– GREAT AGED WINES AND A VIEW FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE VALLEY…
Most of the Franschhoek farms are closer to town or up on the hills which look down over the town and towards Helshoogte and Cape Town. This is one of the first farms we’ve been to on the opposite side of the valley and the view is just as spectacular if not better!
You can access Mont Rochelle from Franschhoek main road, just past the Pick n Pay, but we drove along the La Provence road which was a little more bumpy and scenic. Another beautiful setting and very good wines.
For those of us who have not yet been to France, the tasting room and Country Kitchen restaurant are exactly what you would picture an aged old winery in the French countryside to look like. Sitting inside tasting wine, while admiring the view through the doorway surrounded by stained glass.
Their tasting room is actually open 7 days a week and until 7pm, which makes this a great spot for an alternative after work drink.
We just popped in for the wine tasting on a leisurely Sunday afternoon.
While the cellar dates back close on 150 years, it was previously used as a fruit packing shed. It was only in 1994 when the first vineyards were planted and in 2001 when it was purchased by Rwanda born Telecommunications Mogul Miko Rwayitare, making it the first black owned wine farm in South Africa.
For obvious reason their flagship wine is named MIKO. This wine is a barrel fermented CHARDONNAY (a favourite of its namesake) and is only produced from the very best grapes, the wine will in fact not be produced in a year where the grapes are not their absolute best. The wine is barrel fermented in Hungarian oak (I have only ever heard of French or American), which apparently adds more vanilla and honey flavours. The wine is excellent!! It is as smooth as soft, slightly melted butter and has a perfect balance of soft apricot and nut flavours.
Mont Rochelle prides itself in their traditional wine making methods and as such most of the wines are barrel fermented for up to two year and then spend a further 4 to 6 years in the bottle before they are available for purchasing. The try and keep a French style to their wines. On the tasting list, the youngest wine we tasted was a 2008 vintage. Superb wines! We have become so used to drinking young (excellent) wines which are made to drink now or within three years at most, that we have almost forgotten the beauty and elegance of a proper, sometimes old school, aged wine. The reds, almost brown in colour, have stronger fumes on the nose but a smoothness and deep red earth flavour that is simply wonderful! No tannins and very heavy legs.
We tasted the Rosé 2011 which is 80% Shiraz, 20% Viognier and as a result, not sweet at all, slightly spicy from the Shiraz. A little bland I thought, but different with that distinct Viognier vanilla essence finish.
Onto the reds…
ARTEMIS 2008 – Cab, Merlot, Shiraz, Mouvedre blend. Spicy cherry and fruitcake flavours with a very smooth finish. Bring on Christmas!
MERLOT 2006 – EXCELLENT! Quite brown in colour and you can taste the age. If a wine can be beautiful and elegant, this one is standing out on the red carpet. We took a bottle home, apparently it can age for another three or four years – we’ll see how long it lasts on the rack.
CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2007 – Almost the colour of coca-cola. Black currant flavours, typical Cab Sav earthiness but better, soft, and really really smooth.
SYRAH 2007 – Mint, pepper and violets with a meatiness to it. Strong and subtle in one glass – delicious!
It has been a while since we’ve had genuine old school, aged wines and these were thoroughly enjoyed! Perhaps not everyone’s cup of tea as their age tends to tone down the rich fruity flavours, but I would certainly like to add a few more of these to my wine rack.
MONT ROCHELLE HOTEL & MOUNTAIN VINEYARDS
Dassenberg Road, Franschhoek
Tel: +27 21 876 2770
Lat 33 55 05.14 Lon 19 06 31.80