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Valley News

Robertson Wine Valley

Robertson Wine Valley

A toast to a new chapter for Robertson Wine Valley By Alet du Toit.   Peter de Wet, Excelsior Estate, was elected as Chairman of the Robertson Wine Valley Board along with Johann de Wet, De Wetshof Estate, to serve as Vice-Chairman. These two industry giants in the Robertson Wine Valley are raring to help guide the valley to a fruitful future.   Peter is the owner of...
Robertson Wine Valley

Robertson Wine Valley

Robertson Wine Valley Raises R10 000 for Thunderchild By the Thunderchild Wine Initiative.     Robertson Wine valley has recently taken on the Thunderchild project as their official charity partner. This partnership was launched during the Wacky Wine Weekend in June 2017.   The Thunderchild Project was started to address the issues which The Herberg Children’s Home...
Graham Beck

Graham Beck

Graham Beck Shines at the 2017 Vinordic Wine Challenge  By Graham Beck Winery We're delighted to announce that Graham Beck Brut NV recently scored the top accolade in the only EU certified wine competition in Sweden, the Vinordic Wine Challenge (held in Stockholm every year). This Cap Classique sparkling wine was deemed the best sparkling wine tasted (Champagne not...
Esona Boutique Wines

Esona Boutique Wines

ESONA LAUNCHES FIRST WINE MADE ON THEIR PREMISES  By Esona Boutique Winery Late last year, Esona Boutique Wines, invested in winemaking equipment and Esona have now produced their very first wine on the premises, a Pinot Noir Blanc de Noir. This newly launched Pinot Noir Blanc de Noir was fondly decsribed by owner, Rowan Beattie, as being perfectly balanced with...
Klipdrift

Klipdrift

INTRODUCING KLIPDRIFT NGQO (JUST THE RIGHT MIX)  By Klipdrift    When friends come together, the drink has to be mixed the right way to suit the atmosphere. It is through the spirit of great friendships that inspires great memories. Every drop of Klipdrift NGQO is mixed with the perfect balance of the smooth bold taste of Klipdrift, blended with a range of flavours. An...
Mont Blois

Mont Blois

    Mont Blois revived: A good sign of progress in Robertson June 12, 2017, By Tim James   A remarkable number of the Cape’s top wines in the last decade or so come from vineyards that previously fed the producer cellars’ vast blending tanks. Go back a bit further and the same thing is true of more wines, and of many entire estates. Such change is certainly one of the...
Rooiberg

Rooiberg

Rooiberg’s Red Jewel       The well-awarded Rooiberg Red Muscadel 2014 has clinched another award by garnering a gold medal at the 15th Muscadel SA Awards.   This wine excelled at the annual awards function held in Paarl, where the winners were named from 23 entries in this exclusive competition. Four platinum and four gold medals were awarded.   The Rooiberg Red Muscadel...
De Wetshof

De Wetshof

De Wetshof Estate introduces its first premium blended red wine De Wetshof Estate, South Africa’s renowned and pioneering Chardonnay producer, recently introduced its first premium blended red wine. In so doing the estate has also paid tribute to one of the most influential architects in the history of the Cape, whose classical style has left an enduring legacy on...
Syrah du Monde

Syrah du Monde

INTERNATIONAL PLAUDITS FOR ROBERTSON VALLEY SHIRAZ Member producers bring home two of South Africa’s five goldsBy Myrna Robins Confirming the admirable and consistently high quality of shiraz flowing from the cellars of  Robertson Wine Valley producers, Bon Courage and Robertson Wines have added gold to their stock of previous medals awarded at international shiraz...
Rietvallei

Rietvallei

JOHN B WINE RANGE CATCHES FRESH NEW BREEZE   We are proud to introduce the vintage inspired new packaging for John B. Allot of thought went into this new design to bring back elements of origin, tradition and a bit of nostalgia. The John B range has three delicious still wines and a choice of two Sparkling wines. The  2017 Sauvignon Blanc expresses flavours of lemon zest,...
Chardonnay du Monde 2017

Chardonnay du Monde 2017

CHAMPION CHARDONNAYS – A TIMELY CELEBRATION Bringing home gold to Robertson Wine ValleyBy Myrna Robins Further entrenching Robertson’s reputation for world-class chardonnays, two of the region’s top estates attracted gold at the 2017 annual Chardonnay du Monde which took place at  Chateau des Ravatys in Burgundy last month.  It’s congratulations to Bon Courage who...
Zandvliet

Zandvliet

EXPERIENCE ART AS WE WIDEN OUR HORIZONS AT ZANDVLIET   Zandvliet Wine Estate will be launching the opening of their brand new exhibition space at the Kalkveld Lounge at Zandvliet Wine Estate in AShton this weekend (27 May). This promises to be an afternoon of wonder as the thought provoking works of renowned photographer Laresa Perlman is showcased, themed "Youth &...
2017 National Wine Challenge

2017 National Wine Challenge

RED, WHITE, SPARKLING AND STILL – ROBERTSON SHINES ACROSS THE BOARD By Myrna Robins Cellars in the Robertson Wine region produced a total of 15 winners in the 2017 National Wine Challenge.    The results of the National Wine Challenge and the Top 100 SA wines were released recently, with a motor showroom in Cape Town  as the chosen venue. More than 500 wines were...
RWV

RWV

  TASTING THE LIFESTYLE IN ROBERTSON WINE VALLEY by Myrna Robins ROBERTSON WINE VALLEY – THE DESTINATION THAT LIVES UP TO EVERY EXPECTATION. It’s a beguiling valley, beautiful, spacious, offering compelling reasons as to why visitors should taste its lifestyle, Pretty towns and magnificent farms offer a broad palette, bisected by the iconic Breede river that winds...
VinPro

VinPro

  Unity for excellence By Jana Loots When VinPro’s new chairman, Anton Smuts, talks about the industry, it is clear that the South African wine industry cannot function as an island. Now is the time to stand together and take the industry forward as a unit.Anton was elected as chairman during a special board meeting in November 2016, replacing Abrie Botha, who held the...

 

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Mont Blois revived: A good sign of progress in Robertson

June 12, 2017, By Tim James
 
A remarkable number of the Cape’s top wines in the last decade or so come from vineyards that previously fed the producer cellars’ vast blending tanks. Go back a bit further and the same thing is true of more wines, and of many entire estates. Such change is certainly one of the most important indicators of national progress in winemaking – especially given the far too heavy preponderance of cooperative cellars in South Africa.
 
How much more potentially brilliant wine is getting lost in the bulk wines getting turned out in such vast, dispiriting and cheap volumes? Little by little we’re finding out; but slowly, and there’s a very long way to go.
 
 
Nina-Mari Bruwer with her wines
Nina-Mari Bruwer of Mont Blois in Robertson is, happily, doing her bit. Some oldsters might remember a Mont Blois muscadel – joined for a mere few years from 1989 by a chardonnay and a “blanc fumé” sauvignon blanc. But for a long time now the fruit off Mont Blois’s three farms has gone elsewhere, as bulk wine or grapes – although at least some has been delivered to a few smart addresses for making both sparkling and still wines under well-known labels. On the whole, in fact, Robertson (along with the rest of the Breede River Valley) has made little in the way of a new contribution to the revolution in Cape wine this century – with Lourens van der Westhuizen’s Arendsig one honourable exception, and I think Lourens’s example and influence is starting to have an effect.
 
Nina-Mari is married to Ernst Bruwer, the sixth generation of his family to own Mont Blois; she’s been there nine years now, and for a brief while was involved in making bulk wine at the farm. She’s both a qualified winemaker and a Cape Wine Master, and this situation wasn’t enough for her. Many decades’ experience have revealed the “pockets of greatness” on the farm, as she points out, which helped her project. Some rows of vines were set aside for her (“and received TLC to the extreme”), and she got a corner of the cellar in which to work. “Our winery was built in 1884”, she says. “It’s big and nothing special to see. The part I make my wines in is very primitive – back to basics I would say.”
 
Now Nina-Mari has just released her maiden vintage, under the revived Mont Blois label (dormant for nearly 30 years) – and they are something of a revelation of possibility.
 
There are two 2016 chardonnays named for their different vineyard origins – all Nina-Mari’s bottlings are registered as estate wines and single vineyards. Kweekkamp is off limestone soil. It’s ripe and fairly rich, but clean and fresh with notes of red and yellow citrus (rather than lime, say), with a bright integrated acidity giving an important element of leaner elegance amongst the tight-packed fruit. Intense and long, and impressive. Fermentation was half inoculated, half spontaneous (the 2017 was all natural ferment).
 
Hoog en Laag Chardonnay was made in the same way, but is off red Karoo clay soil, and has a different character entirely – less citrusy, more nuts (almond marzipan), white peach, spice; a little more exuberantly obvious in its appeal but I thought its acidity a touch less well integrated (unlike Kweekkamp, a little acidification was needed here) – at least at this stage; these chards both have a good few years of development ahead of them I should say.
 
Interestingly, and inexplicably to me or to Nina-Mari, both are quite golden in colour, usually suggesting either oxidative ageing or new oak; in fact they were just a year in second- and third-fill barrels.
 
The third wine is a chenin, made in a very similar way: Groot Steen (the name of the 30-year-old vineyard on alluvial soil). Its most enticingly aromatic, with layours of aromas and flavours and its easy to find such things as spice, apricot, quince…. Again rich and ripe but balanced and fresh. A really attractive wine.
 
These whites are by no means cheap at around R295, but the quality is there (signalled by being individually packed in wooden boxes). Chenin is a more competitive market, of course, but especially the chardonnays are fair enough value these days.
 
 
Where the planned tasting room will be at Mont Blois
No reds – yet, but a 2016 from pinotage and cabernet is still in barrel. There had to be a muscadel, however, and in fact there are two, also 2016s, also with single vineyard origins (about R240 per 500 ml bottle). They’re both on the lighter-feeling side of muscadel, clean and uncloying and even with nicely dry finishes; both delightfully silky. I confess I haven’t had much trouble in lowering the levels of my bottles over some winter evenings, though I’m not an inveterate muscadel fancier. Harpie – from a harp-shaped block which is often misty and comparatively cool – has floral, litchi and mint humbug notes, compared to the burnt orange and marmalade that, for me, characterised the Pomphuis.
 
So – a very welcome return from Mont Blois. It’s very good to see some more high quality wines emerging from Robertson, and Nina-Mari Bruwer is full of keenness to build the brand that she’s made such a fine debut with. Lots of plans – including a dry muscat (oh, I do hope so, especially having recently enjoyed the utterly winning version that Adi Badenhorst made for the CWG Auction a year or two back). New plantings include grenache blanc and chenin bushvines – apparently the only bushvines in Robertson. And, says Nina-Mari, “we are restoring two old potstills, which used to stand on our stoep …. We hope to distill our own spirits to fortify with in future and even make some brandy. Who knows.  Possibilities are endless.”
 
I look forward to seeing more of Mont Blois’s possibilities realised.
 
I don’t think the Mont Blois wines are yet available by retail, but there are contact and order details on the website, if you want to make an enquiry.

 

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