South Africa: A Day in Durbanville

By John ~ March 13th, 2009.

Durbanville HillsOur last day in South African wine country was a last minute add-on trip to the Durbanville district, an area very close to Cape Town. The area was beautiful, but the overall quality of the wines was not great. And, unfortunately, the few excellent wines that we did find are not available in the United States. But we had a great day, anyway, as is just about every day in wine country.

Our first visit of the day was at the Durbanville Hills wine farm. It was a very impressive facility that included a restaurant, beautiful views of Cape Town, and we were able to taste ten wines, two of which we rated as excellent.

The next stop was at Nitida where we ate lunch in their informal dining facility. They had good food and a friendly atmosphere.  Unfortunately, none of the five wines that we tasted in their tasting room really knocked our socks off.

Durbanville DistrictAfter lunch we visited Meerendal, a wine farm that was established in 1702. Most of their wines were mediocre with the exception of the 2006 Shiraz. Our last stop of the day was at Hillcrest Estate where we tasted six wines. Several of their wines were decent, but none were great.

After our last day on the wine trails of South Africa, we headed back to Hout Bay for the evening where LaGayle’s cousin Brenda prepared a delicious dinner, and we opened several bottles of good South African wine that we had purchased over the past three weeks.

Please remember from my previous posts on South African wines that because we are buying wines here at South African prices based on the rand (R), we decided that it would be misleading and of little value to our core constituency of readers in the U.S. to calculate a QPR rating unless it is a wine we can buy in the U.S. and is of good enough quality to want to buy. Therefore, for the purposes of the wine reviews on this trip, I will only calculate a QPR rating on a wine which I have given a Quality rating of 4 stars (out of 5) or higher and if I can find a U.S. vendor and price on which to base the QPR calculation. Wines that meet these criteria will be set apart from the others by bold type. Otherwise I’ll denote the QPR as Not Calculated (NC) if the Quality rating is 3 stars or higher or Not Recommended (NR) if the Quality rating is less than 3 stars.

Here’s a complete listing of the wines we tasted in Durbanville:

Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
2006 Meerendal Shiraz Bin 159, R155, QPR: NC
2006 Durbanville Hills Luipardsberg Merlot, R190, QPR: NC
2006 Durbanville Hills Caapmans Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, R190, QPR: NC

Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
2008 Durbanville Hills Chardonnay, R42, QPR: NC
2005 Durbanville Hills Shiraz-Michael Angelo Silver, R59, QPR: NC
2005 Hillcrest Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, R70, QPR: NC
2004 Meerendal Cabernet Sauvignon, R75, QPR: NC
2008 Durbanville Hills Biesjes Craal Sauvignon Blanc, R85, QPR: NC

Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
2008 Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc, R42, QPR: NC
2007 Nitida Leuco Red, R45, QPR: NC
2007 Hillcrest Unwooded Chardonnay, R45, QPR: NC
2006 Durbanville Hills Merlot, R59, QPR: NC
2007 Durbanville Hills Rhinofields Chardonnay, R75, QPR: NC
2004 Meerendal Shiraz, R80, QPR: NC
2006 Meerendal Merlot, R80, QPR: NC
2006 Hillcrest Merlot, R80, QPR: NC
2006 Nitida Calligraphy, R115, QPR: NC
2006 Meerendal Sauvignon Blanc Bin 242, R115, QPR: NC

Quality: 2.5 stars (out of 5)
2007 Meerendal Sauvignon Blanc, R49, QPR: NR
2007 Meerendal Chardonnay, R52, QPR: NR
2008 Hillcrest Chardonnay, R55, QPR: NR
2006 Durbanville Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, R59, QPR: NR
2008 Hillcrest Sauvignon Blanc, R60, QPR: NR
2008 Durbanville Hills Rhinofields Sauvignon Blanc, R65, QPR: NR
2007 Nitida Cabernet Sauvignon, R75, QPR: NR
2007 Nitida Pinotage, R75, QPR: NR

Quality: 2 stars (out of 5)
2007 Hillcrest Sauvignon Blanc, R60, QPR: NR
2008 Nitida Sauvignon Blanc, R65, QPR: NR

Quality: 1.5 stars (out of 5)
2005 Meerendal Pinotage, R75, QPR: NR

Filed under: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Lesser Known Varietals, Merlot, Red Wine, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz/Syrah, South African Wine, White Wine, Wine Travel, Wines NOT To Buy (1 & 2 Star), Wines Over $25, Wines Under $10, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25

Reader's Comments

  1. Trans Resveratrol | April 27th, 2009 at 8:44 pm

    How do I add this to my RSS reader? Sorry I’m a newbie 🙁

  2. John | April 28th, 2009 at 5:06 am

    Glad to see that you would like to become a subscriber. It’s really very simple. Simply click on the RSS Feed button at the top right of the page under “Subscribe to Updates” and then click on the Reader than you use such as “Google” and you are in business.

  3. Roy Olstad | January 6th, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    One of my sons spent several months in Cape Town going to school, and liked the Pinotage, which I understood is a special variety in S Africa. I was surpised to see how low it ranked in your reports, and not much about it in your accounts. What’s your take on the Pinotage story?

  4. John | January 7th, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    Thanks for your comments. While Pinotage is a red varietal developed in South Africa, I preferred their Cabs, Cab-blends and Shiraz/Syrah. The Pinotages I had were for the most part too rustic, and many of them had a funky paint-like smell.