More Still at Tanagra
Experience 4.0 Festivals & Events McGregor Wine 4.0

More Still at Tanagra

3 June 2017

Experience: 4/5
Wines: 4/5

Tanagra Winery & Distillery was my final Wacky Wine Weekend tasting before I returned for a late Saturday afternoon meeting in Cape Town. The vineyard was conveniently on the road between McGregor and Robertson and an easy stop for me. As I left Bemind Wyne, I wondered what the origin of the Tanagra name was. It felt like an anagram or word puzzle, or even the name of a card game. The farm brochure explained all. The name stems from a giant wild fig tree that gave the 78 hectare farm its name, Tanagra. The name also echoes the Khoisan word for ‘main shade’, much needed on summer hot days.

The property was well signposted from the road and flanked by a formal entrance gate, whitewashed and bearing the estate name. It was but a short drive through orange-leaved vines to the parking area beside the Cellar and Distillery buildings. The estate has 12.5 hectares under vine and specialises in Cabernet Franc. I could see signs for blocks of Cabernet Franc as well as Colombar. Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage and Shiraz are also grown. The farm offers holiday apartments and cottages too.

The Wacky Wine tasting was in the Cellar. I walked past a spreading fig tree and wondered if this was the one that gave the farm its distinct name. It certainly provided much shade from the winter sun; cool enough for the family dog to lie in full sun beside a low wall.

Husband and wife team, Robert and Annette Rosenbach, relocated from the Moselle region of Germany to South Africa in 2009. They swapped business consultancy and academia in linguistics for an adventure in the country making wine and spirits. Robert brought with him a 200 litre still that produces very pure spirits. A dazzling array of Marc and Grappa (distilled from grape-skins), Eau de Vie (distilled from fermented fruit), Lemon Eau de Vie (from macerated fruit) and Orange liqueur – in flavours of each grape cultivar as well as apricot, peach and quince – were available for tasting. I resisted even a sniff of the 40% alcohol liquor as I would have been unable to drive home. Tasting will have to wait for another time.

I wanted to taste the wine. The wine linguistics were heady with phrases like ‘handpicked’, ‘handcrafted’, ‘traditional method’, ‘minimal interference’, ‘terroir’, ‘wild yeast’ and ‘whole berry fermentation’. It was thus no secret that Robert is assisted by winemaker Lourens van der Westhuisen from Arendsig. The only reason why Tanagra makes single vineyard – and not estate-bottled – wine is that they are made at Arendsig. I selected 4 for tasting.

The first 2 were 100% Cabernet Franc, in 2 styles. The first, a Blanc de Noir – pink wine made with red grapes – was a watery pale blush in colour with a delicate rather than shy strawberry and raspberry nose. It was dry and elegant in the mouth and made very much in Lourens’ style. By contrast, the red brought more complex and layered red-to-dark berry, currant flavours (mulberry, loganberry, blackcurrant) to a silky tannin palate.

The Cabernet Sauvignon was my favourite wine and I bought a bottle. It was muscular and masculine in comparison with the feminine Cabernet Franc. Deeper in body and with forward darker berry fruits, it too was velvety and rounded in the mouth. I finished with the Shiraz that shared many of the same characteristics: warm berry fruit flavours with green and dark peppercorns, liquorice too; fruitiness giving way to soft tannins in the mouth; and a lingering finish. The red wines unsurprisingly were all at the higher end of the alcohol range: 14.5%, 14.0% and 14.5%, respectively.

I didn’t linger as I needed to return to Cape Town. My first Wacky Wine Weekend was over and I can barely believe that just 2 days ago I was starting at Rooiberg Winery. Tanagra offered another unique tasting experience and range of wines. I should like to return with more time to explore the walks in nature, the accommodation and the distillery. More still, the Eau de Vie could easily become joie de vivre.

Wines tasted (* bought):


2017 Cabernet Franc Blanc de Noir – R80


2015 Cabernet Franc – R130
2015 Cabernet Sauvignon – R100* FAVOURITE WINE
2014 Shiraz – R100

You Might Also Like

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Maiden Visit to Lord’s Bowled Me Over

Linga-ring in a Winery in Malawi

Sugar and Spice is Twice as Nice

Wines Merely to Lust After

Waterf-ord More Ord-inary Than Extra-ord-inary

Wines That Don’t Cost The Earth

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

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

Warwick Wines Win their Colours

An Early Start at Rietvallei

Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard

Windfall Offered Unexpected Delights

Dave Goes Down Under and the Wines Go Up

Vista to Verdot at Glen Carlou

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

Robertson – Town by Name, Wine by Name

Waxing Lyrical about Canto


Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Excelsior Blends Quality with Price

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

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

Mooi Mooi Mooi Mooiplaas

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

Mulderbosch didn’t quite Meet the Yardstick

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

Baby Thrown Out with the Bath Water?

Peace but No Rest for Rust en Vrede

Dis-gorgeous at Weltevrede

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

Cabsolutely Frankulous at the Carnival

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

The Darling from Darling Steps into the Vineyard

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

Value for Money at Van Zylshof

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon

Malverne Dis-Clos-ed

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

Hazendal Fit for a Tsar, a Hare and a God of Wine

Tasting Vines at the Vineyard

Mutual Attraction

More-ish Wines at Môreson

All is Not Lost in a Safe Port

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

Rivergold is a Gem Waiting to be Discovered

It’s all Art and Wine at Almenkerk

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

Grand Wines at the Big Top!

PicknPay Pairs it again at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

Sip Sip Sip and Drip Drip Drip at Domaine des Dieux

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

Posh Spice in Franschhoek!

Superb Whites in the Near Dark at Mont Blois

In the Highlands in the Lowlands of Elgin

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

Simple Spier

Magnifico – Grazie Mille Idiom!

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin

Scary Jan Harmsgat Delivers Elegant Wines


Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

Idiom Puts on a Festival Master Class

Morgenhof in the Morning

Quoin Rock Gently Roars at Knorhoek

Colmant Sparkled

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

No Blues at Hillcrest


Trading Wines in the City Bowl

Being Creative at Flagstone

Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

Where Eagles Care

Barrels of Fun at My First Stellenbosch Street Soirée

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

A Family Occasion – the Story behind the Bottle

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

River Grandeur at Viljoensdrift

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

A Quando-ary: When to Drink …?

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

I Needed to be Guided by the Angel Gabriel

Busy, Bubbly, Noisy Wonderfontein

A Lekker Jol at Wandsbeck

A Warm Welcome in the Cool Climate at South Hill

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

Better than a Fair View Where the Goats do Roam!

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

The Terroir is Honoured in the Bottle at Springfield

Oh-MG at Anthonij Rupert

Nala Wines are Well Engineered in the Vineyard

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

Cabernet Franc – Well Worth a Gamble!

Relaxing Rosendal

Beyond Expectation

Taking the Garage into the Classroom

Iconic Steenberg

Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard

The Early Bird Catches the Wine

At the Bend in the Road in Bot River

Bushmanspad Gave Me the Weirdest Tasting Ever

On the Left, but then on the Right …

Late at Lateganskop

Rain Meets Earth at Newton Johnson

Wine Notes Composed at D’Aria

Four Partners (not Cousins) at the Vineyard Hotel

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

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

Pick n Taste Time at Stellenbosch

Red Chair in the Morning

Altitudes with Wine!

Old Oaks at La Bourgogne

Leaping to the Right Conclusions

Seven Reasons To Visit Seven Oaks Wines

Blaauwklippen was Good for a Friday

Where the Lions Roar in the Wild West of Bot Rivier

Elegant Wines Kiss the Lips in the Vineyard

Individual Quality at Jordan

From the Angel Gabriel to the Arch Angel

Bon Courage and Bon Voyage

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

Ghostly Clouds Swirl at Spookfontein

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

Langverwacht Introduced Me to Ruby Cabernet

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

Franschhoek’s Hidden Gem Is Reluctant to Reveal

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

No Black Marks at Raka

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

Au Revoir France!

My Best Blend at Zandvliet

Wines to Love on Love Street

Great Value in the Swartland

Pinotage Hits a Purple Patch in Paarl

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

Class in Glass at Glenelly

All Green at Villiera

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival

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

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

Joy at Really Tasting the Difference at Esona

The Vineyard Hotel a Classic Vehicle to Showcase L’Ormarins Wines

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

Rijk Tulbagh Gives Name to Cellar and Town

It’s High Time Again

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

Very Cape Wines at Capaia

Wine on the Slopes at Chamonix

More than Just a Destination

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

Grape Fun – Stomping Well Worth the Journey!

Boutique de Brendel

Villion Pairs with Barton in Bot Rivier


  1. Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson – Cape Wine Lovers Society

    […] Saturday: Lords Winery, Bemind Wyne, Tanagra Winery & Distillery […]

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