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A New Cork and an Historical Day on De Wetshof Estate

A New Cork and an Historical Day on De Wetshof Estate

      A New Cork and an Historical Day on De Wetshof Estate By Amorim Cork South Africa None of those who were in the De Wetshof winery on Monday 12 March will forget it. Not one. The occasion was a session of re-corking of vintage wines, something Amorim has been doing since the end of last year and which has been extensively written about. De Wetshof, the pioneering...
Chardonnay du Monde

Chardonnay du Monde

      Robertson Wine Valley tastes success at Chardonnay Du Monde 2018 By Alet du Toit Wine producers from the Robertson Wine Valley route kicked off 2018 with astronomical success raking in four of the seven silver medals awarded to South African producers at the 25th annual Chardonnay Du Monde awards. Bon Courage Estate continues to impress on the international stage by...
De Wetshof Estate

De Wetshof Estate

De Wetshof Predicts Healthy Harvest Despite Relentless Drought Source: Drinksfeed.com   It is hot, it is dry, but the Chardonnay harvest of 2018 on De Wetshof Estate has delivered a grape crop in excellent health despite the yield being some 10% lower than average. “We expected a lower yield seeing as this is our fourth dry season in a row, and definitely the driest I...
Wacky Wine Weekend

Wacky Wine Weekend

SAVOUR 15 YEARS OF GREATNESS The famed Wacky Wine Weekend takes place from 31 May to 3 June 2018. This well–established event has become a wine institution in the social calendars of people across the country, attracting wine connoisseurs, novices and families & friends alike travelling far and wide to “taste the lifestyle”.   2018 marks Wacky Wine Weekend’s 15th...
Springfield Estate

Springfield Estate

      Springfield Estate - Vegan Friendly Wines In this day and age, we are all becoming increasingly aware of how our lifestyle and the consumption that goes with it affects the world around us.   Global warming, once just an abstract threat, is now a major concern, and as humans with the ability and privilege to make informed decisions, we should do everything in our...
Graham Beck

Graham Beck

Turning Water Into Wine By Graham Howe   Thirsty conversation at recent tastings is as much about water as wine.   At a benchmark tasting of the proprietor’s collection wines in the Graham Beck stable at the Silo Hotel at the V&A Waterfront like the ancient mariner we could see water, water everywhere out in Table Bay but not a drop to drink. (A surfeit of fine wine...
Zandvliet

Zandvliet

    Zandvliet Estate presents "A Pocketful of Inspiration" By Zandvliet Estate   From 17 March, Zandvliet Estate will showcase the works of artist Marina Blight in their underground Muscat Tanks. Come and view this exciting exhibition, titled, "A Pocketful of Inspiration" at their Kalkveld Lounge between the hours of 10:00 and 17:00 (Mon – Fri as well as Public Holidays).     ABOUT MARINA...
Thunderchild

Thunderchild

        TWIN TRIBUTES THAT CALL FOR A TOAST Written by Myrna Robins    A decade of vinous generosity and a centenary of caring.    One hundred years on we look back at 1918 with compassion. Europe, Britain and Commonwealth countries were still reeling from the aftermath of World War One as the Great ‘Flu pandemic swept across the globe, arriving in South Africa in September, and...
Graham Beck

Graham Beck

  All systems go for Harvest 2018 at Graham Beck By Graham Beck    Our team is already knee deep and up to their elbows in Harvest 2018. This is not only the most frenetic time of the year, but also the most thrilling, and, at times, hair-raising!   As is Graham Beck tradition, the annual start of harvest is celebrated at our Robertson cellar with much fanfare, jollity and...
Vinpro

Vinpro

Nuwe momentum vir wyntoerisme Uitgereik deur VinPro     ’n Memorandum van Verstandhouding tussen Vinpro en Wesgro sal nuwe momentum aan wyntoerisme in Suid-Afrika verleen met ’n nuwe en opwindende vennootskap.   Saam met die aanstelling van ’n nuwe Vinpro wyntoerismebestuurder, Marisah Nieuwoudt, in Januarie, maak die Memorandum van Verstandhouding tussen die SA...
Melozhori

Melozhori

Memorable experiences in the wildlife and the veldt with Melozhori Private Game Reserve By Melozhori Private Game Reserve   At Melozhori Private Game Reserve we offer day visitors Game drives at their leisure under the expert guidance of our guides who'll share their vast knowledge of the wildlife and environment with you. If you're experienced on horse back,...
Weltevrede

Weltevrede

  The Jakes Gerwel Entrepreneurial School opens its doors Adapted from information obtained from Weltevrede Wine Estate   A vision was dropped in the hearts of the people from Bonnievale.  Philip Jonker, owner at Weltevrede Wine Estate subsequently formed the JGE Funding Trust to pursue the vision to heal their community by creating the Jakes Gerwel Entrepreneurial...
Springfield Estate

Springfield Estate

        Springfield Estate’s use of natural yeast By Springfield Estate   We are often told that life is about the journey, not the destination. We are told that we grow from the challenges we face along the way, and come out wiser and more complex at the other end. A winemaker faces this truth in the cellar every day. Here at Springfield, we take the hard road with nearly...
De Wetshof Estate

De Wetshof Estate

        Five Dewetshof Wines obtain CVC Status Adapted from information obtained from De Wetshof Estate   De Wetshof's Wines’ Bateleur, The Site, Finesse, Limestone Hill Chardonnay, Bon Vallon Chardonnay and Riesling, have achieved Cape Vintner Classification (CVC) status. The CVC is a body aimed at elevating the image of South Africa's premier wines, and CVC status is...
De Wetshof Estate

De Wetshof Estate

Danie de Wet Signature Wine for Woolworths  Adapted from information obtained from Dewetshof Estate   Woolworths has partnered with six of the country's best wine makers to bring to life their exclusive Signature Series, with De Wetshof selected as the only Signature Series Chardonnay. This latest collaboration, Signature Series Chardonnay 2016 by Danie De Wet, spent 12...

 

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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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russel hobbs 10 2017