What a wonderful surprise it was to find this place! This area is also called Durbanville, but I prefer the old name for the hills: Tygerberg.
When we started this project, I would never have thought that such a special place would be hidden in plane sight, virtually within the Cape Town city limits. The Contermanskloof farm has been in existence since 1706, and in the Starke family since the early 1900s. Through some fortuitous meeting, we came to know Robert Starke, the current generation running Contermanskloof.
When prospecting, every now and then you strike gold. These parcels are planted in 1977 on heavy shale soil. The slope is quite steep, facing south, providing quite a nice view of Table Mountain. The vines are big and gnarly, very low yielding, but still in good condition.
The wine produced here is fascinating, and given my current experience seems to point to the heavy shale soil. There is terrific depth to the wine - it feels like a low seismic rumble. It’s flavours verge on slightly earthy, salty/sweet. There is a roundness to the palate, but it’s not heavy.
Our friend Franco Lourens has bottled some as a single origin wine called Blouklip Steen (named for the blue hornfels shale mined here). It’s worth seeking out, if you can find it.
We make the following wine from Tygerberg: