Val de Vie – Wine, Polo & Housing Estate & Sunday Market


Sunday was grey and rainy, so the pictures are not great, but Val de Vie really is a beautiful setting, I will have to post more pictures when we hit the market next time.
With Summer supposedly on the way the market opened up again yesterday and is held every second Sunday of the month.  They also have an awesome Pongraz and chocolate tasting you can do on market days – we left that for next time.

The market is great, its small enough to not be overwhelming with too much choice and competition, but the quality of the stalls is very impressive – the food stalls are amazing!!  If you have little people they also have a heap of activities to keep them busy.

Given the rain, there were surprisingly quite a few people who had made the effort to get out to the market.  We’ll definitely be back at the next one, hopefully outside on the lawn with a Polo game in the background… as you do.

The wine tasting is at the restaurant overlooking the Polo fields.  The setting is pretty spectacular in the Drakenstein Valley at the foot of the mountains over looking beautifully groomed Polo fields.  There were no matches or horses out the day we popped in.  The restaurant and bar area are very stylishly decorated and you can sit anywhere to do a wine tasting (well we did anyway).

It also must be said, since enjoying different tasting glasses at different farms, the small tasting glasses that you often find (and today at Val de Vie), really don’t do much justice to the wines.  They don’t open up the aromas and flavours and sometimes give you a completely different impression on the wine.

I think Val de Vie is better known as a Housing Estate than a wine farm.  We actually did not see any vineyards, come to think of it.  But their wines are well worth a try, most of them quite easy drinking.  Even the TRH commented saying, “none of the reds are heavy or tanniny they are all quite easy drinking”.  They are not too badly priced either.

A few wine notes below…

With a slight bit of Turkish delight on the nose, this Rose is more of an off-dry Rose, not too sweet, not too dry.  It is quite refreshing, but a little sour with a more grapefruit flavour.  It has a slight tongue cluck on the finish, but if you enjoy your more tart, grapefruit flavours then this is a great summer wine.

As per the TRH, because the vineyard area on the Estate is quite small, the Chenin Blanc grapes are actually brought in from Hermanus where there is more of a sea-breeze and “minerals in the ground” influenceIt is quite crisp, but also quite tart and slightly vinegary, not particularly smooth.  We gave it a 5 out 10.  

Again these grapes are sourced from elsewhere.  The wine maker worked together with Groote Post and used grapes from the Darling area.  Although the Chenin notes mention guava, we actually thought this Sav B had very strong guava aromas and flavours.  The aromas on the nose are lovely and fresh.  I could definitely taste the acidity mentioned in the notes, with a slightly sour finish.  It is a good Sav B.

Val de Vie GVC 2008 (50% Grenache Blanc, 30% Viognier, 20% Clariette Blanche)

This is a white blend (I have never heard of the Clariette).  According to our TRH, these are all Rhone, France varietals which suit the climate of the Franshhoek Valley very well.  This is the only wooded white wine of Val de Vie and you can definitely pick that up on the aromas.  The smells are not unlike a Chardonnay actually with buttery oak aromas and a little bit of an earth, fynbos hint as well.  Having said that, the flavours are much lighter than the aromas and leave a very slight Chardonnay sort of finish, but very smooth, different and enjoyable.  The tasting notes mention citrus zest and wildflowers which I can definitely agree with.  You can also taste the vanilla impact of the Viognier together with the fruity flavours and slight oak.  It may sound strange, but the actual liquid of the wine was light and yet the air that fills your mouth on the after taste is very full and oaky.  This was definitely our favourite Val de Vie wine.  4* John Platter.

VAL DE VIE RYK NEETHLING 2010 (56% Shiraz, 20% Mourvedre, 13% Carignan, 7% Grenache, 4% Cinsaut)
Apparently Ryk was actually involved in the production of this wine, it was not merely named after him.  This wine has a lot of flavours going on, but they don’t linger very long.  You can definitely taste the Shiraz focus in this blend, with the usual peppery smells dominating the flavours.  It is quite smokey with not a lot of berry or fruit flavours, but it is also quite easy drinking, almost like a slightly watered down Shiraz sort of flavour.  The actual wine is quite dry, but somehow the aftertaste is not.  We both agreed that this wine is definitely better than a 2nd tier or “Best Value” wine, but not as good as some of our favourite blends.

This wine is darker and more purple in colour being 100% Shiraz.  It has the distinctive pepper flavours and aromas combined with the dark fruits.  It is a little tart on the tongue, but otherwise a good Shiraz.  It could smooth out a bit, but those harsher flavours could be due to the small glasses.  A very enjoyable Shiraz.  4* John Platter.

See at the market – dates per the website 22 Sept 2013, 13 Oct 2013, 26 Oct 2013, 10 Nov 2013 etc.

R301, Jan Van Riebeck Drive, Paarl
Tel: +27 21 863 6100
33°48’15” S 18°58’04” E 


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