Wine News – Page 3

Tutored Tasting in August has health theme

Thousands of words have been written about the health aspects of responsible wine consumption. 

 

Ranging from the benefits of the so-called Mediterranean diet to the positive reactions of heart patients when exposed to red wine as well as the relaxation properties of a glass of wine with a meal, wine lovers have always believed in the positive aspects of their favourite tipple.

 

Avontuur Estate winemaker Jan van Rooyen will climb into the ring with a tutored tasting in the cosy Estate Tasting Room on Saturday 12 August from 11h00-12h30, with the theme:  “Myth versus Fact:  Does wine have carbs?”

 

These regular interactive tastings have become popular as they are not only the perfect way to be exposed to Avontuur’s award-winning wines, but also aim to educate whilst entertaining.  The cost is R100 pp which includes the tasting and a light lunch with a glass of wine.

 

Only 20 seats are available and bookings are essential at winery@avontuurestate.co.za or +27 21 855-3450.

 

Winter Wine Specials on till end-July!

We’ve got some stunning specials on in our tasting room valid till 31 July only, and you’re welcome to pop in and grab some great wines after a tasting experience.  

Start off by obtaining a 3-pack or two of our very popular Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 2014 for only R200!  (The normal price is R252). 

If you’re not around the Cape area, order by phoning Ella and Marcelle during opening times at +27 21 855-3450 or emailing them at winery@avontuurestate.co.za to arrange for delivery.

 

Amateurs and experts agree on top Cab Francs

After the announcement of the Top 6 in this year’s official Cabernet Franc Challenge at Avontuur Estate in March, it was interesting to see the similarities between the crowd favourites at the Western Cape and Gauteng Carnivals, and those of the judges in the blind tasting panel of the annual competition.

The Challenge Top 6 in alphabetical order are:  Doolhof Wine Estate Single Vineyard Collection Cabernet Franc 2015, Kaapzicht Cabernet Franc 2014, My Wyn Cabernet Franc 2014, Nelson Wine Estate Lisha Nelson Cabernet Franc 2014, Rainbow’s End Wine Estate Limited Release 2015 and Warwick Estate Cabernet Franc 2013.  Uva Mira was awarded a Gold Medal.

At the Western Cape event which took place on Saturday 20 May at Avontuur Estate (Also the sponsor of the Carnivals), the top 5 were:  Hermanuspietersfontein, Rainbow’s End, Uva Mira, Doolhof and Nelson Vineyards.

In Gauteng at The Wanderers on Friday, 2 June the 5 crowd favourites were:  Uva Mira, Hermanuspietersfontein, The Garajeest, Nelson and Raats.

“What is clear when looking at the overall scores from both events, is that the public mostly scored the same wineries highly in Cape Town and Gauteng, even taking into account that there were less and slightly different wineries present at the Gauteng event,” says organisor Cobie van Oort of CVO Marketing.  “The “voting” adds a fun element to the event with the public enthusiastically supporting the scoring process. “

The winners of a selection of Cabernet Francs, kindly sponsored by the participating wineries are for the Avontuur event:  David Taylor, Jani Kuipers and Zolia Rumble.  In Johannesburg the winners are:  Thato Ramagaga, Denton Claassens and Craig Morrissey. 

Avontuur heads to Gauteng for Cab Franc Carnival

After a wonderful Cape Cab Franc Carnival on 20 May at Avontuur Estate, 15 of the best SA Producers are heading to Gauteng for the first of these events on Friday, 2 June from 5-9 pm at The Wanderers Club in Illovo, Johannesburg. 

Avontuur winemaker Jan van Rooyen and our wine ambassador in Gauteng, Heinrich Adams-Witbooi will man our stand and introduce the newly released 2014 vintage to the crowd.   

“It’s an intimate event with visitors interacting with wineries, enjoying a meal or snack during the event and relaxing with friends in between tastings.  Live music by the Swing Cats Trio will add to the vibe,” says Cobie van Oort of CVO Marketing, organisor of the Carnival. 

The very popular public “vote” to choose the favourite wine of the day, will once again take place which will give an interesting perspective on the differences between expert and amateur palates, especially after the results of the blind judging of the 2017 Cabernet Franc Challenge were released in early March.

Participating wineries are:   Avontuur Estate,  Delaire Graff Estate, Edgebaston,   Hermanuspietersfontein,  Lynx Wines,  Mont du Toit Cellar, Nelson Wine Estate, Oldenburg Vineyards, Ormonde Vineyards, Raats Family Wines,  The Garajeest,  Uva Mira Mountain Vineyards, Warwick Estate, Whalehaven and Zorgvliet Wines.

Tickets are R200 pp which includes the tastings, a R50 discount coupon to spend on food and a tasting glass.  Tickets from   www.plankton.mobi or www.computicket.co.za  as well as at Computicket branches. 

Follow us on Facebook at Cabernet Franc Carnival or on Twitter at @Cabfrancarnival .  More information on www.cvomarketing.co.za

Avontuur hits 21 years with Cab Franc

The release of the 2014 Avontuur Estate Cabernet Franc celebrates the production of a single varietal of this wine for 21 years. “We’re starting to grow up at last and maturity is (hopefully) just around the corner, “says winemaker Jan van Rooyen with his tongue firmly in his cheek.

The first vintage of a single varietal Cabernet Franc produced at Avontuur was from the 1996 harvest followed by a 1999 vintage which was reviewed in John Platter’s Wine Guide of 2001.  Including those first two, Avontuur has produced nine bottled vintages over the last 21 years. To add to this heritage,  the Estate is now in the third year of sponsoring the annual Cabernet Franc Carnival, which takes place at Avontuur as well. 

Some interesting stats found by Jan whilst digging through the archives are the following:  The first bottling was indeed the 1996 vintage and the next was 1999 vintage under the label “Avon Ridge” (Platter 2001).

Then came 2000 and 2001, but in Platter 2008 it was reported that the Cab Franc was discontinued.  It re-appears with the 2008 vintage in Platter 2011. Thereafter the vintages were 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014.  Thus we had 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014, making it nine bottled vintages over 21 years.

“We are huge Cab Franc fans and love hosting the Carnival as well as the Cab Franc Challenge at the farm.  Marketing for this unusual varietal is definitely needed and we hope to contribute towards the awareness of the grape with our ongoing support,” says Avontuur co-owner Philip Taberer.

The Avontuur 2011 and 2014 Cabernet Francs will be available for tasting at the Cab Franc Carnival at Avontuur on Saturday 20 May and also at the first Gauteng outing for the event, on Friday 2 June at Wanderers Club in Johannesburg.

“We hope to offer festival goers an overview of the two vintages from our Estate.  The fruitiness and perfume of the 2014 should be an excellent foil for the dark ripe fruit and earthiness of the 2011,” says Jan.  Both wines will be for sale at the event as a 2-pack at R225, which gives a wonderful opportunity to taste the old and new together.

Tickets for the Cabernet Franc Carnival at Avontuur Estate and at Wanderers Club in Johannesburg can be purchased from www.plankton.mobi, www.computicket.com or from Computicket stores. Tickets are R200 each which includes the tastings, a branded crystal glass and a R50 food coupon.

Avontuur celebrates National Wine Challenge Medals

Winemaker Jan van Rooyen attended the Awards Ceremony for the 2017 National Wine Challenge last night to collect our awards, with the high point being the Double Platinum and Top 100 certificate for the Avontuur Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. 

Over and above the “big” one, Avontuur was also awarded a Double Gold for Sarabande Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2015 and Double Silvers for Pinot Noir/Chardonnay 2016, Cabernet/Merlot 2014 and Luna de Miel Chardonnay Reserve 2015.

When asked to comment about the achievement, Jan had this to say:

“The Cabernet Sauvignon variety features in 2 of the awards for Avontuur Estate this year and confirms, yet again, that the Helderberg area is a top location for Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

Notably the Chardonnay also came through beautifully – on its own as the barrel fermented Luna de Miel  – as well as in a blend with Pinot Noir.

Having the Sarabande Sauvignon Blanc Reserve from the 2015 vintage score a Double Gold here is truly inspiring and rewarding to our efforts in shaping and developing this brand.

We are grateful to the vineyard team, the marketing team and the cellar team and many thanks to NWC Top 100 for honouring us in this way.”

The wines are available from the Estate Tasting Room and selected retail outlets in the Western Cape and Gauteng.  Wine lovers are welcome to order via our wine shop South African Wine Store or directly by emailing Ella or Marcelle in our tasting room at winery@avontuurestate.co.za

 

Q & A with our winemaker

With another harvest behind us and the grapes safely in the cellar, our winemaker Jan van Rooyen shares some of his thoughts for the future in a Q & A session.

  1. Tell us a little bit about the vineyards and progress there?

I’m really happy with the work we’re doing on our Pinot Noir vineyards as they are planted on a great south-facing slope closest to the sea, which just screams quality.  I also personally love Pinot Noir, so it is a treat to work with these grapes.

The small block of Petit Verdot (1 ha) is destined to become an integral part of our flagship Bordeaux-style blend, the Baccarat for which I always strive to get the best grapes possible.  Basically the better this grape is, the better our blends will be. 

This brings me to our “bread-and-butter” line, the Cabernet/Merlot, which will eventually possibly  feature a little “injection” of Shiraz to add some complexity.   Although you don’t want to mess with a winning recipe, one can always improve!

The Viognier has been coming along for about three years now and it’s already playing a positive albeit tiny role in some of the whites eg the Luna de Miel Chardonnay Reserve and the Sarabande Sauvignon Blanc Reserve.  Further evolution could include the use of Viognier in our top reds as well.

  1. I believe there’s a new dessert wine in the offing?

One of the exciting new products planned for this year is the Natural Sweet Viognier which will be released under the Above Royalty label.  We were lucky enough to bring in a wonderfully healthy ripe Viognier for the 2017 vintage and with our flexible approach to the dessert wine product line, we would bottle it as a natural dessert wine to replace the current fortified Liqueur Wine which is nearly sold out.

  1. You are phasing in the new Estate labels. How do you feel about them?

The new packaging with its distinctive diamond shape is simple and modern and suits the wines we’re planning to make this year and over the next few years.  The label has been received very well in trade and we love the elegance and clarity of the design. 

  1. Update us on the progress made with the Pinot Noir Chardonnay Blend.

From its inception as the Vintner’s Blend, this wine has been a winner.  Three years ago we decided to include it in the Estate range and add some quality elements to it, which has paid off.  This is an exciting wine to work with as it’s evolving all the time, and it’s great to see wine consumers enjoying it too.  The signature has been established and it’s coming more and more into its own with every new vintage.

  1. Avontuur is doing a lot of work to promote Cabernet Franc amongst wine lovers. What is your take on this varietal?

I am proud to announce that we have now been making a single varietal Cabernet Franc at Avontuur for 21 years!   The first one was produced in 1996 and was mentioned in the 1998 Platter’s.  Our 2014 is being released and it’s a fruity wine with fine tannins, elegance and that typical “fynbos” character always prevalent in our Cab Francs.  This year sees the third Cab Franc Carnival sponsored by Avontuur Estate and it’s growing every year, although we do try to keep it niche and upmarket to suit our farm and intimate family-orientated approach.

  1. Pinotage is our “national” grape. What do you think about the Avontuur version?

With new plantings coming nicely into their own our Pinotage is a quality product with a loyal fan club who support it throughout.  I would love to “play” a bit with the style as the diversity of Pinotage is becoming quite a driver in the category and the grape lends itself to experimentation, always keeping to our Estate positioning though.

Harvest 2017 successfully completed

It’s been a busy, hot and dry harvest with increased yield coming into the cellar in spite of the negative outcomes initially expected by the industry.  Winemaker Jan van Rooyen and the vineyard and cellar teams have been going basically non-stop since mid-January and it was with a huge cheer that the last bins were delivered safely to the cellar last Monday.

Harvest team 2017 celebrate the end of the harvest!

It’s harvest time in the Boland

Harvest 2017 started off in January with the first Chardonnay and Pinot Noir being harvested for our Methode Cap Classique Sparkling wine.  The team is currently bringing in Sauvignon Blanc and the cellar is in full swing.

Our tasting room offers visitors the chance to taste some of the ripe grapes, so when you are at the farm, make a point of trying those!

Harvest time in the tasting room

Good luck for vintage 2017.  We hope it will be a good one.

 

New wine packaging launched

Avontuur Estate is proud to start off the New Year with a brand-new look for the Estate Range which can be seen for the first time on the newly released  Pinot Noir/Chardonnay 2016,currently only available from the Estate tasting room.

The project was started in mid-2016 by brothers and co-owners Michael and Philip Taberer, who drove the process throughout with input from various experts in the field.

The   new livery sees the brand name taking centre stage with the wine information conveyed clearly and simply. The prominent horse icon commemorates the important Thoroughbred Stud business side of the Estate.

“We did a lot of research and it’s amazing how much work needs to be done to create clear communication and simplicity. I feel we’ve accomplished a great look, which highlights our brand and quality positioning,” says Michael Taberer.  “The distinctive diamond shaped label will stand out amongst the crowd and we hope that it will soon become iconic for the Avontuur Estate wine brand,” Philip added.

Pinot Noir Chardonnay 2016 styled square

Designers “The Mark Studio” comments on their creative thinking; “If we had to summarize the process into one word it would be ‘refining’.  It was taking from what the current labels had and modernizing it, giving the elements a bit more breathing room on the label. We also increased the real estate of the label as the previous labels were visually too small for the bottle.”

The rich history in equine breeding was unique and therefore it was leveraged and showcased. Hence the iconography of the race horse, its proud pose and that it is foiled.

“The goal of the label was to appeal to both new and established wine drinkers.  The foil colour was changed from gold to copper as it felt more approachable, whilst still holding classic wine cues,” the design team concluded.

After the Pinot Noir/Chardonnay 2016, the Cabernet/Merlot 2014 and Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 will follow.