Blaauwklippen Brandy 10 year old Launch

Very exciting news for local potstill brandy lovers is the addition of another gem to the local micro produced brandy stables. I was lucky enough to visit the Blaauwklippen farm yesterday for a tour and tasting of the new addition to the Blaauwklippen Brandy range…

Blaauwklippen Brandy: A farm steeped in history

The Old Farm House at Blaauwklippen

Our visit started with a tour of the vineyards with the very knowledge and passionate Winemaker Rolf Zeitvogel. Rolf has been at Blaauwklippen for 8 years, and it seems, is as passionate and happy to be there as the day he started. This year marked Blaauwklippen Vineyard’s 330th year anniversary, and over that period of time it has changed naturally changed ownership a few times.

One such owner Rolf explains to us, was Cecil John Rhodes, who also went down in history as owning the farm for the shortest time possible! Rumour has it that he bough the farm in the morning, removed the old wood shutters from all the buildings, and then sold the farm again in the same afternoon! I guess when you “own” so much of a continent, buying a farm to get something you want is a small price to pay!

Blaauwklippen Brandy: Touring the work sheds

After the grounds tour we were led into the old cellars where dust and spiderwebs stand testament to the passing of time working it magic the wines standing in 4-5000 litre oak barrels. We were shown through to the potstills used to distill brandy on the farm, and what a wonder they were.

The old Potstill showing her battle scars!

Two very old (and a little sad looking) copper potstills were in place in one of the cellars, and right opposite them, in old oak casks, the special distillate lay aging at the mercy of the angels (and some keen brandy makers I think!) Plans are afoot to move these two old potstills up to the new distillery area, and when polished up to their former glory will look amazing next to the super modern hi-tech column stills already in the new distillery.

It seems brandy is not the only distillate being experimented with here at Blaauwklippen Vineyards. Rolf also makes a stunning concoction called Before and After, which is a blend of 8 year old brandy and matured noble late harvest wine. Bottled at 18%, it is an anywhere anytime drink, hence the name and really is warming with reminders of Christmas ad festive times…Also as we toured the distillery, the guys were busy distilling grappa from the late harvest skins that had already been pressed, and also had a fruity and intriguing pear distillate that they are working on.

Blaauwklippen Brandy: Food and wine too

After the tour of the grounds we sat down for some lunch with Rolf, and of course being the wine maker by trade, he introduced us to three of the farms gems paired with some exquisite food dishes. The first wine we sampled was a 2010 Viognier, followed by  the 2009 Blanc de Noir Zinfandel, and finally the 2009 Reserve Zinfandel (red). All were exceptional wines, and all paired with some truly great food.

And Finally, onto the brandy!

Oak barrels slowly aging our noble spirit

Just before the deserts were brought out we were poured a serving of 8 and 10 year old brandy, along with a sample of the Before and After aperitif. Everything about these brandies oozes quality, from the gift boxes to the thick square glass bottles to the labeling, it just looks the part.

And tastes it too. Both are excellent, and a true testament to the ability of local small scale brandy producers. At most I counted 24 barrels in the store room slowly aging the spirit. Whats even better is that both these brandies come from single cask reserves, so no blending takes place before bottling, an even more remarkable feat, done by only a handful of local producers.

Full tasting notes on the Blauuwklippen 8 year old are in the tasting room, and the 10 year old will be in there as soon as it launches, officially at the end of this month. They are both must haves in any connoisseurs collection and are sensibly priced at R260 for the 8 year old and R360 for the 10 year, if you consider the small scale craft involved in their making!

The Blaauwklippen 8 and 10 year Brandy

Watch out for it at the end of May, and the next time you are driving down the R44, take a spin into Blauuwklippen Vineyards and check it all out for your self.

Sunday Markets are running all winter, and the restaurant is definitely worth a visit, as is the wine tasting room.

Thanks very much to Rolf and Nicollete for the invite, it was a super afternoon with you.

More information:

Twitter: @blaauwklippen
Facebook: Blaauwklippen fan page

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