Blaauwklippen Reserve range, Brandy and Aperitif launch

Carla van der Merwe tells of her unusual cooking class at the launch of Blaauwklippen’s latest editions at Cooks Playground in Cape Town.

Upon arrival at Cooks Playground yesterday, I noticed several cooking stations and immediately realized that it would be a very unconventional wine launch.

We were greeted by Rolf Zietvogel, Managing Director and Winemaker at Blaauwklippen Vineyards, who introduced the four wines we would taste and explained them briefly stating that he did not like to prescribe what we should taste or smell in the wine as wine is a subjective matter.

The two red wines offered on tasting are part of the Blaauwklippen Reserve Collection which is produced only when the fruit quality is optimum and availability of the range will be vintage dependent.

The first of the wines we tasted was the Blaauwklippen Shiraz Reserve 2009, made from the youngest vines on the estate which were planted to reflect ‘the ultimate expression of their terroir’. The Shiraz was fermented in both French and Romanian Oak Casks and matured for 18 months in French Oak barrels.

The second reserve collection wine we tasted was the Blaauwklippen Zinfandel Reserve 2009, made from the oldest vineyards on the estate (and also the oldest block of Zinfandel in South Africa, planted in 1982). The Zinfandel was made in the same style as the Shiraz with both Romanian and French oak fermentation and maturation. Both of these wines are available for R275 from the estate’s tasting room.

Next up on our tasting list was the unusual Blaauwklippen Before and After Aperitif, which was originally made as Christmas gifts for colleges, family and close friends in 2009. The wine is an interesting twist on a fortified red noble late harvest and as its original name ‘Christmas Liquor’ suggests, it conjures up a fruitcake taste profile. The Aperitif is elegantly packaged and available for R195 from the estate.

The last wine on our tasting list was the Blaauwklippen Potstilled 8 year old Brandy, which was distilled in an old copper potstill which was originally used at Oude Molen in Stellenbosch. The brandy is made from Colombard, Sauvignon blanc and Chenin blanc grapes and is similarly packaged to the Aperitif and can be purchased at the cellar door for R260.

After our tasting we were all handed Blaauwklippen aprons and divided into groups. This was where the real fun began as we were ushered towards the cooking stands by Jenny Morris. I was lucky enough to have been assigned a fairly simple dish to prepare as part of our starters.

The menu was expertly designed to utilize both the Brandy and Aperitif as ingredients for the various dishes prepared. The dish I helped prepare was the Apple and brandy Tarte Tatin which was fairly simple to make and only required some skill when it came to flambéing the apples with brandy.

My team members included Nicolette Waterford, Dusan Jelic, Rolf Zietvogel and Elona Nel from Wineland Magazine. Fortunately enough my team mates were better acquainted with a kitchen than I am and could assist me when it came to the point where fire was involved.

The day was truly an experience and epitomized Rolf’s philosophy that ‘wine warrants interaction’. For more information on Blaauwklippen’s wines please visit their website at and for more information on Cooks Playground please visit Jenny Morris’ website at

This article was first published on WINE.CO.ZA, please click here to see the original article.


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