Tuesday, November 06, 2018

A hot Sunday at Robertson Wine Valley's Wine on the River Festival

We admit that we had been warned about the weather all week long, before we ventured to Robertson for the last day of Wine on The River, one of our favourite wine festivals. And boy, was it hot! At midday, it reached 42 degrees. Everyone was having a great time. First, we called in at the Robertson Wine Valley desk to get our media passes from Beatrix; also glasses, some vouchers, a lovely bottle of De Wetshof Finesse Chardonnay to drink with our lunch and some more of the very useful necklace wine glass holders, which allow us to control cameras and notebooks and keep our wine glasses hanging safely on our chests 
You can see the heat in the photos; most people were under umbrellas
or the trees alongside the river. As the afternoon wore on, a cooling breeze did appear
There were food trucks and some of the farms were also serving food
We cannot imagine what the temperature inside the bubble was! But someone was having fun
We found a shady nook under the trees and went to do some wine tasting
First to our friends at Quando; brothers, viticulturist Martin and winemaker Fanus Bruwer and their new marketing man Vaughan. We tasted their good crisp Sauvignon Blanc, the quaffable Chenin Blanc Viognier blend and the excellent Pinot Noir. Our favourite for the day was the Mourvedre Rosé, but we would buy them all if we could. We recommend you to try them
Then to Weltevrede to taste their wines. The chilled Philip Jonker Entheos Chardonnay Pinot Noir MCC was just what a hot day called for. They have a new range called Simplicity, where the wine label states the main flavour and it certainly is quite an interesting selling point - you know just what you are getting. The Rosé made from Gewurztraminer and Shiraz does indeed taste of Turkish Delight; the Tropico Sauvignon Blanc is indeed full of tropical flavours and the Lemon Zest Chardonnay is full of zingy citrus flavours. Ditto the red wines in the range
Lilies wilting in the heat
We took refuge under the awning at Montagu's Mimosa Lodge restaurant tent
Next to the tent was Mimosa Lodge owner Bernhard Hess with their wines
Lourens van der Westhuizen (Arendsig in Bonnievale) is their consultant wine maker
Our excellent lunch. A platter of sushi to share and 6 enormous tempura prawns
with a sweet chilli dipping sauce. And that lovely Finesse
This lean and elegant chardonnay certainly does have lots of Finesse;
it's quieter initially than De Wetshof's other wooded Chardonnays,
but opens up on the palate with such lovely minerality, citrus and lime flavours
John tasted at Klue - a name new to us, but a farm we have known previously as Wolvendrift
Lynne tried, but they were too involved in a conversation with a visitor, so she moved on
Marbin make some very good olive oils and Lynne could not resist their
Fennel flavoured extra virgin oil, it really enhances fish and salads
Pretty girls having a lot of fun in the sun
Lourens van der Westhuizen, owner of Arendsig wines in Bonnievale, showed us his really excellent organic single vineyard Solara Sauvignon Blanc, grown on Hout Baai Farm in the McGregor mountain river valley. Rich on the palate, with both tropical fruit and zesty citrus and cream lees, this wine is layered and big. Definitely a food wine. We bought a case. He is a very good winemaker and consults to many farms in the area. At this point, the heat got the better of Lynne, who had to go and rest in the shade. John continued tasting
He went to meet some of the people that we were to see over the next two days,
with whom we had made appointments. Here, Mont Blois owners Ernst and Nina-Mari Bruwer
We will be doing articles on each farm we visited
Henk van Niekerk at Paul René with their MCC
One of the few farms charging for tastings, but people do try to take advantage,
so he has to stem the flow
Lots of water was consumed in the heat
and ice creams
Live music all day from different groups
A salami stand, with sausages made by a Hungarian and his Polish partner
And lots of lovely bubbles at the Graham Beck stand
They had wonderful misters blowing cool air with a fine mist
It frizzed the hair, but calmed the heat stroke
All their bubblies were available for tasting. We tried the Blanc de Blanc, our favourite
Local lunch stand
There were even handbags and hats for sale. Bet they did a roaring trade in hats
Glamour and wine
Fancy a Toastie?
Yes please, Mum
and local produce for sale in the market tent
Old friends on the Bon Courage stand
Pallet tables and cling film wrapped hay bales. Lynne's legs did get badly bitten
by something and she hopes it was not hay bale mites; their bites last a long time.
Despite the punishing heat, everyone was having a great day

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