Taking the N1 north out of Cape Town is always a bit of a treat. Granted, the first few kilometres can be a challenge, with normally dense urban traffic raised to near chaos level by seemingly permanent road works. But then round about the 30km mark something magical happens – malls and suburbia make way for tranquil countryside with almost dizzying speed. In the distance the Du Toitskloof mountains beckon with crystal blue skies overhead and the marvellous Paarl wine region at its feet.
There are many fine producers in this premier South African wine appellation, but one of my favourites is in the Agter-Paarl. (Literally meaning ‘behind’ Paarl). Here, at the foot of the Paardeberg Mountain – named after the Cape zebra that once roamed the region – you’ll find Perdeberg Wines.
Now if you’ve ever cast an eye over the wine shelves of pretty much any South African supermarket, you’re probably already familiar with the Perdeberg Classic Range and its charming zebra-inspired bottle design. It’s one of my go-to everyday, easy-drinking wine choices – their Shiraz and Merlot especially putting in regular appearances at my winter dinner table.
But Perdeberg Wines is about so much more than good-value everyday wines. Some years ago their focus expanded to also include premier wines, and the accolades are rolling in. A recent invite to come visit allowed me to taste just how special their wines are and see what they’ve been up to.
On arrival we were greeted with a glass Perdeberg Méthode Cap Classique bubbly. 100% Chenin, it dances on the tongue with that typical biscuity finish I so love in a good bottle-fermented bubbly. Perdeberg are indeed masters of Chenin, producing numerous examples of this cultivar across all their ranges.
Tasting their top-tiered The Dry Land Collection Barrel Fermented 2015 Chenin (a winner in the 2016 Standard Bank Top 10 Chenin Challenge) was a wonderful privilege. So too was tasting Chenin straight out of the barrel in their impressive barrel cellar. (Which incidentally you can rent for functions.)