Rietvallei Estate is excited to be part of a dynamic new grouping of wine producers that should be a force in wine style development of the world’s most iconic white wine cultivar, Chardonnay, by expressing the essence of the Robertson region’s limestone rich soils under the banner Calcrete.
The five wines recently launched under this label – derived from the terms calcium and crete – are carefully selected, unwooded creations from Rietvallei, in tandem with those from De Wetshof Estate, Excelsior, Van Loveren Family Vineyards and Weltevrede Estate.
Rietvallei Estate, of course, has been at the forefront of the Robertson wine region’s great strides in the Cape’s fine wine production and indisputably becoming prime Chardonnay Country. It’s been proven over the recent decades that this noble Burgundian white cultivar thrives here in the ideal soils with their high concentration of chalk, clay and limestone.
This historic estate naturally belongs in this grouping of prominent Robertson wine houses as it increasingly garners top awards at significant evaluations, while being at the thrust of Chardonnay evolvement following the first of these vineyards established here 40 years ago.
The vision of Calcrete, as explained during wine launches in Johannesburg and Cape Town, with the role players of these wineries in attendance, is to excel in offering a wine that authentically represents the terroir, producers of the region, and the lifestyle of the valley.
“Calcrete is poised to be known as the quintessential sunshine wine and the ultimate food wine, encapsulating the essence of its terroir of birth,” said Weltevrede’s Philip Jonker, who released the maiden Weltevrede Calcrete 2021 at the end of that year.
In 2022, De Wetshof’s delivery joined this “down-to-earth’ fold and in 2023 Rietvallei, Excelsior and Van Loveren were in the mix.
That was after Philip had convinced Rietvallei’s Kobus Burger, Johann de Wet from De Wetshof, Chris Crafford from Van Loveren and Peter de Wet from Excelsior and other local family vineyards to each present an unwooded Chardonnay prepared in a mineral-driven style – that elusive but increasingly important pure minerality characteristic being at the essence of this concept.
The Calcrete signature appears on each producer’s label as a registered trademark. Only approved members of the Calcrete Wine Custodians will be permitted to use the name for individually approved and Wine of Origin certified unwooded Chardonnay from Wine of Origin Robertson.
To qualify, the wines presented are evaluated by a panel of the winemakers involved. Some of these wines will be labelled as “Chardonnay with Calcrete” while others will bear the name “Calcrete” alone – the idea being that Calcrete will become synonymous with unwooded Chardonnay from Robertson, distinguished by its exceptional minerality.
Said Kobus Burger, Rietvallei’s CEO and winemaker, “We let terroir do the talking and draw inspiration from Chablis in northern Burgundy. Before the launching of this project, I remember last being so excited about this cultivar when making my first Chardonnay some 21 years ago.”
Calcrete, according to the proponents, defines the wines from this unique Chardonnay region. Their various wines distinctly represent Chardonnay in its purist form and express terroir with great clarity and minerality, each with its own unique regional attributes.
The main thread of underlying minerality is usually associated with sensations like flintiness, steeliness or elegance evoked in a wine’s earthy and chalky mouthfeel. The wines’ crisp crystalline character, nuances of wet stone, saline palate and oyster shell minerality are highlighted by the linear unwooded profile.
The Calcrete Chardonnay is exclusive to the limestone-rich wine appellation of Robertson. Here the distinctive terroir ranges from calcareous outcrops to arid, broken shale, both features resulting from ancient petrified maritime deposits.
In Rietvallei’s case, Calcrete Chardonnay 2023 derives from Chardonnay vines planted in 2013 on a west-facing slope in calcareous soils:
See also – Calcrete media buzz
After its recent launch, the Calcrete movement has resulted in a wave of media exposure, see the following links:
Rooi Rose: https://www.rooirose.co.za/wynmakers-se-nuwe-calcrete-handelsmerk-laat-terroir-die-praatwerk-doen/
The Wine Girl Cape Town: https://thewinegirlcapetown.co.za/calcrete-wine-defining-a-region-through-unwooded-chardonnay/
Jozi Style: https://www.jozistyle.joburg/calcrete-wine
Planet Wine: https://planetwine.co.za/calcrete-wines-defining-a-region-through-unwooded-chardonnay/
Netwerk 24: https://www.netwerk24.com/netwerk24/leefstyl/kos-en-wyn/kelders-in-robertson-span-saam-20231107
Die Burger Versnit: https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=842383091229862&set=a.471887801612728
Simply Miss Jo: https://simplymissjo.wordpress.com/2023/11/16/calcrete-wine-a-region-defined-by-its-wine/?fbclid=PAAabVg-20J9llqruqY_HPWtqWPQquuK-BibQ3l035eHTCD5cWODPU9t8KTOE
Tasty chocolate filled puff pastries recipe paired with our 1908 Muscadel
- 2 Sheets Frozen filo pastry.
- 2 Lindt 60% Dark Chocolate or any other chocolate you prefer.
- 1 egg
- Chili flakes, peppermint crisp pieces, nuts etc. (all optional extras you can be as creative as you want to be).
- Flaky Salt
- Defrost your two sheets of filo pastry.
- Divide each Lindt chocolate slab into 10 pieces, or if you’re using a chocolate bar cut them in half until you have 20 halves.
- On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper, roll out one sheet of puff pastry, the dough must be rolled out large enough to fit 20 chocolate pieces. Arrange the chocolate pieces on the rolled-out dough and divide them equally
- Brush the dough with egg wash thoroughly over all visible dough.
- Roll out the second sheet of puff pastry so that it’s slightly larger than the first piece and place it gently over the first sheet with the pre-arranged chocolate pieces. Press gently on all four sides and all around each chocolate piece.
- Transfer to a cutting board, cut between all the chocolate pieces, so you have 20 individually sealed rectangles with a chocolate piece in the centre.
- Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Distribute the chocolate filled puff pastries among two parchment-lined pans, brush with egg wash, sprinkle with flaky salt and bake for 20–25 minutes.
The prestigious Veritas Awards results marked a significant awards season conclusion for Rietvallei Estate’s remarkable year of competition successes as it bagged a haul of five gold medals.
“We are extremely grateful to be approaching the year-end and eve of the festive season on such a high note that maintains the momentum of a highly successful year. Especially pleasing is that a number of our stalwart wines delivered the goods again, namely the JMB Cabernet Franc 2019, Estéanna Red Blend (Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc) 2018 and JMB Chardonnay 2022,” said CEO and winemaker Kobus Burger.
The other two Veritas Gold winners are Rietvallei Dark Cin Cinsaut 2021 and, of course, Rietvallei Classic Chardonnay 2022 – “a cultivar that has stood us in good stead over the years in the Robertson region’s leading Chardonnay status in the Cape winelands,” Kobus added.
This means that Rietvallei is among only a handful of wineries that achieved five or more such awards for wines scoring 90 – 92 points out of a hundred in this authoritative competition which this year drew 1 247 medal contenders, judged by a jury of 70 international and local specialists during a five-day blind tasting session.
This success follows hot on the heels of Rietvallei being crowned for the third year in a row as Top Terroir Wine Estate at the 18th annual SA Terroir Wine Awards. At the same time it 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.
Rietvallei’s showpiece 2023 competition “scoreboard” thus looks as follows: Wine Challenge: Grand Cru Top, 100 SA winner and Double Platinum
- TERROIR AWARDS 2023: TOP PRODUCER AND TOP WINE ESTATE ( Third year running)
- JMB Cabernet Franc 2019
- National Wine Challenge: Grand Cru Top, 100 SA winner and Double Platinum
- Vitis Vinifera: Double Gold
- SA Terroir Awards: National Winner
- Veritas Awards: Gold
- JMB Chardonnay 2022
- National Wine Challenge: Top 100 SA Winner and Double Platinum
- Michelangelo Wine Awards: Double Gold
- Veritas Awards: Gold
- Rietvallei Dark Cin 2021
- Veritas Awards: Gold
- Rietvallei Classic Chardonnay 2022
- National Wine Challenge: Double Gold
- Veritas Awards: Gold
- Estéanna Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc 2019
- National Wine Challenge: Top 100 SA Winner & Double Platinum
- Vitis Vinefera: Gold
- SA Terroir Awards: National Winner
- Veritas Awards: Gold
- Rietvallei Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
- National Wine Challlenge: Double Gold
Brown lentil and vegetable soup paired with our JMB Cabernet Franc
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 3 carrots, peeled, diced
- 3 zucchini, diced
- 2 celery sticks, diced
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 400g diced tomatoes
- 2 cups Vegetable stock
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 400g can brown lentils, rinsed, drained
- ½ cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, chopped
- Parmesan cheese, shavings
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Over medium-high heat in a large pot or pan. Add zucchini, carrots, celery and onion. Cook for 10 to 15 min until vegetables begin to soften.2. Add tomatoes and stock to the pot. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium-low heat. Cook for 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft with lid partially covering the pot.3. Add lentils and smoked paprika to the soup. Serve in large soup bowls. Sprinkle with parsley and a squeeze of lemon juice. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve with toasted slices of ciabatta bread.
Enjoy Our Divine Panna Cotta recipe:
- 4 tbsp of sugar
- 1 tbsp of water
Panna Cotta Ingredients:
- 500 ml whipping cream
- 110 g sugar
- 4 gelatin sheets
- half stick of vanilla or alternatively 3 teaspoons vanilla essence.
Method for Panna Cotta:
- Soak the gelatin in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes.
- Butterfly the vanilla bean using a sharp knife. Scrape the seeds out using the knife or if using vanilla essence skip this step
- Place the cream, sugar and vanilla seeds or vanilla essence in a saucepan and bring to a boil while slowly stirring with a whisk.
- Once the cream has come to a boil, remove from the heat and add the gelatin sheets (drained and squeezed before adding). Stir to allow the gelatin to melt into the cream.
- Pour the mixture into small panna cotta molds or using what is available. Then, place the molds in the fridge for at least 3 to 4 hour
Method for Caramel:
- Add the sugar and 1 Tbsp water in a saucepan and place it over low heat. Shake the saucepan so it mixes well. Once it has turn into caramel and browned to the desired color set aside for later.
- Pour over the panna cottas once they are done refrigerating, we recommend only making the caramel after the panna cotta has set in the fridge.
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.