Wine News – Page 4

Guided Farm Walks launched at Avontuur

Avontuur Estate, owned by the Taberer family, is best-known for its award-winning premiere range wines named after its race horses, stunning setting against the Helderberg and the internationally acclaimed race horses bred at its highly rated stud operation.

Now visitors have the opportunity to experience the Estate with a guided tour which will take in some of the best parts of this scenic business.

Each tour starts at the tasting room and takes in the vineyards, paddocks and horses, and interesting sites like the historic manor house and the Taberer family memorial bench. It ends off with a seasonal speciality tasting like a biltong and wine pairing, a nougat and wine pairing and the ever-popular chocolate cup with a shot of Avontuur’s Liqueur wine, Above Royalty.

The walk will take 30- 45 minutes, with another 30 for the tasting. The cost is R120 pp, which includes the tour, tasting and a take-away illustrated map.

Kids welcome, but obviously alcohol will not be served. Walkers must be moderately fit, wear comfortable shoes and be protected against the sun. Not suitable for wheelchairs.

The guided walks are available only during week days, and pre-booking at least 24 hours in advance is essential at or +27 21 855-3450. A minimum of 6 paying persons and a maximum of 20 can be accommodated. Smaller groups are welcome to do a self-guided option @ R50 pp.

For a more substantial meal, the Avontuur Estate Restaurant is open daily for breakfast and lunch and dinner on Wednesdays and Fridays.

“Pinotage Deconstructed” on Pinotage Day

With our “national” grape, Pinotage being honoured on Saturday, 10 October on International Pinotage Day, Avontuur Estate is planning a fun morning to celebrate one of our favourites too!

Winemaker Jan van Rooyen has called in some friends to help make the experience special and will start off at 11h00 with a vinoteque tasting of three Avontuur Pinotages and three Minelli Pinot Noir’s to show off the “genetics” of the varietal, and specifically how it has developed at Avontuur over the years.

After the tasting, guests will enjoy a Avontuur Pinotage Chorizo skewer, which was created by the team from the well-known Bird Street Butchery in Stellenbosch.

Owner Bert Desseyn explains more about the process. “We’ve been around for 60 years as a family business and I love experimenting with different meat products. My favourites are the smoked meats and I pride myself in the quality of the products we offer our clients. So this invitation to play around with wine when making the sausage was a great deal of fun,” he says.

The Chorizo is mildly spiced with a definite wine tang, which makes it a perfect match with the Pinotage. Guests will be able to purchase the Chorizo to take home on the day. The skewer will be served with a freshly made “braaibroodjie” and a glass of Pinotage in keeping with the home grown theme.

The light lunch will be finished off with a very special ice cream made of our Minelli Pinot Noir. Ella Grimston from our tasting room is very handy in the kitchen and created the recipe for the event. “It’s a very light pink colour and is creamy and sweet like an ice cream should be, but ends off with a dry note,” she says. To try the recipe for yourself email Ella on and let us know what you think. Follow Ella on face book at Bake Your Day to see more of her yummy baking skills.

Minelli and Minelli Ice cream (427x640)

The cost for our “Pinotage Deconstructed” morning is R120 pp, and bookings are essential at +27 21 855-3450 or as space is limited.

It’s Gold medals galore at Avontuur!

We started off the week on a high when the Vitis Vinifera awards were announced and Avontuur Baccarat 2010 won  a Double Gold  and Luna de Miel Chardonnay 2014 was awarded a Gold Medal!  These wines were released this year, and we’re hoping that this is the start of many more accolades for winemaker Jan van Rooyen, GM Pippa Mickleburgh and their teams, who manage the process from vineyard to cellar.


Both wines are available for tasting in the tasting room and are hugely popular amongst wine lovers and experts. Don’t miss out on experiencing the wine when you visit the Estate.

Start Heritage Month with Vinoteque tasting

Around 20 wine lovers are invited to attend the Vinoteque tasting of older Avontuur wines with winemaker Jan van Rooyen from 11h00-12h30 on Saturday, 5 September at the Estate Tasting Room.

Jan explains that he and the team tasted quite a few wines from the private storage area in the cellar, before deciding on a flight of white and red wines for this once-off event.

“We wanted to show wines which we still produce today, and after an extensive tasting, we decided on our Sauvignon Blanc as it aged beautifully over the decades and shows once again that this habit we have in South Africa of drinking white wines so early, is actually wrong! Our flagship red, the Baccarat was a no-brainer due to its stunning ageing potential, and proves once again that the Helderberg is justly revered for its great wines made from the Bordeaux varietals.”

The tasting costs R100 pp, which includes a welcome drink, the tasting, a light lunch and something sweet afterwards. Bookings and pre-payments are essential at or +27 21 855-3450.

Which stores stock our Winter Warmer Wines?

We’ve got two more weeks of our Winter Warmers campaign in the Western Cape and Gauteng coming up with five wines at great prices, specially for wine lovers locally and up-country.

Selected stores will present the Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet/Merlot, Pinotage and Pinot Noir/Chardonnay for your enjoyment.

Stores listing the wines are:


Stellenbosch: Spar Die Boord, Tops Welgevonden, Tops Stellenbosch, Spar De Jonker

Somerset West:  Blue Bottle Sunrise, Spar Vergelegen, Tops Vergelegen, Heldervue Prima Liquors, Spar Gordon’s Bay, Tops Strand, Spar de Helderbosch, Liquor City Somerset Mall, Central Mini Market Somerset West Liquor Express, Village Discount Liquors Gordon’s Bay.

Cape Town including Northern Suburbs:  Tops Aurora, Spar Aurora, Tops Vredehoek, Tops Observatory, Tops Cape Gate, Tops Adderley street, Food Lovers Market Cavendish, Tops Royal Ascot Milnerton, Alphen Spar & Blue Bottle Alcon Liquors.

Other areas: Tops Kleinmond, Protea Wine Barrel Kleinmond


Liquor City Broadacres & Liquor City Lone Hill
Spar & Tops Glenfair, Spar en Tops Pineslopes, Spar Groenkloof, Tops Retail Crossing, Spar Queenswood

Food Lovers Markets:
Bruma, Gateway, Hillfox, Kyalami, Montana, Nicolway, Norwood

Bootleggars:  Fourways

If your favourite store is not on this list, feel free to contact Cobie van Oort at and we will do our utmost to get the wines in-store.

Not to leave our local fans out of the excitement, our tasting room will feature one of these wines per week, at a special price too!  Like our face book page or twitter to keep up to date with each “Wine of the Month.

The campaign ends on 31 July 2015.

Pinotage Web

Chardonnay fans invited to tasting room

With the new Luna de Miel Chardonnay Reserve 2014 just released in the tasting room, we’re inviting all fans of this buttery style of Chardonnay to visit us for a tasting this week.

After a glowing report by Master of Wine Dave March, who said:

“Already there is a tinge of pale gold on such a young wine, and the nose confirms use of new oak but through that comes bright, perfumed citrus fruit which include lemon and grapefruit which pierce through the creamy woody notes. A touch of Viognier no doubt helps that hint of the exotic.”

“The palate is full and mouth-filling, alcohol is indiscernible and at first there is oak and cream but that clears and again, ripe and clean citrus notes linger. Lots of melon, ripe peach and tangy pear show at the finish, suggesting that the wine will mature nicely as the oak settles, bringing everything into balance and offering a serious, full-on wine with quality fruit and some impact. Not too bold, though, there is a precision in the fruit that points to a wine of finesse rather than brute force. A touch more fine and controlled than 2013 just needing more time.”

Drink 2016-2024
90+ / 100

At the giveaway price of R145 per bottle for a wine of this caliber, you deserve to have some in your cellar!

New Vintage of Cab Sauv Released

As the Helderberg wine area in Stellenbosch is known world-wide as the “golden triangle” for Bordeaux varietals, the release of a new Cabernet Sauvignon is always exciting!

Visit our tasting room and try the 2012 Avontuur Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, which made its appearance last week.

Winemaker Jan van Rooyen says it’s an elegant but full-bodied wine and he is proud to fly the flag for our area!  “It was selected from two specific blocks and after good colour and flavour extraction and malo in the barrel, it was aged in 2nd fill French Oak for 13 months,” he explains.  It is therefore not over-oaked but has the desired backbone from integrated tannins which is what a good Helderberg Cab should give the drinker.

According to the tasting room team, the wine has been well-received since release and visitors are invited to come in for a tasting.  The wine can be purchased at the Estate at R102 per bottle.


New Premiere range wines leave the starting blocks

Avontuur Estate, the Wine and Thoroughbred Estate on the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West announced the release of three new vintages of their premiere range wines, all named after one of the famous horses who’ve graced the estate over the years.

The Sarabande Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2014 is named after a famous grey race mare who is producing winners every year and is happily ensconced in the paddocks with her new foal at the moment. The wine is crisp and complex from long lees contact and just a touch of French oak. “This produces a Sauvignon which is more of a food wine than our unwooded Estate version, and I would recommend a cheese platter, fresh grilled fish or a salad with this wine”, says winemaker Jan van Rooyen. (Cellar Door price per bottle till 1/4/15: R110 Vat inc)

Sarabande and her 2013 Dynasty foal.

Sarabande and her 2013 Dynasty foal.

The long-awaited Luna de Miel Chardonnay Reserve 2013 offers a fresher style of Chardonnay than the previous vintage, with oak fermenting and ageing subtly present as well as typical malolactic characteristics, but with a full-bodied citrus and fresh ginger kick to the palate. This wine commemorates an imported mare from Argentina and the name means “honeymoon” in Spanish, which is the reason so many honeymoon destinations love to stock it! (Cellar Door price per bottle till 1/4/15: R120 Vat inc)

Minelli Pinot Noir Reserve (Expected release date, mid-March)  is named after one of the most prolifically successful mares ever resident at Avontuur as she is the mother of one time Equus Sprinter of the year Val de Ra, and many other Grade 1 winners. The wine is like her; dark and relaxed with soft fruit and oak flavours which just make you want more. Winemaker Jan van Rooyen recommends this wine with a charcuterie selection or pork fillet with mushrooms and herbs. “I believe this fruity style and the relatively low price is partly the reason for the recent interest in Stellenbosch Pinot’s and I’m happy that we have a fan club for this wine,” he says. (Cellar Door price per bottle till 1/4/15: R165 Vat inc.)

The wine is available in selected outlets in the Western Cape and Gauteng or from the Estate Tasting Room and Restaurant, which is open daily. Visit our wine page for a list of outlets nationally.

Harvest update from winemaker Jan van Rooyen

Winemakers are generally known to be creative souls and Avontuur’s winemaker Jan van Rooyen or Janwijn as he is known in the industry is no exception.

Knee-deep in the harvest at the moment, Jan still finds time to listen to his favourite opera aria’s and classical music very loudly as the tonnes of grapes come into the cellar and expensive machinery rumble in the background.

This is also the time of the year when he entertains us with his musings on the harvest and we share some of his thoughts verbatim below!

“WEEK 3 OF 2015
While I am writing, the sounds of In Trutina by Carl Orff are resounding through the cellar from my speakers, so here goes:
The 2015 harvest @ Avontuur Estate opened on Friday the 16th of January with some beautiful Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for our Brut (from blocks C5 and C2 respectively) !! Thankfully no major breakdowns occurred and by 12h30 the first press of the new season started…

I took the time to quickly go through our earlier records of the harvest and noted that this day was another first time achievement for us:  16 January is the earliest harvest day ever…! (Well, I could only track back until 1998 and saw that the closest to this date was 17 Jan in 2006 – also with Chardonnay, by the way…)

WOW, is this climate change… ?”

And then a few weeks later into the harvest, more thoughts followed:

“Whilst I am in the cellar working and waiting for the Eskom shedding in order to resuscitate the heart of a wine cellar (i.e. the cooling plant), I thought it is time for a few more words on our 2015 harvest progress…

Week 5 (26 Jan – 1 Feb)
On Tuesday 27 Jan the first SBL came in from block D5 (must be earliest ever…?) plus more P Noir from E2 (for Minelli) and with this we already finished our second block of PN for the season…!
Later that week followed more Chard from E5 and C5 respectively and we then also klapped all the PN from D2 over 2 days (again for Minelli), which meant that by 30 Jan we had reached our first half-century, yep 51.943 tons in the cellar, exactly one calendar day after the start of harvest last year…!

Week 6 (2 Feb – 8 Feb)
Another exciting week as we took more SBL from D5 followed by all of the Viognier from C2 on 5 Feb, looking so good on the day that we did our harvest blessing (many thanks for that…) and this day we totaled 100 bins for the season so far (together with the 1 022 kissies of the first 4 harvest days, we are well on our way towards the first century…)

Friday 6 Feb saw us take the last of the Pinot Noir for 2015 (yeah !) with the arrival of 6.344 tons from old AB2 block, so we ended the week with 74.178 tons in the cellar as new arrival Jacobus joined Rensie-Lorenzo and myself to complete the cellar team for 2015.

Phew, the week ahead will see more SBL and Chard falling safely in our cellar,

Winemaker signing off…


Wine harvest starts early in 2015

Winemaker Jan van Rooyen and his team are already busy with the harvesting of the Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes for our highly rated Methode Cap Classique Brut, which uses a blend of these two grape varietals.

“Although we’re starting two weeks earlier than last year, the grapes are healthy and I’m happy with the quality coming into the cellar,” Jan says.

Visitors can enjoy the harvest with us as we have samples of the day’s grapes for tasting in our tasting room, and it’s interesting to taste the “source” material and then the wine made from that varietal and see how it reflects the characteristics of the grape.

When visiting the tasting room, and if you’re interested in seeing a bit more about the harvesting process and the action in the cellar, Jan has offered to show guests around informally if he is available and if possible to do so.


“We don’t do formal cellar tours at the moment, but if I am available and not too hectically busy at the time, I’m happy to invite interested parties into “my domain”,” Jan says.  Visitors must just understand that the visits are completely at the winemaker’s discretion and is not available over weekends.

Visit us for a tasting of our award-winning wines and we would love to share some of the excitement of the 2015 harvest with you.