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Stylish label refinement for Rietvallei

At the occasion of Rietvallei Wine Estate celebrating 160 years in the hands of the Burger family, the revamp of its wine labels is a most befitting step to pay tribute to the estate’s rich history and remarkable achievements.

Subtle as these design changes may be, they meticulously match the refined character of the product in the bottle, which has launched this Robertson Wine Valley winery on a rising curve of recognition and accolades at the country’s foremost showdowns of wine quality and character in recent times.

This carefully devised measure is introduced in various stages for the estate’s respective wine ranges, with the Rietvallei Estate Portfolio – incorporating both the Heritage and Classic Collections – being the first in line, to be followed in due course by the John B and Stonedale brands.

As one of South Africa’s oldest family-owned wineries, Rietvallei is paying tribute to its 160 years’ existence, passionately driven by the Burger family for six generations since 1864 here at the heart of this picturesque and dynamic wine valley.

The design is elegant and sophisticated, subtly incorporating historic elements like vintage fonts, gold foiling and intricate detailing, enhanced by refined debossing. These features harmoniously blend into a contemporary look, while the natural uncoated paper adds a touch of old-world charm.

These beautiful labels were once again created by Haumann Smal Design Studio, aptly capturing Rietvallei’s dedication to preserving its heritage while embracing modern aesthetics.

Said owner-winemaker Kobus Burger, “It’s more than just a visual upgrade; this new face symbolises our journey and commitment to quality, making a powerful statement about the estate’s place in the past, present, and future in winemaking.”

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Racking in more Top 100 awards

Rietvallei Wine Estate has maintained its impressive track record in this year’s National Wine Challenge, clinching three coveted Double Platinum Awards – also known as Top 100 winners – and three Double Golds, with several of their well-awarded stalwarts bringing their side again and the newly released Calcrete Chardonnay immediately proving its mettle.

The Double Platinum winners (Top 100) winners are Rietvallei 1908 Muscadel 2021, Rietvallei Calcrete Chardonnay 2023 and Rietvallei JMB Cabernet Franc 2019. Double Gold was awarded to Rietvallei Sauvignon Blanc 2023, Rietvallei Shiraz 2021 and Rietvallei Cabernet Sauvignon 2021, while the Rietvallei Estate 2016 (red blend) and Rietvallei Estéanna Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc 2019 delivered a Double Silver each.

Said owner-winemaker Kobus Burger of this Robertson Valley wine estate – which this year celebrates 160 years under the Burger family’s ownership – “The three Double Platinum winners are very special ones for us.

The 1908 Muscadel is from the oldest Muscat de Frontignan vineyard in the country and probably the world. And it’s also great that the Calcrete Chardonnay receives this recognition at the early stage of this whole limestone-influenced Calcrete project – and shorty on the heels of winning a silver at the 2024 Chardonnay du Monde competition in Burgundy – particularly satisfying at such an international platform.

“At the same time, the JMB Cabernet Franc can always be relied on to show its consistent high standard in any competition.

Kobus added that the three Gold winners are the estate’s focus wines, part of its Classic Collection range launched some years ago, the Chardonnay having been their first cultivar wine. This was followed by Sauvignon Blanc and then Cabernet Sauvignon, which was also the first red wine before the Shiraz as next red. “Such good acknowledgement for our focus wines!”

These latest accolades mean that Rietvallei Wine Estate has garnered 14 Double Platinum Awards – or Top 100 SA listings –and 10 Double Golds in the National Wine Challenge in the past five years.

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Rietvallei Once Again Tops Terroir Competition

Another triumphant SA Terroir competition result has proved that Rietvallei Wine Estate in Robertson rules the roost when it comes to expressing that magical terroir expression in its wines, being crowned for the third year in a row as Top Terroir Wine Estate at the 18th annual SA Terroir Wine Awards.

Rietvallei at the same time received the SA Terroir Trophy for the Top Producer, boasting the highest number of top estate-produced wines, including two National Winners – namely the Rietvallei JMB Cabernet Franc 2019 and the top red blend, the Rietvallei Estéanna Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc 2019 – as well as bagging six area winners in the Robertson District.

This year’s results were announced during a prestigious awards luncheon at the well-known Lanzerac Hotel in Stellenbosch on Wednesday 16 August, where the 50th anniversary of the Wine of Origin Scheme, which forms the basis of this competition, was also celebrated.

Rietvallei also won six out of 11 regional district or ward categories, namely for the 2019 Cabernet Franc, 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2022 Classic Chardonnay (wooded), 2019 Estéanna Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc (Red Blend category), 2023 Sauvignon Blanc and 2021 Shiraz.

Reaffirming unique terroir traits

Said Kobus Burger, “We feel extremely honoured to have been awarded the Top Estate trophy and two national category trophies once again at this year’s Terroir competition. This reaffirms our unique terroir traits for fine wine production. It’s gratifying to see the Robertson valley and its terroir-driven wines increasingly being acknowledged among the country’s leading wine terrains with their extraordinary diversity.

“Our calcium-rich soils are obviously number one in our terroir make-up. Also very important are the summer nights that cool down so well thanks to that little southeaster that comes through our valley between six and eight every night in summertime, especially during ripening. So, there’s the benefit of a dramatic difference between our day and night temperatures.

“Then, also the fact that we irrigate and are not dryland and have enough sun and water and can adapt the irrigation, increase or reduce it, or even remove watering entirely, to manipulate according to the vines’ needs,” added Kobus.

Intimate knowledge of the soils and an understanding of the interaction between nature and vine with viticulture and winemaking practices focused on expressing the unique estate terroir, lie at the heart of the estate’s leading status in premier winemaking.

The JMB Cabernet Franc 2019 is made from a single vineyard, planted in 2003 and managed with particular care, from pruning right through to harvesting, ensuring a low yield and premium quality fruit. The grapes were picked at optimum ripeness and allowed to ferment naturally with wild yeast. After malolactic fermentation, the wine was transferred to new 300-litre French oak barrels where it was left to mature for 27 months. The result is full-bodied and complex, with excellent fruit and wood-integration.

The Estéanna 2019 is made from vineyards planted in 1998 and 2003 respectively. The vineyards are pampered from pruning to harvesting to ensure a low yield and premium quality fruit. The grapes were picked at optimum ripeness and fermented naturally with wild yeast. After malolactic fermentation, it matured for 24 months in new 300-litre French oak barrels. Rietvallei Estéanna 2019 comprises 57% Cabernet Sauvignon and 43% Cabernet Franc – full-bodied, complex with excellent fruit and wood integration. Well-rounded and showing beautifully in its youth but with the structure and fruit to mature very well.

 

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Gourmet Eaton Mess

Enjoy Our Delicious Gourmet Eaton Mess paired with the Rietvallei Muscadel

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup strawberries, cleaned and sliced
  • 1/2 cup blue berries, sliced (optional)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar.
  • Meringue Cookies, store-bought or homemade

For the Meringue Cookies:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 2/3 cups white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt

Method: 

For the Meringue Cookies:

  1. Preheat the oven to 120 degrees °C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Using a mixer beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt on high speed. Once the egg whites begin to froth, add the sugar and continue beat on high speed until stiff and glossy peaks start to form.
  3. Use a tablespoon to lay them out. Bake the meringues for 40-45 minutes until they are dry and slightly golden around the edges.
  4. Remove and let cool on a cool rack.

For the Eton Mess:

  1. In a small bowl, toss the fruit together with the brown sugar and set aside.
  2. In separate bowl, combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla and beat until the cream becomes completely thickened.

Assembly:

  1. In your desired serving glasses or bowls, begin with one layer of cream, 1 meringue cookie crushed, and two spoonfuls of fruit. Continue this pattern until each glass is complete. Top with a large dollop of cream and chocolate shavings if desired. You can also add cream to each layer if you want and drizzle honey over it.
  2. Refrigerate before serving if making ahead, or serve immediately.
 
 

 

Rietvallei yet again in the Top 100 winning way

Rietvallei Wine Estate has once again proved its magic mettle in the annual National Wine Challenge 2023, bagging four Double Platinum or so-called Top 100 awards, among a haul of nine medals. This includes a coveted Grand Cru National Champion Best in Class for its Rietvallei JMB Cabernet Franc 2019.

Said CEO and winemaker Kobus Burger, of this historic winery on the R60 near Robertson,” I am elated that the JMB Cab Franc once again performed so well and received this top recognition. This our new 2019 vintage creation which we plan to release in July.

“At the same time, it’s also such a highlight to see the Estéanna (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc) coming to the fore again, which is also the new 2019 vintage to be released in July.

“I’m also extremely happy about the other two Double Platinum Awards, namely the JMB Chardonnay 2022 and Shiraz 2019, all personal favourites of mine.

“Moreover, the three Double Golds are a great bonus, especially for the Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay – which happened to be the first red and white wines released under our Rietvallei brand name – while it’s wonderful that the maiden vintage, multi-cultivar Rietvallei Estate 2016 also came to the fore at this prestige competition.

“We feel deeply honoured and proud to receive these awards fromThe National Wine Challenge 2023. Thank you to the organisers and tasting panel for this acknowledgement. Also a big thank you to our whole Rietvallei team without whom this would never have been possible,” said Kobus.

This year’s achievement means that, including these four Double Platinums, three Double Gold and two Silvers, this Estate has in the past four years garnered 11 Double Platinum Awards – in other words Top 100 listings – including three Grand Cru (Best in Class) achievements and seven Double Golds in this competition.

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When small holds a big promise

Rietvallei Harvest  ‘23

With the latest harvest in the home straight at Rietvallei Wine Estate – over a period of some nine weeks – winemaker-owner Kobus Burger is upbeat about the quality promise. This, despite the total crop size expected to be significantly smaller than usual.

“It is definitely going to be a vintage for the books, quality wise,” he said. We see this in the white wines which are already fermented dry, as well as the intense colour of the reds during and after primary fermentation.”

In line with early reports on the state of the complete harvest from all the country’s wine-growing regions, the estate’s smaller harvest arrived earlier than usual – with the Sauvignon Blanc first to be brought in during the first week of January and due to be finished by the week of 20 March, with the Cabernet Sauvignon.

“The reason for this, as we realised very soon, was the much lighter yield, with the vineyards being more beautiful and healthy than in many years. It reminded me of my father’s (the late Johnny Burger) words, ‘a pretty vineyard does not necessarily mean a large crop’, and this is truly so.”

The ‘factory’, he said, referring to the foliage, is in fine shape and the crop light – this being the reason for the grapes developing sugar so soon. The reduced weight is a direct result of smaller berries.

Kobus believes that last year’s later harvest, in turn, had had a significant impact. The vineyards did not have enough time to build reserves after the harvest before entering the important winter dormancy period.

“But the upside of smaller berries, of course, is more concentration and better quality, as already seen at this early stage. Unbelievable!”

Meanwhile, Hennie Visser, the Vinpro viticultural consultant for Robertson, said that   a smaller crop by about 15% is expected in Robertson. If this materialises, it would be the smallest crop in the district in more than ten years.

Vinpro consultation service manager, Conrad Schutte, said the indications for the latest industry crop estimate report are 9% down overall on last year and that its duration varies from area to area.  

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