Summer Whites …… and Rosés
Experience 4.0 Festivals & Events Wine 3.5

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

Saturday 4 February 2017

Experience: 4/5
Wines: 3.5/5

Summer whites were the order of the day. That is, for the dress. Most of the ladies at this busy event had followed the ticket instruction and looked resplendent in white lace dresses and summer clothes. I arrived to find that the function was sold out but on this occasion, unlike at Delheim a week ago, I had bought my R180 ticket in advance.


People had obviously arrived early to make the most of the afternoon and I had to park away from the main car park. I was pleased to be at Leopard’s Leap. I have drunk their popular value wines on many occasions before (the estate sponsors South African authors and book launches) but never been to the vineyard.


The marquee was already full. Guests were spilling out onto the freshly cut lawns all around, sat in small groups in the summer sunshine. There were fluffy clouds in the sky and the lightest of breezes. A wisp of smoke rose from a fynbos fire on the side of the mountain behind. It was the only menace, fortunately at bay, to spoil the perfect setting.


Earlier, I had walked past vines of varieties that I don’t see in the Constantia Valley. First, Carignan, in medium-sized, loose, irregular bunches that were not fully ripe. The grapes were round, almost spherical, a deep purple in colour and with a blue bloom on the surface of the skin. Second, I walked along a row of Viognier grapes. These were in longer and larger bunches, mixed green yellow and golden yellow, and speckled brown on the ripest berries.



I collected my ticket at the entrance. Twenty-six wines from the Franschhoek district were being showcased. Whites and rosés were in near equal amount, with a splash of blanc de blancs, MCC and champagne to make up the numbers.


I opted to taste the chardonnays as I was looking for wines for the next Cape Wine Lovers’ Society event on 16 February. I tasted two unoaked vintages from le Petite Ferme and The Franshoek Cellar, together with the blanc de blancs from Anthonij Rupert Wyne. Interestingly, there was no oaked chardonnay on offer.


I sense that the South African producers are moving towards the more natural chardonnay taste. It makes economic and environmental sense too without the cost of sourcing oak barrels and the extended production time. My favourite was the Franschhoek Cellar wine, very reasonably priced at R55, which had a rich lemon colour and lasting palate.


I was alone and so had to pace myself for the return drive. I took a break and wandered into the large open indoor tasting room. The passion for reading was evident by the books laid out in all the sitting out areas. There was also a slanting bookshelf full of literature to select and read while tasting.



I browsed in the expansive shop too, the largest I have seen at a wine estate. It was full of kitchenware, linens, glassware, souvenirs and gifts. There was an extensive range of cooking books too and, of course, the full range of Leopard’s Leap wines. I bought a couple of bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon for a future Cape Wine Lovers’ tasting evening.


The chenin blancs beckoned and I tasted those on offer from Bellingham Wines, La Couronne, and La Chataigne, the latter produced from vines planted in 1954. Only the Bellingham Wines one was oaked, for 12 months, and was tempting to buy.


I liked the fresh taste of the La Couronne more, scoring it my highest wine of the day, and bought two bottles after.



Hunger beckoned as well as another tasting break. I headed into the vast tasting room and bought a cheese platter (R80). It was basic, as one would expect at a festival, with plenty of cheese and not enough bread. I checked my tasting ticket and decided I could try a few more before leaving.


I hadn’t sampled the many rosés – but shall do another time with the chance for side by side tasting – made from a varied number of grape varieties. The Babylonstoren Mouvedre rosé was full of honey and strawberries and easily buyable too. Solms-Delta use Grenache Noir for their rosé which, like so many rosés, made for easy drinking with or without food. Lynx Wines use merlot grapes with the skins left in for just 4 hours for a wine very pale pink in colour. How confusing rosés are!


I relaxed on the lawn with a coffee and enjoyed watching the festival-goers. It was late afternoon by now. Conversations seemed at a higher volume than when I arrived as alcohol loosed tongues. It was soon time to return to Cape Town.


I returned to my car walking between the vines. Much to my surprise, I discovered two more grape varieties that I hadn’t seen before: Mouvedre, with enormous bunches, and Tempranillo. Leopard’s Leap had more to reveal.



The Franschhoek Summer Wines Festival was intimate, attractive and held in a beautiful setting. It offered a great opportunity to taste many new and different wines under one roof. I was struck at prices that were relatively low compared with the Constantia Valley. Franschhoek estates really do offer value-for-money wines and especially if one is careful to taste for quality. I learned too more about Leopard’s Leap and shall return again for a full tasting of the estate wines.


Next year, I shall wear white too …..


Wines tasted (bought *):


2012 Anthonij Rupert Wyne L’Ormarins Blanc de Blancs – R220


2016 La Petite Ferme Baboon Rock Unwooded Chardonnay – R100
2015 Franschhoek Cellar Chardonnay – R55
2014 La Chataigne Kastanje Chenin Blanc – R75
2016 La Couronne Upper Deck Chenin Blanc – R70 * FAVOURITE WINE
2015 Bellingham Wines The Bernard Series Old Vine Wooded Chenin Blanc – R160
2016 La Motte Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc (92% Sauvignon Blanc, 8% Chenin Blanc) – R110


2016 Babylonstoren Mouvedre Rosé – R100
2016 Lynx Wines Merlot Blanc de Noir – R70
2016 Solms-Delta Grenache Noir  Rosé – R50


2015 Leopard’s Leap Cabernet Sauvignon – R49 * (Not tasted)



You Might Also Like

Altitudes with Wine!

Allez les Boks – Pas les Bleues!

Kept Alone at Kaapzicht

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

Barrels of Fun at My First Stellenbosch Street Soirée

Com-fort-able Wines at Fort Simon

Libby Would not have been Proud of Linton Park

My Best Blend at Zandvliet

Grape Fun – Stomping Well Worth the Journey!

Busy, Bubbly, Noisy Wonderfontein

Cheers! Or Beers?!

Rain Meets Earth at Newton Johnson

A Warm Welcome in the Cool Climate at South Hill

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

More Still at Tanagra

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

Quoin Rock Gently Roars at Knorhoek

A Lekker Jol at Wandsbeck

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

On the Left, but then on the Right …

Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard

Posh Spice in Franschhoek!

Peter Falke Didn’t Knock my Socks Off

Blaauwklippen was Good for a Friday

Of Female Rugby Players and Ballet Dancers! Let’s Continuously Study Very Seriously: Wines of the Loire and Northern Rhône

Mutual Attraction

River Grandeur at Viljoensdrift

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble!

A Quando-ary: When to Drink …?

Hope Brought to the Vineyard

Red Chair in the Morning

Pinotage Hits a Purple Patch in Paarl

Try as I Could I Did not Find Waterkloof Wines Dynamic

More than Just a Destination

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

Mooi Mooi Mooi Mooiplaas

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

Idiom Puts on a Festival Master Class

Superb Whites in the Near Dark at Mont Blois

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

Beyond Expectation

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

Noble Wines without the Rot

Hope Lies High in the Valley

View from the E-Skaap-ment

The Darling from Darling Steps into the Vineyard

Bushmanspad Gave Me the Weirdest Tasting Ever

Le Lude Left Me Feeling Flat

More Plaisir at de Merle Please!

I Needed to be Guided by the Angel Gabriel

Peace but No Rest for Rust en Vrede

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

No Black Marks at Raka

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines


Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

Scary Jan Harmsgat Delivers Elegant Wines

The Terroir is Honoured in the Bottle at Springfield


From the Angel Gabriel to the Arch Angel

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

Sylvan Vale Wines Good for a Meeting or an Eating

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

Eq-wine – Fine Wines and Fast Horses!

Iconic Steenberg

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

It’s High Time Again

Intimate, Tranquil and Refined

The Cut ‘n’ Paste Stellenbosch Wine Festival Comes to Cape Town

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

Haven Rather than Heaven at La Bri

Leaping to the Right Conclusions

Ghostly Clouds Swirl at Spookfontein

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

Colmant Sparkled

Magnifico – Grazie Mille Idiom!

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

Great Value in the Swartland

Slave to the Rhythm at Solms-Delta

Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

Better than a Fair View Where the Goats do Roam!

More-ish Wines at Môreson

Horsepower in the Vineyard

Masses of Fun and a little Chaos at the Ambeloui Harvest Festival

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

Au Revoir France!

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

Becoming Ship-Shape at La Couronne

Woody Wildekrans

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

Decent Wines Rock from the Pulpit

Only One JC Le Roux Wine Sparkled and Scintilla-ted

Cabsolutely Frankulous at the Carnival

Very Cape Wines at Capaia

No Blues at Hillcrest

Dis-gorgeous at Weltevrede

Vista to Verdot at Glen Carlou

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

Taking the Garage into the Classroom

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

Well Hosted and Enjoyable – Even Though I did not Experience at its Best

Hand at Work Handiwork at Boschrivier Wines

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

Joy at Really Tasting the Difference at Esona

Diploma Done and Dusted – But for the Final Result – I Passed!

Speed Tasting with Sommelier ‘Royalty’ at my First SASA Meeting

Putting into Port at De Krans

Where’s the Grande in Provence?

An Early Start at Rietvallei

Graham Beck MCCs Fizzled Out

Relaxing Rosendal

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price


Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

Villion Pairs with Barton in Bot Rivier

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

Windfall Offered Unexpected Delights

Taint, Mould, Sweet-Sour, Elastoplast, Stale Honey, Bee Wax and Potato Skin With the Wine Prof

A Kleine Experience at Zalze

Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

Value for Money at Van Zylshof

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

Robertson – Town by Name, Wine by Name

Boutique de Brendel

Around the (Old) World in 18 Hours – starting with the European Cuvée!

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

Dave Goes Down Under and the Wines Go Up

Wines Merely to Lust After

Where Eagles Care

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

Sublime Sauvignon Blanc Makes up for Variable Bloemendal

Vrede en Lust Struggled to Reveal it’s Delight

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

Langverwacht Introduced Me to Ruby Cabernet

Individual Quality at Jordan

Warwick Wines Win their Colours

Bon Courage and Bon Voyage

House Wine from the Wine Tram

Sugar and Spice is Twice as Nice

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

PicknPay Pairs it again at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

Style or Substance? Nitida left Me Wondering

Class in Glass at Glenelly

Surprisingly Good – and Not Only for the Red Bus Tourists

Pick n Taste Time at Stellenbosch

2018 Wacky Wine Ends at Le Roux & Fourie

The Early Bird Catches the Wine

Rivergold is a Gem Waiting to be Discovered

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

Being Creative at Flagstone

Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard

Superb Views of Guardian Peak

Laibach Shows its Spots

There’s No Gun Smoke Without Wine

Proudly Keeping it in the Family at Paul Cluver – or Not?

Bramon Beside the (Plettenberg) Bay


  1. Pick n Taste Time at Stellenbosch – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] and full of anticipation. I had not been before but I had recently been to wine festivals at Franschhoek (Summer Wines) and Delheim (for grape-stomping). I was interested to see how Stellenbosch compared. […]

  2. Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] to feature a single grape variety. Grape `stomping’ at Delheim was a fun season’s opener. Franschhoek Summer Wines and the Pick n Pay Stellenbosch Wine festivals offered broader experiences with several grape […]

  3. Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble! – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] glass included) which is comparable with the other wine festivals I have been to this year: Franschhoek Summer Wines, the Stellenbosch Wine Festival, and the Pinotage & Biltong Festival. The entry fee included a […]

  4. Leaping to the Right Conclusions – Cape Wine Lovers' Society

    […] cannot believe that it is over 2 years since I visited Leopard’s Leap, for the Franschhoek Summer Wines Festival in 2017. I did not taste any of the wines then as I vowed to return for a ‘proper’ tasting and […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *