Wines of the Times: The Latest From The Robertson Wine Route
Veer off the beaten track in search of Robertson Wine Valley’s lesser-known treasures.
Encompassing Ashton, Bonnievale, McGregor and Robertson, the Robertson Wine Route is ripe for the picking. Foregoing the usual names we’ve become accustomed to, on a recent visit we sought out wine farms and cultivars that are slightly more obscure, but producing equally delicious libations.
What's more, you will probably have noticed a few new cultivars cropping up on wine lists lately. Even in regions where familiar names like ‘Robertson Wine Route’ exist, more unusual grapes are being grown, and interesting wines are being made – and these are definitely worth taking note of.
The Latest From The Robertson Wine Route Includes
Tanagra Colombard 2018
Robert and Anette Rosenbach hail from Mosel, a distinctive winemaking region in Germany best known for its Riesling. Located on the McGregor Wine Meander, Tanagra Wines is their long-held dream realised: to live on a farm in South Africa and share its bounty with others.
Well-known and much-respected winemaker Lourens van der Westhuizen is at the fermentation helm at Tanagra. Using traditional methods in the cellar, including natural yeast and whole berry fermentation, he produces handcrafted wines typical of the Klein Karoo’s terroir and microclimate. The first single-vineyard Colombard was released in 2017 from select 20-year-old vines, and it's a deliciously fresh summer juice with notes of citrus, guava and tropical fruit.
Shop it online via the Publik website.
De Wetshof The Site Chardonnay 2016
Renowned for producing high-quality Chardonnay from its Robertson estate, De Wetshof played a pioneering role in bringing the Burgundian varietal to South Africa. And as the first registered wine estate on the Robertson Wine Route, its winemaking heritage traces as far back as 1694.
The cool air from Cape Agulhas, high-limestone soil (the highest free limestone in a Winelands area in South Africa) and low acidity adds structure, richness and personality to each of De Wetshof's deliciously quaffable wines.
Its The Site Chardonnay 2016 is matured for 12 months in barrel from single vineyard, with south-facing vines growing on pure limestone soil. It’s textured, mineral and chalky, with a delicious fruit-forward focus. If you like fuller, richer wines, this is your new go-to.
Shop The Site Chardonnay online at Caroline's Fine Wine Cellar.
Kranskop Tannat 2017
A well-respected name in the local wine industry, Newald Marais passionately heads up Kranskop Wines, a boutique wine estate in the Breede River Valley. From the garage of his family’s farm, he creates an impressive medley of vintages, all made in limited quantities to ensure excellence.
A unique addition to the mix, the Kranskop Tannat sings of ripe cherry, strawberry and soft tannins – the perfect food accompaniment.
Shop Kranskop Tannat directly from the Kranskop website.
Kleinhoekkloof Merlot 2015
The drive to Kleinhoekkloof Wine and Olive Farm is a rugged, off-road curl along hillside vineyards; an overview of the farm’s symbiotic relationship with terroir and cultivar in the midst of the Robertson Wine Route.
Embracing the belief that farming in harmony with nature ensures optimal results, the De Jongh family here produces handcrafted wines from small parcels of grapes.
Although not exactly an ‘unusual’ varietal, the Kleinhoekkloof Merlot offers a unique, well-balanced flavour profile that speaks to its cool climate roots while simultaneously evoking a deliciously intense, vibrant body. A good aging wine, for sure.
Shop Kleinhoekkloof wines directly from the estate's website.
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Arendsig Inspirational Grenache Batch 2 2016
The reputation of winemaker Lourens van der Westhuizen precedes him. A prolific, well-respected connoisseur in the Robertson Wine Route valley, Van der Westhuizen crafts seamless wines from one specific vineyard block from his farm. Arendsig is his own label.
Rightfully awarded 92 points in Tim Atkin’s 2018 SA Wine Report, Arendsig Inspirational Grenache Batch 2 is a deliciously juicy and full yet soft single vineyard wine that drinks like velvet.
From vineyards located against the Langeberg Mountains in the Robertson Valley, the wine is made naturally with minimal cellar intervention – and the result is a fruity, well-balanced palate with steely minerality.
Order Arendsig wines online via their website at arendsig.co.za.
Bemind Wyne Wines Methode Cap Classique NV
Winemaker Ilse Van Dijk Schutte purchases grapes from farms across Worcester and the Breede, and crafts unique, deliciously versatile wines from her garage; she's a garagiste through and through.
Based in the quaint town of McGregor, Bemind Wyne Wines is her dream realised. ‘My goal is to create elegant, balanced wines that everyone will enjoy,’ she says – and that they do.
The MCC Brut NV is a fresh, biscuity celebration of pride and passion. Bottle fermented and matured for 12 months (in her garage!) it is an incredibly unique, well-balanced procurement that croons with fresh green apple and soft raspberry.
Shop all of Van Dijk Schutte's wines from the Bemind Wyne Wines website.