By Christian Eedes, 20 June 2011
Last week’s public holiday prompted a three-night stay at Tierhoek Cottages in Robertson, and plenty of opportunity to assess the wines of the region.
On our way up, a stop at Nuy to buy some Muskadel. I’d hoped that the White 2005, which won trophies for best in class as well as best quality to price ratio at this year’s Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show might be available but apparently what remains of this will be re-released only after Veritas. Instead, the White 2007 at R216 for a case of six and I suspect the smartest investment I’ve made for a while. Also, some of the Dry Colombar 2011 (R28 a bottle), plenty of pure guava fruit and ridiculously easy to like…
I’d been advised to seek out the wines made by Lourens van der Westhuizen under the Arendsig label, and was very impressed with his Sauvignon Blanc 2010 drunk as an aperitif before lunch at Bourbon Street restaurant in Robertson. It was pure and fresh and showed concentrated lime fruit. With my springbok and kudu burger combo, I tried Van der Westhuizen’s Shiraz 2009, which was again fruit-driven and nicely unassuming; the 2010 (R85 from the well-stocked La Verne Wine Boutique) tried later in the weekend was not nearly as pleasing, being much riper and sweeter.
Another winery which I was not overly familiar with but came recommended was Rusticus, and we sampled both the Tilled Earth 2008 (a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz and selling for R70 a bottle) and The Swansong SMV 2009 (R110). Both were good, but I preferred Tilled Earth, which was medium bodied with good freshness, while Swansong appeared just a little over-worked.
The 2005 Bon Courage Inkará Shiraz won the Wine magazine Shiraz Challenge in 2007 with the consequence that this label is something of a reference point as to what producers in the Robertson area are capable of with red varieties, and the current-release 2009 (R110) is as striking as ever, with great richness and intensity. A good match for braaied lamb chops, sourced from Pinto’s, the rather excellent butchery in town.
Talk of the town when it comes to restaurants is De Kaap, located in a restored 1880 Cape Georgian farmhouse 15km outside Robertson on the way to McGregor. Relaxed atmosphere and country cooking which was above average to very good and well priced, we’d definitely go back. As an aperitif, the Sumsaré Sauvingon Blanc 2011, very primary, crisp and refreshing; with food, the Sumsaré Limited Release Shiraz 2007, which was big, rich and heady.
I found myself somewhat indifferent to the Quando Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (R50), clean and fresh but rather straightforward and was more taken with the Pinot Noir 2009 from this producer (R70). Dark cherry fruit on the nose and palate, fresh acidity and some pleasing tannic grip. Rustic but in a good way. Windfall, meanwhile, feel s warranted in charging R120 a bottle for its 2010 Pinot Noir, and while it is not unappealing with flavours of red cherry and spice, it is a little thin and tart. Nature in Concert Pinot Noir 2009 from De Wetshof was the most serious of the three with good complexity and balance but at R184 a bottle was also the most expensive wine of the weekend.