Stop wag bly nog ‘n bietjie are lyrics by pretty boy Brendan Peyper and my mantra from my laid-back winter’s escape is the quaint Robertson Wine Valley
When Fridays start off with wine “tasting” at breakfast you know that you are in for an amazing weekend. Think bubbly that was adored by Obama, wine with a family few of Huguenots and waking up on a small cacti farm with plants aging over 50 years at your door step and the faint sound of the on farm cattle mooooing you good mooooorning.
Myself and a few other media were invited by the Robertson Wine Valley to come and explore their vast village and, a valley of mountainous views at every turn and some of South Africa’s most renowned wineries and what they had to offer.
Breakfast at Rooiberg Winery
Breakfast meant coffee by the fire before a country style fare accompanied by wine tasting of a few Rooiberg vintages that the farm had to show off. Rooiberg (red mountain) is home to the biggest red chair in Africa and recently, the famed Graham Beck Game Reserve Range.
News that intrigued me and followed with intrusive questioning of how the farm would cope with the large volume and even more expansive brand and still produce their in house label.
The farm would obviously have kinks in housing such an iconic still wine but would be guided by the team from Graham and The Reserves winemaker for a period of two years. We were advised that the bold Graham Beck symbols on the crease of the bottle’s neck would subtly evolve to depict a “G” and “R” to create a stand-alone brand Game Reserve for the Rooiberg team and their new acquisition.
Methode Cap Classique at Graham Beck
Moments away from the Rooiberg farm is possibly the most coveted brand in the valley. Graham Beck, with mentions in James Bond Novels, Drunk by the beloved Nelson Mandela at his inauguration and by the first black president of America, Barack Obama at his inauguration it is clear to see why this once fruit farm has chosen to focus on what they do, VERY well; Methode Cap Classique.
Iconic African musician, Jeremy loops can be heard in a colossal cold room surrounded by stainless steel tanks, it’s almost poetic how layered tracks are the backing vocal to the layers upon layers of Chardonnay and Pinot that travel a journey of this momentous room, a “mission to the sun”
Offered a thorough tour through the tasting facilities from hand sorting to automated riddling racks it was fascinating to see how a farms process can evolve differ and the sheer volume this pioneer of Methode Cap Classique produces in a short expanse of time.
in a private space over looking the vineyards, surrounded by portraits of Mr Beck we were told that Graham Beck and their team of wine makers have decided that to taste their quality correctly the Champagne flute just doesn’t cut it anymore, leaning towards a more tulip shaped glass to allow the aromas to permeate, giving a true nose of the vintages, from biscuits to lemon peel.
Huguenot Family finds at Le Roux & Fourie
I like taking the road less traveled, giving a voice to those who may need it. Arriving at boutique farm Le Roux & Fourie is one of my most cherished memories. A farm filled with family it oozed out of the wine bottles and lovingly lapped our glasses. A casual rustic family run tasting room. Greeted by the owners and their aged dog made me never wanted to leave. I am a sucker for family and being welcomed as if i had been there many moons before.
The wines are cherishable and the best vintages are far an few between in terms of availability with only 2000 vintages being made of some signature blends. The owners are descendants of the Huguenots and take homage in the heritage they have been offered, true salt of the earth people that translate true passion from soil to glass. A comfortable terrace overlooking the mountains and a flags of the world Labyrinth. I could have simply forgotten the world over a pot of Rooibos and their homemade cheesecake huddled in the corner.
Slow Sipping at Springfield
With the most calming waters and picturesque views, an impromptu picnic at Springfield meant lazing by the waters, slowly sipping the infamous Miss Lucy and ever-delicious Life from Stone. If you’re not drawn to the waters edge, sprawled on a wooden deck there are Springbok at your back and a French face brick styled cellar that makes for the perfect backdrop set against almost marshmallow rolling clouds over head. There’s also the fluffiest “ITS SOOOO FLUFFY” dog that lazes on the lawn, a glass of Lucy in hand this pup and I promise you, you’re no closer to “home”
Textures of Golden Wines at Reelin Private Cellar: River Gold
Rivergold is the newest winery to open on the outskirts of Bonnievale and we were lucky enough to be shown around this farm by the farmer himself. Possibly the most contemporary of the properties in the area. The newly crafted architecture offers sleek links and event more refined wines. Soon to be home to a wedding function venue, with the panoramic mountain ranges and vines that are rooted just moments away. I could think of no better place to say I Do or simply spend an afternoon sprawled on the lawn with a buttery glass of Chardonnay.
If you’re worried about drinking and driving, don’t. There are a number of amazing and affordable drivers to take you around the Vally from Robertson to McGregor, all I ask is when you book your tour make sure you drive around with the local Boere Musiek as loud as possible, badly singing every lyric with a engels se mense accent.
It will make your trip so much more authentic and be sure to check if they have Stop wag bly nog ‘n bietjie by this shirtless twink if they don’t book someone else who does.
To see more about the beautiful cacti & succulent farm, accommodation I spent the night at and their rates visit Mo and Rose at Soekerskloof.
For more on the Robertson Valley vistit them here