle for R37.50. Next we tried a Brut chardonnay 2007 which was a sparking wine (much like prosecco). Having just said I wasn't a huge fan of chardonnay I have to now retract that statement - this sparking chardonnay was rather nice. Again I purchased a bottle for R75. As a bonus I also tried De Leuwen Jagt Muscadel (R180 for six bottles), which is a dessert wine. Apparently it is also popular with red wine drinkers as it is fortified with brandy. I wasn't a fan myself, but many of our group was.
If you are in Paarl then popping along here for some wine tasting may be an option. I believe tours are only available if you are a group and by prior arrangement, and as I mentioned above, there may be a small fee. The grounds are pleasant in fine weather and there is an attractive, but dark, mock-cellar for inside tastings. Although I purchased from here, I would like to have chosen which wines I tasted rather than been brought a selection - there seemed to be about 25 on the list across the red, white and rosé varieties.
As many of you will know my main holiday of this year was to Cape Town back in May and slowl I have been adding reviews to some ofthe sights and treasures located in Cape Town and felt compelled to write about my excellent experience at Seidelberg Wine Estate.
Seidelberg Wine Estate was established in 1692 and produces some of the finest wine in South Africa and for my boyfriends birthday we came to the conclusion that this was a good way of getting a little tipsy in the afternoon without feeling to embarrassed so proceded to our concierge to prebook the schedule tour for us on the sunday morning.....yes morning drinking how would I cope????
We booked our tour through Springbok atlas and cos us approximately GBP24.00 this included the pick up and drop off from our hotel and transfers to the 3 wine estates that we visited but out of the 3 I felt that Seidelberg was by far the best tour and by far the best tasting wine.
As I said before Seidelberg was established in 1692 and produces three branded wines the Seidelberg range, De Leuwen Jagt and the Roland Reserve.
De Leuwen Jagt is dutch for the Lions Head and was established by Simon Van Der Stal and has since become a well established Wine Estate welcoming visitors from all over the World.
We were guided around the Wine Estate by a member of staff who explained the wine making process in detail they use a number of white grape varieties which include Chardonnay, Suvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and Viognier and the red grape varieties include Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Pinotage, Malbec and Mouverde and they plant 80% red and 20% white.
The process is combined with modern technology and traditional wine making traditions and begins with the harvest by hand into baskets where they are then sorted to remove any bunches that are not up to Sedielbergs standards once this process is complete they are then taken to have the stalks removed before being weighed and crushed.
The winemaking team then produce high quality wines using the traditional wine making process adding specific yeast to bring out the best flavour in the wine.
Altogether it was very interesting to discover the wine making process although by this point I was dying to get a taste of it!
The Wine Tasting
After the tour of the wine cellars we were then taken into the tasting room where we were guided to a table which was st out with a wine glass and crackers along with some water, I had been told by my boyfriend that as this was a fromal wine tasting event we were expected to spit out the wine and not swallow, me being a bit gullible believed him but decided to watch the other people in our tour first and guess what everyone swallowed!
We were given 6 wines to sample and they were all delicious and with two more wine tastings to attend I was sure I would be more than tipsy!!
The crackers were there to take away the flavour and you were also given an order form to order wines and get them delivered to your door when you arrived home, and of course you could also purchase some bottles at the wine estate to take with you.
Where is Seidelberg Wine Estate?
It is located just outside Paarl high on the western slopes of Paarl Mountain and offers the most amazing views of the Winelands and Table Mountain which can be seen for miles.
If you decide to drive yourself take the N1 and continue until you see Exit 47 for Stellenbosch do not take this turning but take the next turning on the left onto Agter Paarl Road and continue up this roa and then take the second right clearly indicated as Seidleberg Wine Estate.
What are the wines?
There is a big long list of wines and I only tasted 6 of the wines but there was not one among those that I tasted that I disliked and I do not even like red wine!
Seidelberg Cabernet Sauvignon - RIch red with smoky tobacco and coffee characters delicious
Seidelberg Merlot - Deep purple with red berry fruit flavours
Seidelberg Pinotage - Clear bright red medium bodied with banana tobacco and red current flavours again another delicious wine.
Seidelberg Shiraz - Deep black purple with cloves, spices and a leather and blackcurrant flavour.
Seidelberg Chenin Blanc - Made from 30 year old vines another of my favourites and again very hard to get hold of now, rich and full of flavour with guava and peach yummy!
Seidelberg Viognier - With a flavour of citrus fruits and dried pears and this was my favourite of them all.
There are a great number of wines to choose from and if only I could find a supplier in the UK I would be really pleased!
Please check www.seidelberg.co.za for a full list of wines and to contact directly for an order!
At Seidelberg there was a fantastic restaurant which unfortunately we did not get the opportunity to visit as we were there really early and they were not yet open, as they opened at 11am and closed at 5pm offering fantastic light lunches.
Next to the restaurant was the Red Hot Glass Factory which was fairly small but was amazing to watch as the glass began to create amazing designs and shapes and there were plenty of items to view in the factory but they were a bit pricey but amazing pieces of glass and looking back wish I had invested in a piece as a reminder of this visit.
There is not much more to see at the wine estate and this visit would take you to a maximum of 2 hours if you were not planning on having lunch there but if you were you could take in the amazing views of Paarl and surrounding areas it was breathtaking and if I ever go back to Cape Town I am sure that I will visit Seidelberg once more and stock up on plenty of their wines.
The wines are very cheap to buy in South Africa and were all priced under GBP10.00 which to me is top banana for a fantastic bottle of wine and this is one of the best quality ever to of passed my lips.
One point I would mention is this is not really suitable for children as there are no facilities to keep them occupied and all the glass on display would have your nerves in shatters should you have a young child with you, it is however ideal for couples and you get to meet up with new people on a scheduled tour similar to the one we took with Springbok atlas.
Suid Agter Paarl Road / Suider Paarl / PO.Box 505 / Suider Paarl 7624 / South Africa / Tel: +27 (0)21 863 52 00 / Fax: +27 (0) 21 863 37 97.