Busy, Bubbly, Noisy Wonderfontein
Saturday 2 June 2018
Wonderfontein Wines was my last but one Wacky Wine Weekend tasting as I headed back down the Agterkliphoogte Valley into Robertson on my way back to Cape Town. Wonderfontein produces the Paul René MCC Range, the Wonderfontein Range of La Bonne Vigne red/white table wines and Muscadel, and a Merlot in the Marais Family Range. The MCC was on offer to the Wacky Winers and they were out in force for the Saturday lunchtime, which is why I try avoiding popular venues during the busy weekend.
The approach road was backed up with cars and coaches to make for a long walk through the attractive vineyards with the vines in their golden colours in the winter sun. A stretch tent covered the entrance path with oysters and salmon on offer to tempt the festival goers, albeit the oysters had run out. It opened out to an elegant cellar and the Marais home beside a manicured lawn. Outside were a range of food and craft stalls and a band playing. There was a definite noisy, party atmosphere with tasters in their 20s and 30s, lower than elsewhere at Wacky Wine.
Five generations of the Marais family have been making wine at Wonderfontein since 1884. Great Grandfather Kowie Marais taught his children that if they could not do something or know how to do it then they must acquire the knowledge to do so. The current owner, Paul Marais took over the business when only 21 years old and was given a welder for his 14th birthday, learning to repair motorcycles and lawnmowers. Paul has done much to modernise the cellar and to establish Wonderfontein as a boutique MCC specialist winery.
I headed into the crowded Tasting Room, with its elegant bubbles light fitting where the 2 staff were doing a sterling job serving the many visitors. I tasted two MCC, each requiring 3 of the 6 Wacky Wine vouchers per tasting. The first, the Brut MCC, was a pale straw colour and with surprisingly few bubbles. I picked out warm baked apple notes on the nose – the sparkling wine was made from Chardonnay – together with those of almonds and yeast. The wine was clean and refreshing on the palate with moderate fruit flavours on the palate.
The Rosé MCC show more of a moussante character than the Brut wine. It was pale blush pink in colour and with less apple and more strawberry aromas on the nose. The mouthfeel was good but the flavour weaker than for the Brut MCC. There were no spittoons that I could see. Both wines were average and bubbly which is what the many attending wanted.
It was soon time to escape the hectic tasting and head to Le Roux & Fourie for my last tasting of the weekend and return to the Mother City and home.
Wines tasted (bought *):
2015 Paul René Brut Chardonnay MCC – R185 FAVOURITE WINE
2015 Paul René Brut Pinot Noir/Chardonnay Brut Rosé – R185