Gabriëlskloof is a family-owned wine estate, established only in 2000, and located just off the N2 at Botrivier. The first vintage was made in 2009. Like so many vineyards, it was one I had heard of without knowing where it was or anything about its wines. Dave brought to the Vineyard Hotel the customary 4 wines for tasting: 3 from the Premium (entry) range and 1 from the Reserve range.
The Rosebud Rosé is, as for many vineyards, the biggest seller. This was a youthful 2017 vintage, vibrant medium to deep salmon in colour, with fruity flavours and not too crisp on the plate. It made for an easy drinking wine and thus no surprise at its popularity: all 8,000 bottles of the 2016 vintage sold in 6 months. Dave explained that the Viognier is being withdrawn – it is not easy to sell a wine that buyers are unfamiliar with – to blend to make more Rosé. Some 20,000 bottles will be made for the next vintage. The Premium (100%) Viognier was served rather too cold to taste at its best. The trademark honeysuckle and floral nose was therefore rather shy, as was the guava and tropical fruit flavours on the palate. I understand the reasons for its withdrawal. Nonetheless, it is a pity as Viognier is such a versatile wine for food pairing.
I preferred the 2 red wines. The Shiraz was my favourite. It was an inviting medium purple in colour with good balance between blackberry, mulberry and pepper spicy notes. These seamlessly followed though to a pleasant palate with moderate acidity and average finish. The Bordeaux blend, made with all the classic grapes less Merlot, was also very drinkable and will be more so in another 5 years when the tannins have softened. I liked how the fruity complexity on the nose gave way to more wooded flavours on the palate.
I enjoyed this mini tasting that showcased well some of the Gabriëlskloof range. These were decent wines and, without being from a big name region, offered good value for money too. I have yet to visit the Botrivier area – though I have much enjoyed wines from neighbouring Hemel-en-Aarde and Elgin valleys to the East and to the West – but shall make a point of doing so. The Gabriëlskloof wine estate is definitely one I will visit as I shall like to sample (and no doubt buy) more from the cellar.
20125 Viognier – R90
2017 Rosebud (55% Shiraz, 45% Viognier) – R75
2014 Shiraz – R90 FAVOURITE WINE
2013 The Blend (49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Cabernet Franc, 14 % Petit Verdot, 7% Malbec) – R90