Thursday 31 May 2018
Rosendal took me to a part of the Robertson Valley I had not been to before. It was my last tasting of the day as I headed north and away from the Breede River to West Klaas Voogds at the base of the Kranskop Mountains. The road crossed the flat valley and began slowly to rise past cabbage fields and towards the lower slopes. Rosendal is a guesthouse, spa & wellness retreat, with restaurant, as well as a boutique winery. The 1805 Cape Dutch gabled farmhouse is set by the curve of the road on a hill with fabulous views overlooking the farm dam and to the valley beyond. The 15 hectare property was bought by Norwegian husband and wife team, Geir and Sissel Tellefsen in 2005.
Inside, I was met by Johwene and Tina who showed me to the private Tasting Room. The area was dimly lit and with arched features to remind of an old wine cellar. Rosendal has made wines since 2004. Most wines are red (80%) with the rest being a mix of white (15%) and rosé (5%). The wines are grouped into 4 ranges and sold only at the guesthouse or online. The remainder is shipped to Germany. The entry range is Noble Nomad ‘The Legend’ (R89), followed by the Rosendal Range (R110 to R150), the Barony Range (R140 to R230) and the flagship Limited Reserve Range (R210 to R270). Winemaker Therese de Beer sources grapes from across the Western Cape.
I was able to taste from the 2 lower ranges. ‘The Legend’ refers to the noble nomad called Claus Voigts, who was believed to be a 1960s soldier from Holland who got drunk and slept under the stars, bearing many children before divorce and returning home: a legend, a thief, and a lover. The label of each wine tells a separate part of the story: ‘He Slept Beneath the Stars’ (with clever inverted label); ‘He Was My Lover’; and ‘He Stole My Horse’. I tasted them slightly out of turn to be able to compare the 2 Sauvignons Blanc. The entry wine showed typical Sauvignon Blanc grassy and lime citrus notes with good intensity and moderate complexity. Some warmer tropical notes emerged on the palate that had a not-too-bright acidity for an easy drinking style.
The Barony Cecile Sauvignon Blanc was paler and more watery in appearance. The aromas were greener and more herbaceous with a fresher nose. The palate matched the freshness with a sharper acidity for a clean, refreshing mouthfeel of good intensity and decent length.
The Rosé, a pale to medium coral colour suitable for the romantic lover, was sweet and strawberry fruity on the nose with just a hint of Sauvignon Blanc-like grassiness. It too was clean on the palate with just enough weight for a pleasant mouthfeel.
The last wine of the Legend trio was the blend of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. Made from equal amounts, and not a very common blend, the wine was made in lighter style. Shiraz white pepper spiciness and cassis, mulberry fruitiness dominated the nose. Smoky, savoury flavours emerged on the smooth palate which was well balanced between fruit and tannins.
The Bønne Pinotage from the Rosendal Barony Range was the best wine but not my favourite due to the roasted coffee bean aromas, a style I do not prefer. This was a classic medium-bodied, purple ruby Pinotage with intense coffee, juicy plum, blueberry and cherry notes on the nose. The wine was warming on the palate with dry, wooded tannins emerging to offset the coffee, fruity flavours with good length.
My favourite wine was the last wine of the tasting. This was a fruity, juicy Merlot with excellent deep ruby colour with ripe, juicy red plum, mulberry fruit and cedar aromas. The cedar flavours strengthened with positive tannins on the plate to give grip and structure without bitterness.
Little known Rosendal made a relaxing end to a busy day of visits to Rietvallei, Esona, Viljoensdrift and Zandvliet before. The tasting was brief but no less enjoyable for that. The wines were well made and reasonably priced for their quality. You will have to go to Rosendal or look online if you wish to buy as they are sold direct to the customer. Better still, stay overnight and enjoy the wines after a massage with a meal on the terrace and the magnificent views. Now there’s a thought for Wacky Wine Weekend 2019!
Wines tasted (bought *):
2017 Noble Nomad ‘He Slept Beneath the Stars’ Sauvignon Blanc – R89
2017 Rosendal Barony Cecile Sauvignon Blanc – R140
NV Noble Nomad ‘He Was My Lover’ Pinotage Rosé – R89
2016 Noble Nomad ‘He Stole My Horse’ Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon (50% Shiraz, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon) – R99
2017 Rosendal Barony Bønne Pinotage – R171
2016 Rosendal Merlot – R151 FAVOURITE WINE