Portfolio-wide excellence reveals true champion status
Like DNA, excellence is an inseparable part of Eikendal Vineyards near Stellenbosch; its very essence, the purity expressed in the blend of sublime terroir, choice fruit and meticulous skill. This is the foundation that has again seen to a steam of awards across all varieties in its wine portfolio.
Every variety across the Eikendal range with vintages 2013 to 2015 was decorated in independent, authoritative competitions and assessments this year. In the past two months alone, awards have been given to no less than seven of its wines.
Most recently, it was the Eikendal Chardonnay that was among the champions singled out in the Prescient Report on South African Chardonnay. Having been selected among only 60 wines worthy of assessment, the Eikendal Chardonnay 2015 was then placed in the top 13 wines.
This followed the analysis of South African wine by respected UK Master of Wine Tim Atkins who rated seven of Eikendal’s wines in the highest bracket of 90-100 points. This included the estate’s flagship Bordeaux-style red blend, Classique 2014 which was allocated a whopping 95 9out of 100. This wine, which is yet to be released, also clinched a Veritas Gold medal and 91 points at the 2016 RisCura Red Hot Wine Awards and is the perfect example of the years of hard work, dedication and obsession imprinted on Eikendal wines.
Cellarmaster Nico Grobler ascribes the evolution of Eikendal’s success to have begun in the vineyard. “The magic has always been in the terroir,” he says. “Viticulture and winemaking give the wines their focus.”
“We’ve always known Eikendal’s capability for something special. What excites me is that we are still not at the peak; great things lie ahead for Eikendal.”
He describes Eikendal as a combination of modern viticulture with old world winemaking.
“The focus is in the vineyard is to create maximum fruit and structure in the grape berry with as much concentration as possible – in the cellar it’s all about preserving those flavour we worked so hard for and ensuring we maintain freshness, elegance and finesse, with that focus we have that modern yet old world touch which appeals to palates worldwide. It also shows in our achievements in the sense that is worldwide and not just focused in one place.
Eikendal’s vineyards are situated at around 155m above sea-level, in the foothills of the Helderberg Mountain; the oldest is approximately 20 years old. Add to this the climatic sweet spot in which Eikendal finds itself and the result is endless potential.
“We lie in a very specific zone; it’s the narrowest of cusps between cool and warm climates,” says Grobler.
“This advantage gives our vineyards enough light-intensity to ripen the grape berry optimally; cooled air from nearby False Bay, which allows for prolonged ripening; and, the benefits associated with great variation in day and night temperatures.”
Then, there’s the soil composition. The vineyards thrive in Eikendal’s decomposed granite soils, erosion-resistant sedimentary rock, commonly known as “koffie klip” and a clay layer 1.2 m below the surface that provides excellent drainage. “The vine roots seek out this deep water, making them very tough and gutsy,” says Grobler.
“We can push them to the limits because our vines are permanently in survival mode. It’s thanks to the climate and soils that our wines are known for their great concentration and distinct character.”
The most recent awards by wine are:
• Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (Tim Atkin 93);
• Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 (Veritas Gold in 2015 and 2016, Six Nations Gold, National Wine Challenge Double Gold) – an estate classic, the wine is a special vintage that produced very tightly structured wines;
• Charisma 2014 (Tim Atkin 94) – a blend of Shiraz, Petit Verdot and Sangiovese with intense fruit on the nose that follows through on the palate;
• Charisma 2013 (Top 3 Shiraz Blends, Laurium Capital Signature Red Blend Report 91, National Wine Challenge Double Gold, Six Nations Double Gold and 2nd overall in class);
• Classique 2013 (National Wine Challenge Double Gold);
• Classique 2014 (Tim Atkin 95, Veritas Gold, RisCura Red Hot Awards 91) – a flagship wine and perfect example of the years of hard work, dedication and obsession imprinted on Eikendal wines;
• Merlot 2013 (National Wine Challenge Double Gold);
• Merlot 2014 (Tim Atkin 93, Six Nations Gold) – a wine with aromas of violets, plums, blackberries, cherries and peppery spice; and, a full, round and soft palate;
• Pinotage 2015 (Tim Atkin 93) – a perfumed wine with notes of pomegranate and fresh strawberry on the nose; and, a tight mineral core with good length;
• Pinotage 2014 (Top 100 Wines Double Platinum);
• Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (Tim Atkin 90, FNB Sauvignon Blanc SA Top 20) – great elegance and balance are hallmarks of this wine, notable for its aromas of tropical fruit, melon, Cape gooseberry, guava and a green grass;
• Chardonnay 2014 (Tim Atkin 92);
• Chardonnay 2015 (Prescient Chardonnay Report 93) – a wine packed with freshness and minerality, showing crisp, ripe pears, honeysuckle, orange peel, apples and honey on the nose. The palate is linear, with a creamy, fruity finish of great length; and,
• Janina 2015 (Higgo Jacobs Top 6 Unwooded Chardonnay Report) – a wine with characteristics of citrus, pineapple and peach, with lovely crisp green apple.
Eikendal is situated on the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, in an area known in the wine industry as the Golden Triangle for the abundance of South African icon wines it has produced.
Its popular Pizza & Wine Pairings, which feature a trio of mini, lip-smacking pizzas, each masterfully paired with a matching estate wine, are back in full swing (R40 per person, on offer from Tuesdays to Sundays).
The little ones can settle down for a Pizza Cookie Decoration & Tasting which comes with two pizza cookies, a gingerbread man, yummy decoration goodies and a glass of milk. R30 per child, 7 days a week
Eikendal is home to the Cucina di Giovanni restaurant, offers tractor rides, fly fishing, accommodation at its lodge and a vineyard walk.
Eikendal wines are available from the farm and leading wine retailers countrywide.
For more information or wine orders contact Eikendal on 021 855 1422 or [email protected]. Engage with Eikendal Vineyards on Facebook and Twitter (@Eikendal_Winery).