My visit to Rooiberg Winery has been the perfect start to this new addition to my blog. Let me start of by saying that I’ve always maintained that the people from the Langeberg area are a special breed, really very nice people (okay, perhaps I could be a tad bit bias since I’m from the area). However, having said that; Ashley Jaftha from Rooiberg Winery was an absolute delight, like a breath of fresh air. She was incredibly passionate about the wines and let me tell you, this lady knows her wines. I couldn’t help but fall in love with every sip of Rooiberg wine.
Look at all the awards stickers on their Reserve Chardonnay (left) and Ash with a bottle of their Red Chair Bean There Pinotage which features a hint of coffee (right).
I stumbled into Rooiberg Winery on Tuesday like a lost tourist but I was immediately welcomed by the friendliness and hospitality of everyone there. Because Rooiberg operates as a cooperation with 34 members and 16 farms that grows their various grapes, it is able to keep their prices at a minimum making their wines very affordable to the public, Ashley explained to me. Last year they produced around 10,800 tonnes of grapes generating between 7.2 million and 8 million litres of wine. Man, that’s a sh*#%t load of wine! (Pardonnez mon français)
I tasted six types of wines. Here they are in chronological order;
Flamingo Sparking Wine
Just arriving inside their tasting room from the excruciating 30 degree heat on Tuesday, this sparkling wine presented a lovely solace. It is produced from the pinotage and the red muscadel grape and is not an MCC (Methode Cap Classique – a sparkling wine which is made in the traditional Champagne style), but merely a soft carbonated drink, says Ashley. It has a 9% alcohol level and is really lovely when served cold, I can certainly attest to that. It has a slightly sweet, fruity taste but it’s very subtle and not overwhelming. I would recommend this lovely, light wine for a lazy afternoon cooler. It really managed to quench that thirst (if you know what I mean?).
The Flamingo is a semi-sweet sparking wine (left) while they also offer the Rooiberg Winery Rose Natural Sweet (right) as a lovely alternative.
Rooiberg Red Chair
Their latest offering, the Red Chair collection, was created to capitalise on one of their biggest marketing ploys; the ‘Biggest Chair in Africa’ and it’s worked wonderfully, says Ashley. “People love the idea of this massive, red chair outside our door and we thought why not create a range of wines to compliment this creative marketing initiative. People love a good story and the red chair has become one of our stories, so we made it part of our brand,” she said. They launched the Red Chair brand in March last year and they hope to have the wine in local Checkers stores by next month (November). “We are very excited about this new range,” Ashley said.
And the wine certainly lives up to its creative birthing idea. First up was the Red Chair Sauvignon Blanc De Light. This is a very light and refreshing wine. It’s the type of wine (my dietary) dreams are made off; it’s low in kilojoules (yay!) and low in alcohol (9%), but full in taste! It has a zesty, lime taste with a fruity flavour aftertaste. I also wanted to taste the Red Chair ‘Bean There’ Pinotage and found it a lovely delight of dark mocha and rich plum with velvety linger in your mouth. The alcohol level in this wine is 14%.
The Red Chair range (left) next to the creative genius behind its name; the actual ‘Biggest Chair in Africa’ (right).
Next it was onto, what I’ve found to be, my absolute favourite, the 2014 Columbar! The grapes from the Langeberg area tend to have higher sugar levels due to our climate, Ashley explains, which gives this wine just a tad hint of sweetness. Since I took the very first sip, a fruity, guava taste exploded in my mouth. It has a beautiful mixture of tropical and fresh honey aftertaste. It was so refreshing and light. I really enjoyed this wine.
We moved next to their range of red wines. Their flagship range of wines, the Reserve range, weighs up nicely with other superior wines from the area. The range is made from strictly A-grade, single variety grapes and matured in first fill French oak barrels. (For those who, like me, are less advanced in their wine knowledge, Ashley explains that this simply means that the Reserve range is the very first wine range to enter the French oak barrel, afterwards the barrel is reused to store some of their other wine varieties.) That is also one of the reasons their Reserve range’s wines are so DELISH.
Rooiberg Pinotage Reserve
To my palate’s delight, Ashley pulled out their award-winning Rooiberg Pinotage Reserve. It is the acclaimed recipient of the Gold Medal at the 2014 Gold Wine Awards as well as a Silver Medal at the 2014 International Wine and Spirit Completion, and rightly so. It has been 18 months wood-matured and has a purple, deep ruby shade. Your tongue really comes alive with the very first sip. It’s has a combination of redcurrant, blackberry and subtle vanilla notes from aging in the new barrels.
The Rooiberg Winery’s Reserve range.
Rooiberg Cape Vintage Port
As with all good things in life, this trip too had to come to an end, sadly. And Ashley didn’t disappoint; sending me off with a final tasting of their delish Port. Very fittingly, this 18-month matured, desert wine left that good feeling of satisfaction on my tongue. The aromatic flavours of fruitiness lingered in my mouth as I walked to my car. It wouldn’t be too long before I pop into Rooiberg Winery again. And that’s a fact.
Rooiberg Winery also boasts a GORGE restaurant, Bodega de Vinho, on the premises for a yummy lunch.
Restaurant Bodega de Vinho at Rooiberg Winery.
Another Bodega de Vinho snap.
I absolutely loved the chandeliers at the restaurant, it just gave it that romantic feel.
Ashley and I after my tasting… I’m still holding up after a few glasses. #soproud
Visit Rooiberg Winery’s website for more info and prices on their various wines. Also, please follow Rooiberg Winery on twitter and facebook. A special thanks to Ashley Jaftha for the wonderful tasting. I had such a fab time, also follow her on twitter.
If you don’t follow my blog yet, please subscribe by clicking on the tab on the right side of the blog. Please also follow me on twitter and follow my blog on facebook. I’ll be posting a lot more reviews over the coming months.
Ps. Thanks to Rooiberg for this tweet… ↓
I’m so incredibly humbled.
Till next time, xoxo