A visit to Olivedale vineyards is about as “Twilight Zone” as the South African wine industry can get. The cellar is a blend of old oak barrels, steel tanks, gold-framed oil portraits, and antique furniture. And when you meet owner and co-winemaker Carl van Wijck, he passionately describes himself as a true scientist… while referencing Pink Floyd… and the Bible. He also mentions that his vines once begged him not to plant them in a straight line like those poor dears from DeWetshof 🤣.
The man is a raconteur in the strictest sense of the word, and one can tell from a distance that he was harvested at full philosophical ripeness, and matured with generous lashings of eccentricity.
And honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The wines are as disparate as the decor, but the one that excited me the most was the Wild Melody white blend, inspired by a chunky text from the book of Genesis (of course it was!).
And once you’ve heard the inspiration, it makes total sense that the wine consists of a whole range of usually unrelated cultivars, all cooped up together in an old wooden vessel for 40 days and 40 nights, fermented until dry, with no hope of escape…
But when they are finally released, the world really is a better place.
Of course, inspiration is only half the battle, and Carl still had to convince his more straight-laced and long-suffering winemaking partner Jolene Calitz-Le Roux to execute the vision. But the end result seems worth the philosophical meandering, and is any wine geek’s dream:
A cellar-aged deep lemon-hued blend of Viognier, Roussanne, Semillon and Verdelho, with more texture than Rob Zombie in a corduroy tuxedo. While the vines are not organic certified, they are farmed according to organic principles, making it a one certificate away from a genuine natural wine.
👃🏼 Vanguard carries notes of wild honey, apricot skin, beeswax, peach, oranges, and lemon bonbons.
👄 The palate displays delightful leesy texture, along with all the fruit promised by the vanguard.
🔬 Wine of Origin Swellendam. A blend of 37% Viognier, 27% Roussanne, 22% Semillon, and 14% Verdelho. All fruit was fermented on skins until dry. Contact time was 40 days and 40 nights. As the good book said it should be.
💸💸 ZAR346.00 (as of April 2021)