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RWV

RWV

    Robertson Wine Valley wines excel at the 2017 Vitis Vinifera Awards By Alet du Toit     The Robertson Wine Valley have been showing off their Midas touch at this year’s Vitis Vinifera Awards, obtaining an impressive nineteen Gold Awards for their outstanding wines.   The annual Vitis Vinifera Awards, now running in its fifth year, ran over two days and comprised of a...
RWV

RWV

      Robertson Wine Valley toasts to success at the 2017 Amorim Cap Classique Challenge By Alet du Toit   The recently released results of the prestigious Amorim Cap Classique Challenge, has got the Robertson Wine Valley bubbling with pride. The Robertson Wine Valley deservedly walked away with a class winner in the Museum Class, two Gold Awards and nine Silver Awards. The...
Graham Beck

Graham Beck

    Graham Beck’s Cuvée Clive selected by Tim Atkin as his Sparkling Wine of the Year By Graham Beck Wines   We are delighted to announce that the Cuvée Clive 2011 was selected as Overall Sparkling Wine of the Year (97 points) by Tim Atkin, award-winning British journalist and Master of Wine, in his South Africa 2017 Special Report.   This well respected comprehensive...
SA Olive Awards

SA Olive Awards

        Marbrin Olive Growers excelled at the SA Olive Awards - The 2017 Harvest Champions, obtaining the below results:   Gold Marbrin Farm Mabrin Olive Growers Directors Reserve EVOO Intense Silver Marbrin Farm Marbrin Olive Growers Delicate EVOO Delicate       Below is an official press release from the SA Olive Industry Association about this year's awards: SA Olive Awards -...
RWV

RWV

      And the Pon van Zyl award goes to.... By Beatrix Galloway The Pon van Zyl trophy has a rich history and also handed over at this prestige awards ceremony. In 1941, Giepie Rossouw and Alwyn Bruwer convinced a number of other Robertson Valley growers to form a winery in which all families would own a share. Pon van Zyl served as Robertson Winery’s first winemaker and took...
ROSÉ ROCKS

ROSÉ ROCKS

            ROBERTSON WINE VALLEY RISES AT ROSÉ ROCKS   Three of Robertson Wine Valley producers had double the fun at this year’s Rosé Rocks competition, each scooping Double Golds for their respective entries.   By Alet du Toit   This annual, highly anticipated competition has become an icon in the South African wine industry and is South Africa’s first dedicated Rosé wine...
Gold Wine Awards

Gold Wine Awards

      Robertson Wine Valley strikes it rich with the Gold Awards   Seven  Wine Valley cellars amass a glittering array of awards By Myrna Robins   In this professionally organised competition excellent wines selling at less than R110 a 750ml bottle are identified, judged and those delivering fine quality within the price limit  are rewarded. Along with the prestige gained by...
Bonnievale Wines

Bonnievale Wines

Bonnievale Wines Welcomes Two New Winemakers By Bonnievale Wines    Bonnievale Wines have appointment two new, talented winemakers onto their team - Jean Slabber and Izak de Vries. Slabber obtained his BSC Agri - Degree at the university of Stellenbosch in 2012 and joined Arabella wines as an assistant winemaker. Slabber was previously employed at Montagu Winery until...
Rietvallei Estate

Rietvallei Estate

Rietvallei Releases Two New Signature Estate wines   By Rietvallei Estate   Rietvallei is thrilled to announce that two of its signature estate wines are now available in their respective new vintages.   The Rietvallei Sauvignon Blanc 2017 is excitingly fruity, the nose reveals passion fruit and grapefruit, freshly cut grass and a touch of capsicum. This wine pairs...
Mont Blois

Mont Blois

Langeberg Legend Updated with Inspiring Wines     By Myrna Robins   Just when I thought I was getting to know most corners of the fair Breede  River valley, I discover another vista as a mountainous green landscape unfolds before me, timeless, beautiful and secluded.   This makes the setting for a tasting of world-class wines on an historic Robertson farm. Created by a...
RWV

RWV

SOMMELIERS’ SELECTION RESULTS IN SWEET SUCCESS   RWV winners target wine lovers in new and innovative ways By Myrna Robins on behalf of Robertson Wine Valley   The results of the third Sommeliers’ Selection competition have been announced and we raise our glasses to the Robertson Wine Valley cellars which notched up wins in this unique contest.   In this competition, judged...
RWV

RWV

TERROIR TRIUMPHS: RECOGNITION FOR ROBERTSON WINE VALLEY CELLARS         Celebrating a national winner and eight district Top Wines By Myrna Robins on behalf of Robertson Wine Valley   The Novare SA Terroir Wine Awards, now in their 12th year, have grown to become a competition that is keenly contested. More than 320 wines were entered this year to be judged on how well they...
Ashton Winery

Ashton Winery

Ashton Winery Launches First Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc Ashton Winery launched their first ever sparkling Sauvignon Blanc in June this year. The Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc is made from carefully selected grapes harvested in the early morning to preserve as much flavour and colour as possible. This elegant sparkling wine bursts with tropical fruit flavours and a...
Springfield Estate

Springfield Estate

2017 vintage of Life from Stone finally available       By Springfield Wines Estate   After being sold out for a a brief yet terrifying (if you ask us) month, we are finally ready to share this phenomenal vintage of our iconic Sauvignon Blanc with you. This vintage of Life from Stone is bursting with passion fruit and is a true teaser of the summer to come.   Many of you...
RWV

RWV

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...

 

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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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