The owners of the estate are justifiably proud of its name, describing it as ‘almost a legend’. Blaauwklippen translates as ‘blue cliffs’, and is so called because it is connected to the slate-blue colour of the granite cliffs above the vineyard. The land on which the vineyard was created is one of the oldest in South Africa, being created around 1682, and with a strong sense of tradition. Many of the buildings from colonial times have been kept and restored in order to maintain the Old-World feel of the vineyard and it surroundings. The owners are careful to emphasise this traditional world, and the wine-making which is at the heart of their farm.
The soil in which the vines are planted comes directly from the mountains above, which have gradually decomposed granite into the lands below, creating a mineral-rich soil which is loved by all kinds of vines. In addition, the mountain above and the land below can store the heat of the sun, giving the vines warmth well into the late evening. The climate around Blaauwklippen is mild, with a lush rainfall and plenty of warmth. The vines use this sun and rain to produce large, ripe berries which can be easily turned into wine.
The connection between the traditions of the past, and the technology of the future are perfectly harnessed by the Blaauwklippen farm owners, who on the one hand host a Carriage museum filled with different modes of transport from the past, to the wine centre, modern pub-like benches placed under the shade of an enormous wild-fig tree, and playing host to modern foods in the Restaurant. These diverse cultures help to create an atmosphere where good wines can be enjoyed in comfort, while looking out at the amazing scenery, or thinking about the past history of the estate.
The vineyards in the Blaauwklippen produce a range of grapes which are then used to make the estate wine. The wine makers here prefer to have minimal contact with the wine as it is maturing, preferring to use only the natural fermentation processes of the grapes, and not adding to the mix. This has resulted in a number of excellent wines, ranging from the Landau Range, which includes white, rose and Red wines, as well as a semi-sweet bottle, through to the Cultivar Selection, which is the best example of the particular single varietal wines from the estate, right to the Vineyard Selection, the top-quality wine produced by Blaauwklippen.
In the Landau Range, the semi-sweet wine is a mix of Chenin and Sauvignon Blanc with Viognier, producing a deeply fruity wine which has plenty of apple, pear and rose blossom aromas, with a sharp acidity and plenty of sugar. In the Cultivar Selection, the Cabernet Sauvignon from 2007 has been matured in old French Oak barrels, which produces a strong tannin in the wine. Perhaps the Best of the Vineyard selection has to be the Cabriolet 2006, which is a mix of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.