First awarded to the Danish settler Claas Mayboom by Governor van der Stel all the way back in 1720, De Grendel van de Tijgerberg was bought by the iconic South African businessman and politician Sir David De Villiers Graaff in 1890 to be used as a breeding and resting ground for his prized purebred Arab horses. When his horses’ health began deteriorating in the wet climate of Newlands, he was advised by his veterinarian to find more suitable stabling. As the story goes, he undertook a trip by ox wagon to Muizenberg. Arriving, the South Easter was blowing and the beach was filled with blue bottles and smelly sea grass. He immediately turned north and arrived at the farm on the slopes of the Tygerberg. This farm was historically the gateway on the route to the inland settlements of Durbanville and Stellenbosch – De Grendel means ‘the latch’ in Dutch.
In 2000, almost 200 years after the last vines were destroyed, the first new vines were planted. Grapes from its maritime vineyards are supplemented from other family-owned vineyards and contracted growers in cooler areas. Most grapes are harvested from two principal vineyards: Tygerberg: The slopes of the Tygerberg, which face the setting sun, offer cooling breezes off the cold Antarctic Benguela current from the Atlantic Ocean only seven kilometres away. This climate, combined with a soil combination of blue shale, glen rosa and oak leaf is perfect for cultivating Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot.
Witzenberg: The Graaffs have been farming near Ceres for generations, and recognised that the Witzenberg mountains, almost a kilometre above sea level, were the perfect cold climate to allow the grapes to hang for longer – perfect for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
The Rubaiyat is De Grendel’s flagship wine, first made in 2006 when cellar master Charles Hopkins was asked by Sir David Graaff to make an ‘iconic’ wine for the Estate. A classically poetic Bordeaux style blend consisting of a quatrain of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, the Rubaiyat was named after Omar Khayyam’s exquisite collection of 1000 Persian love poems from the 10th century, held dear by the late Sir David. Each successive vintage features a different quatrain from the poem on the label, hence the blend of four varietals.
Blend: 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Petit Verdot, 6% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc.