Dax Villanueva: Baleia – the pride of Riversdale
By Dax Villanueva, 11 February 2016
There is a new compulsory stop on the Garden Route. If you’re travelling on the N2 through Riversdale, just before Mossel Bay, you’ll want to call in at Baleia Wines.
Why? Well, that’s easy to answer. They have amazing wines and divine olive oil to sell you, but also they have a lovely little restaurant to fill your belly and slake your thirst. Then finally there is the deli, it’s big and it’s packed with all sorts of delicious treats and goodies. Make sure you’ve got space in the car because you will walk out of there with bags of delightfulness.
Owned by the Joubert family, the farm Dassieklip is home to Baleia vineyards and olive groves. This is where award-winning olive oil and wines are made.
In 2014, Baleia opened its LaBella Restaurant & Deli, owned run by Lizeth Joubert. Using their olive products, they make delicious homemade meals and freshly baked goods. The restaurant has a beautiful outdoor section where you can sit, enjoy your lunch and relax while the kids play. The deli and curio section makes it a ‘well worth it’ stop and you can also walk over to the wine shop to stock up on top quality, well priced wines and olive products.
This fairly recently established winemaking area along the Cape South Coast, was specifically selected for its limestone rich soil and close proximity to the ocean. The gentle sea breeze which regularly blows across the vineyards assists in lowering the temperature and not only ensuring an optimal climate for wine grapes to grow but also superb olives.
The Joubert family has farmed on Lanquedoc outside Riversdale since the 1900s, and each generation has contributed to the development and progression of the property.
With the realization that this land would be ideal for the cultivation of grapes and olives, Jan-Hendrik, Jr. and his father, Fanie, planted the first olive groves in 2008. In 2009 the first blocks of Pinot Noir, Shiraz and Tempranillo was planted, followed by Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc in 2010.
The Jouberts are passionate about cultivation of quality olives and give their olive trees require the utmost care and attention. Farming conscientiously, they make use of organic methods as far as possible in the production of their olives and olive oil.
This passion and attention can be seen in every bottle of olive oil that is produced. The first Baleia Bay Olive Oil was pressed and bottled in 2012 and since then received the silver award at the SA Olive Awards as well as second place in the 2015 Sol ‘d Oro Competition.
The Baleia product range includes a 500ml bottle extra virgin olive oil, which typically shows aromas of fresh cut grass, green tomatoes, almonds and artichokes. With medium to intense concentration of fruit flavours on the palate, it leaves a clean finish. There are also four different preparations of marinated olives including plain, garlic, chilli and rosemary.
With such dedication and care put into each of the Baleia products, it is no wonder that these newcomers are making a name for themselves within the wine and olive industry and have come so far in such a short space of time.
Learn more at www.baleiawines.com
- Dax Villanueva is founder of lifestyle blog Relax with Dax and is also involved in Olive Central, a promotional initiative for the SA olive and olive oil industry.