When your family has farmed your land for 150 years and you are the 6th generation winemaker, I reckon you are due some respect. When you are still making a wine from a vineyard planted by an ancestor on 1908 and winning prizes with it, double respect is due. Kobus Burger now holds the family baton and is making some really fine wines on the family’s Robertson wine estate.
Rietvallei underscored its versatility on the wine competition circuit this week by its inclusion in the 4th Top 100 SA Wines Competition. The wine – the Rietvallei Classic Estate Muscadel 2013, a joy of a wine. This follows on the success other Rietvallei wines achieved last year when its Chardonnay 2012 was awarded a Gold Medal at the Chardonnay du Monde Competition in France and was also selected as one of the competition’s Top 10 Wines. The Rietvallei Sauvignon Blanc 2012 was awarded a Gold medal at the Michelangelo Wine Competition 2012. This competition is judged by an international panel.
Says Kobus “A place in this year’s Top 100 SA Wines is a great privilege as everyone is aware of the fact that South Africa has never had so many wine producers and so many good wines. Having one of our Muscadels placed in the Top 100 is an honour as it recognises a traditional wine style which has become synonymous with Rietvallei, especially in this celebratory year, the farm’s 150th anniversary.” He adds, ”I am pleased the way the Top 100 SA Wines has grown since its inception four years ago, and it is now undoubtedly one of South Africa’s leading wine competitions. With the acclaimed foreign judges in the panel, I welcome their recognition of Muscadel, a wine-style I have always believed to be one in which South Africa leads the world in terms of quality and production techniques. Few wine-drinkers will let the opportunity of trying one of South Africa’s Top 100 wines go by and we at Rietvallei are elated to be in such good company.”
Rietvallei’s Estéanna White 2011, this wine’s predecessor, a blended white wine, was in Top 100 SA Wines in 2012. A four way blend, the Rietvallei Estéanna White 2012 comes from some ontresting vineyards. The vineyards of the Chenin Blanc component were planted in deep red Karoo soil in 1948 and is the third oldest Chenin vineyard in South Africa. The Sauvignon Blanc vineyards were planted in the alluvial soils on the banks of the Breede River 30 years ago, the Chardonnay in 2004 and the Viognier, the youngest in 2006 in deep calcareous soils.
The grapes were separately picked and separately vinified and barrel matured before final blending. The Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc were partly tank fermented and then transferred to new French Oak barrels halfway through fermentation. 20% of the Sauvignon Blanc was cold fermented in tank and combined with to the final blend to add an enchanting acidity. The Chardonnay was barrel fermented in new French oak from the start. The final blend is Sauvignon Blanc led with 61% and the balance is made up of 26% Chardonnay, 11% Chenin Blanc and 2% Viognier.
It looks like: Gem bright pale gold straw.
It smells like: Fresh green fruit like fig and the full round aromas of winter melon. Undertow of green tropical limes.
It tastes like: The fruit of the nose follows seamlessly on to the palate. There is a wave of zippy acidity and a wash of cashew nut creaminess and vanilla from the oak fermentation and maturation. Long lingering aftertaste makes you want to come back for more. Also an indicator for a wine which will last. If you can bear to lay a couple of bottles aside and delay the pleasure, it will be multiplied in years to come.
It’s good with: This is the sort of wine I love to drink at sunset with little nibbles of delicious food. Sam Linsell, well known food stylist, photographer and blogger on her website Drizzle and Dip, is always worth a visit for something different and interesting. Her pear tartines with blue cheese and honey – click here for the recipe – would go down well with this wine. The rich flavours of the wine, a perfect match to the full flavours of the tartine. A butter roasted organic chicken with shallots, carrots and potatoes roasted around it comes to mind too.
Read more about Rietvallei – click here