On my way to the Karoo last month I passed through the Tradouw Valley in the Klein Karoo, near Barrydale. On impulse I called to Joubert-Tradouw wine farm, as I needed a break and some lunch.
After parking I noticed that there was great activity around the back of the cellars and it transpired that they were harvesting the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes that day. This was thrilling stuff. A bit like carrying your souffle from the oven to the table.You move swiftly but gently and pray that it won’t collapse.
What stood out was the speed at which the grapes arrived in the yard and were put immediately into the harvesting process (destemming, pressing, pumping the juice into the holding tanks). I’d say 4 minutes elapsed from the arrival of the grapes to their processing. I suppose you are dealing with a fresh perishable product and you need to move fast. But for a city girl like myself It was all a bit of an eye opener.
The team of workers moved quickly and precisely, they seemed to really know their stuff. Chris Hanekom oversaw the process with a twinkle in his eye, as he puffed on his pipe. He’s a working blacksmith, and he made all the door bolts, hinges and generally any ironwork that was needed on the Tradouw farm. He’s got a blacksmiths hands, that’s for sure. Big spades of things. I could just imagine him hammering away in a
forge, sparks flying.
Meyer Joubert, the winemaker and owner explained the reason for the late harvest. His farm is up high, at an altitude of 1,500 feet, the air is dry and it gets very cool during the growing season. In Summer it drops regularly under 10 degrees at night. This prolongs the growing season and the development of sugar in the grapes.
They make two ranges of wines here – The Flagship Range of Chardonnay, a Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon and a Syrah. These are very good wines and score very well in all the reviews. In fact, Neil Pendock rates Joubert Tradouw as one of his top 10 wineries in South Africa.
On the day I was there, and as I was going away for a few days holidays, I decided to try out his Unplugged range.
This is composed of a Merlot Shiraz, a Rose and a Sauvignon Blanc.
These very well priced wines and sell at between R35 and R45 per bottle. I drank the Rose as a delicious ice cold aperitif, the Sauvignon Blanc with a prawn stir fry and the Merlot Shiraz with a braii. Unpretentious, easy to drink wines that represent great value for money.
Lunch in the Deli was great, with a fantastic charcuterie place of cheeses and meats costing R70. For this you got a selection of coppa, salami, parma, pate, relish, cheeses, fruit, seeds, nuts, molasses bread and olive ciabatta.In the shop there were plenty of other local delicacies available.
You can buy these wines in Carolines, Wine Concepts and Vino Pronto.
Joubert-Tradauw Private Cellar
P.O. Box 15, Barrydale 6750.
Tel 028 572 1619
Cell 082 815 3737