There have been considerable changes at Piekenierskloof over the past two years. In 2017 the Van Zyls of Paleisheuwel’s Bergendal and Heidedal farms took over the winery’s majority shares and promptly appointed Jaco as winemaker. Together they set out to not only raise the profile of the numerous wines in their portfolio, but also to elevate the reputation and quality of the wealth of old vine vineyards on the two farms.
Brothers, Oubaas and Potgieter van Zyl, took turns to talk about the their old vines as we enjoyed the fruits of their labour. As tasting experiences go, it was such a privilege to be in the vineyard, sipping whilst looking at the incredibly thick, gnarled vines that had delivered these bottled beauties. We tasted the Bergendal Chenin Blanc 2018 (from vines planted in 1962); the Carel van Zyl Grenache Noir 2018 (from 1973 vines), and the Heidedal Cinsaut 2018 (from vines planted in 1976).
Winemaker Jaco talked us through his approach to wine making, which is to do as little as possible and let the fruit shine. “We try not to bugger it up in the cellar,” he says wryly. He clearly didn’t, because Jaco’s 2018 efforts got numerous nods of approval with influential Master of Wine, Tim Atkin, scoring the Bergendal Chenin 91, the Old Vine Cinsaut 92 and the Old Vine Grenache 93. Jaco believes this is just the start, with the best yet to come.
Then it was off to lunch and what a treat it was because Oubaas and Potgieter’s sister is none other than You magazine’s fabulous food editor, Carmen Niehaus, and she had developed a menu for us with these stellar wines in mind.