'Valley of Vines and Roses' – Robertson
About 2 hours drive from Cape Town in a north-easterly direction on the popular Route 62, lies the Robertson Wine Valley. Dubbed the 'valley of vines and roses', the Robertson district's lime-rich soils make the area eminently suitable for racehorse stud farming (the pastures being considered ideal for bone structure development) and also, of course, Wine growing.
Robertson falls within a Mediterranean climate but it lies in the rain shadow of the mountain ranges that separate it from the Coastal Region so in a good year the average rainfall may only be 300mm compared with 600mm to 800mm in Stellenbosch. Its lifeblood is thus the Breede River that runs through the valley – but it was only with the development of the canal system in the early 1900’s that water could be channelled from the fertile alluvial banks to the more interesting soils further up the slopes. Enter drip irrigation in the 1960s and there they were – the perfect conditions for making quality wine: “sunlight held together by water”. Summer temperatures can be high during the day but cooling south-easterly winds channel moisture-laden air into the valley and temperatures drop drastically in the evening.
Robertson is renowned for the quality of its wines due to the diverse geology and topography and consequently its soils. While traditionally considered white wine territory and known mainly for its Chardonnays and more recently for the quality of its Sauvignon Blanc, it is also the source of some of the Cape's finest Methode Cap Classique (Graham Beck range) and red wines, particularly Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. The distinctive fortified dessert wines (De Wetshof Cape Muscadel & Robertson Almond Grove Riesling NLH) for which it was originally famed continue to be produced too.
Chardonnays from Robertson show ripe yellow fruit and citrus aromas with an elegant textured structure, enriched by oak maturation. Chalky and mineral characteristics clearly indicate the limestone soil cultivation. De Wetshof, specialist producer of Chardonnay, is renowned for their examples. Other very good wines in this style can be found at Bon Courage (Chardonnay Prestige Cuvee) and Graham Beck. The more delicate Sauvignon Blanc cultivated in the valley depict passion fruit (known locally as granadilla) dominated flavours with asparagus undertones. Exceptional examples include those from Springfield.
Shiraz is the most prolific red variety and the wine styles range from fragrant all-spice aromas to dark berry fruit. The wines generally have elegant tannin structures and long finishes. (See Graham Beck The Joshua, below)
Below is the Discover Robertson case which will give you Robertson Terroir in a bottle.
Sources: Wosa.co.za Robertsonwinevalley.com Cape Wine Academy Wine Magazine The Essential Guide to South African Wines John Platter Wine Guide 2008
Earn 9 Points
Earn 9 Points
Earn 13 Points