South African wines are the most sought-after wines in the world and my limited knowledge of the wine world has led me to believe that we have many treasures being exported from the Western Cape. Recently I got to enjoy some of those beautiful wines when we went on a short tour of the Western Cape. Many of these wines have won many accolades and after tasting them first hand I wondered to myself what rocks I have been living under.
So, in no particular order I have listed some of the wine estates that we visited and I believe are worth visiting so you can find what your palette enjoys. In adding, some of these places enjoyed even more because the photographer in me lives off taking pictures of aesthetically pleasing spaces. I mean every good glass of wine deserves a beautiful image to accompany it, right?
Excelsior Wine Estate
With an elaborate history the Excelsior has been in existence since 1859. The estate was divided to allow horse breeding and vineyards were planted. The horse breeding was very successful and they also bred some race winning horses. However, today the Estate now focuses more on producing beautiful wines. What I also found fascinating is the fact that their wines are named after their horses and previous De Wet family members. From the range we tasted I enjoyed the Evanthius Cabernet Sauvignon which is a full-bodied wine.
Van Loveren Family Vineyards
Home of the famous Four Cousins this place really fascinated me because of their relationship trees and what some of these trees stand for or when they were planted. Besides the beautiful tree garden Van Loveren has long list of wines that I would say belong on the top shelf. Many of these are award winning including my favourite MCC from the estate Christina MCC Brut. My greatest highlight here was meeting one of the four cousins and definitely discovering Christina.
Esona Boutique Wines
One of the youngest Wine Estates I’ve ever visited is Esona, the name means ‘The Very One’. Esona first planted vines in 2004, these were the Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay vines. Since then the story of Esona has continued to evolve and in 2012 Caryl’s bistro was introduced. Being a small wine estate Ensona only produces small batches of each variant bottled for sale. My highlight definitely was meeting the owners Rowan and Caryl. I don’t know about you but I really feel connected to a place when you speak to people and you see their passion coming through very much like Rowan. Even more so the wine tasting experience was very memorable because they stimulate all your senses including ambient music and basement area where the wine tasting takes place. The wines I enjoyed the most here were the 2015 Chardonnay and the 2019 Sauvignon Blanc.
One of the most interesting stories about how MCC is made came from Silverthorn Wines. With an interesting family story about how they came into existence. It is the use of secondary fermentation in the bottle that was news to my ears. The process then continues for lengthy period of time before the final product is released to the public. In adding, the names of the MCC range is equally as interesting with “The Green Man” being the flagship MCC. It’s still safe to say the Jewel Box and The Genie have equal importance to the collection. With that said, I found the first product before the fermentation process could be bottled as is but this would put the MCC makers in a different category. Overall, the quality of MCC’s produced at Silverthorn is incredible with my favourite from the range being “The Genie” which is kept in the bottle for 48 months before its sold.
Reitvallei Wine Estate
As South Africa’s oldest family-owned wine estate, Reitvallei was established in 1864 meaning the Burger family has continued to produce wines for six generations. With a fascinating history the wine estate is decorated with family portraits all over the reception area which gives a visual representation as to how long it’s been around for. With an extensive wine selection, I can’t help but revert to the John B Chardonnay Brut Sparkling 2019.
The two things about the wine Estates I enjoyed the most was the stories behind them and I think the other was attributed by the hot weather. I humbly enjoyed the fresh tasting wines because they made sense at the time. The beauty of wine is the fact that many factors contribute to its taste making the Roberson Wine Valley an intriguing place to produce wine and an even more exciting place for wine lovers to explore.