A little bit of heaven at Eenzaamheid with Janno Briers-Louw

I was delighted when Janno Briers-Louw invited me to visit Eenzaamheid farm. I must say I knew virtually nothing about the farm - apart from the fact that Janno's aunt was the head-girl of the boarding house at Rustenberg High School for Girls which I attended for 5 dreadful years!

I also knew that Janno was very knowledgeable and a Cape Wine Master and recently also tasted his Cinsaut which seems to be his calling card.  After a stormy week in the Cape, a most gorgeous day presented itself on Friday and I found myself in the middle of nowhere - or so it seemed!  If you travel north from Stellenbosch past Beyerskloof and Villiera on the R304, go right over the N1, and turn right at the next 4-way stop - and the farm is about another 12km down the road - set in the middle of farm land in the Agter-Paarl area. Just gorgeous.  A solitary windmill is a recognisable marker for the farm.

Janno's dad farms with cattle (we drove past such beautiful black angus), sheep (for wool and meat) and wheat and they have 390 ha under vineyard, with a delicious fraction going into the Eenzaamheid label,  Janno's own baby.  A large quantity of the grapes and wines go to Perdeberg  for their DryLand Collection, as there is no irrigation, just sensible farming to manage the water and moisture.

We wandered through the oldish bush vines (almost Old Vine level which need to be 35 years old) and I was intrigued as they were experimenting with various types of cover crops. The most popular is Korog. used extensively for better energy feed for animals as well as ensuring that when it is cut down inbetween the rows of vines, that it decomposes well and re-moisturises and energises the soil efficiently. Korog is also known as Triticale, which is a cross between wheat and rye, with wheat providing a good fibre, and rye contributing to its long growth cycle. They are testing out a few other crops but this takes years of analysis to see which works best.  Farming really is long-game stuff.
It is pruning season, and much attention is paid to being super-efficient, ensuring the vines produce optimally.

Eenzaamheid must be one of the very oldest farms in the Western Cape - dating back to 1693 - with the same old simple gable in their tasting room which was an old shed.  A very refined, classy, and beautifully decorated tasting room is open by appointment only, as Janno seems to be very much ''man-alleen'' and mostly is found out in the vineyards. 
The farm is apparently called Eenzaamheid because it originally belonged to Sarah Tas, sister to the more famous Adam Tas (after whom the famous Tassenberg and Oom Tas wines were named). She sold the farm to her brother Adam. Funny how history repeats itself and there is nothing new in the world, as Adam Tas was a great protestor against state corruption by Willem Adriaan van der Stel.  Sarah lived alone on the farm for many years, and it is thought this is why it is named Eenzaamheid.
The Briers-Louw family have owned and been farming there for 7 generations over the last 200 years, with several generations of  the well-known Meerlust Myburgh family also owning the farm over time.  Quite a feat!

I was lucky enough to take home a few bottles of his wines and opened the 2016 Shiraz which we had for supper with our steak and chips and wow!  We all wanted more when the bottle was finished! I look forward to enjoying the Cuvee with my waterblommetjie-bredie soon - and this is a very small batch wine - less than 5000 bottles made - a unique blend of Shiraz, Pinotage, Mourvedre, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cinsaut.

I must say, eensaam (lonely) it may have been, but in today's crazy world, it felt like a bit of heaven out there.