Dave and I were invited to attend the launch of The River Collection 2018 at Bonnievale Wines. We were presented with a tasting of the Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and a Cinsault Rosé.
The start of our day
We were asked to be at Weltevrede Wine Estate at 13h30 where they put on an amazing lunch accompanied by The River Collection Sauvignon Blanc. This was followed by a MCC tasting in the wine cellar hosted by Philip Jonker. But, the highlight of the afternoon was disgorging and corking our own bottle of MCC to take home. We then checked into our accommodation and got dressed up for our evening at Bonnievale Wines.
This co-operative cellar was established in The Breede River Valley in 2006. They are currently supplied by 100 farms and their aim is to achieve grape grower sustainability. An important aspect of this is concentrating on vineyard practices and following what the terroir dictates. What is amazing is that the area has a huge diversity in terms of soil and the vineyards here are over 100 years old. Transformation is also part of their objectives and includes having a farm owned by the winery workers. In order to be a world player and grow the export side of the business, grape production needs to be increased. The key words to achieving their goals are future proof, relevant, credible.
The River Collection
These wines have been made in line with what people will drink. Aimed at the growing middle class The River Collection has been well priced in the market. A unique selling point for Bonnievale Wines is that they can trace each wine to a specific vineyard. Our tasting was led by the wine makers responsible for each wine.
- The Cinsault Rosé was picked at a low sugar level resulting in a low alcohol wine. The short amount of time of the juice on the skin has resulted in a light colour wine. It is crisp and dry with lovely aromatics on the nose.
- The Sauvignon Blanc was picked from 2 blocks of grapes at a balling of 21 – 22. It is extremely tropical and preserved with nitrogen.
- The Chenin Blanc is our favourite of the 4. The grapes come from one sprawl canopy block that is 8 years old and machine harvested. The other is 26 years old and was hand harvested. The low temperature fermentation has resulted in a crisp wine. It is floral on the nose and has lovely fruity aromas on the palate.
- The Chardonnay was picked from 2 blocks at a balling of 22.5 – 23. It was harvested with a low pH and has good acidity. This full-bodied wine gets it traditional Chardonnay mouth feel from having been exposed to oak staves during maturation. There is peach on the nose and dried fruit on the palate.
Balling is a term used to determine the sugar levels in the grapes. For harvesting this is very important and forms part of what is looked for before picking begins. The sugar in the grapes provides the fuel for fermentation. It will also be influential on the alcohol content of the wine. Ideally, grapes are picked at between 22 and 26 balling.
Disclosure: Dave and I were invited to attend this launch by Yolandi de Wet. This post is in line with my blogging policy.