Established in 1694 by ex-Governor, and rather unpleasant fellow, Willem Adriaan van der Stel, the 54 hectare estate of Rust en Vrede has quietly graced the vineyards outside of Stellenbosch for several centuries now and is owned by the Engelbrecht family.

In Afrikaans, the name means, “rest and peace” and the grounds do indeed live up to both words, even though the tasting room is quite poshy and upscale. Their tasting fee is R 30 for standard wines and R 50 for top level, reserve wines although even if you’re not up for a taste, just visiting the winery can be a pleasant experience.

The 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon spends 18 months in French oak and 18 months in bottle. This particular grape happens to take up 60% of the estate. In the glass, it presents a deep currant and cinnamon nose tinged by mulberry. Spicy and dark. It has a very nice, well-structured and balanced body that is still dark and meaty. It’s a touch acidic on the finish which would lead to good pairings with food, especially anything spicy. R 155

The 2006 Shiraz spends 18 months in French and American oak with 18 months in the bottle. They claim it can be aged for an additional 6-8 years. The nose is lightly peppery with blackberry tones. The body is quite soft and surprising given the heavy dose of American oak. The finish comes up peppery as well though. There is perhaps a touch much oak, but it is still an enjoyable wine and there are those who will prefer this level of oak. R 170

The 2006 Estate is made of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Shiraz, 10% Merlot. This is a blend that is directly proportional to the amount of each grape on the estate. It spends 23 months in French and American oak and then 18 months in the bottle with a claim of 10-15 years in aging potential. This was also the first South African wine to be on Wine Spectator Top 100 list. The nose is full of a dark coffee element that is complex and exotic. You can feel a bit of caramel and vanilla to the body as well as the continuation of the coffee flavors from the nose. It is a very dry wine with oak that is well-balanced and structured. R 300

The “1694” 2007 is made from their oldest grapes and is 58% Shiraz, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon The aging regimen is 18 months in French and American oak (75/25 respectively) and 12 months in the bottle with a potent claimed aging potential of 15-20 years. The nose gives off immediate licorice, cinnamon, and a small amount of clove aromas. All of this mellows out in the body and it picks up their signature coffee elements to a small degree. The tannins are soft and well-balanced, making it very pleasing on the palate. It’s a strong wine though, so pairing with foods would be tricky to say the least and it would probably be best enjoyed by itself. The finish is dry, but clean and clear, making for a pleasurable glass. The price is rather out of the range of most causal drinkers though at R 1200

We talk a great deal more about the wines of Stellenbosch and other Cape Town wineries in our Stellenbosch wine guide.