Ian and Sean's Highly Opinionated Winelands Report


Every year (or at least whenever possible) we - Ian Sanders and Sean Pyott - make a trip to the winelands of the Cape. This report contains our experiences of our 1997 trip (leaving Johannesburg 25 October 1997 and returning 4 November 1997). It contains information about where we stayed and which estates/vineyards/producers we visited.


25 October 1997 to 30 October 1997 - Oak Cottage, Bo La Motte Farm, Franschhoek

This is a cottage on an established fruit farm. The cottage has one bedroom, a bathroom and a general living area. It comes with two beds - we typically move one into the living area. There are also two other (bigger) cottages on the farm.

The farm is very pretty - lots of roses and fruit trees and some vines - has a swimming pool near the cottages and a swimming dam as well as other dams. A real pleasure after a hard day of wine tasting is a good long swim in the dam followed by a braai and some good wine. The cottage presently comes with a very cute well mannered Jack Russel Terrier - he seems to adopt us whenever we stay. He is getting on in years now though :-( so might not be around the next time we go. He is called Topsy by the owners but we have decided that George suits him better.

The owners of the farm sell jams and will also supply a fantastic picnic basket if given 24 hours notice.

Franschhoek is a small and quite pretty village in a valley between the mountains. A very pleasant place to visit and stay.

31 October to 2 November - Oak Cottage, Pat Busch Private Nature Reserve, Robertson

Not even close to the other Oak Cottage as far as beauty and luxury go but comfortable enough. Two single beds in a one room which was also the living room wasn't the ideal setup.

The reserve is quite big and the bird life seemed to be quite varied. The walks (well based on the one we tried) are very overgrown and rather rough going. The swimming dam was quite pleasant but too far from the cottages to make it really easy or pleasant. The overall feeling is that the owners have had a good idea but haven't really followed through enough to make it a really good place to stay. We would probably not go back.

3 November 1997 - The Lighthouse, Colesburg

Our regular halfway stop on the trip to/from Cape Town. Very comfortable and a pleasant place to stay. We normally ask for Room Number 4 which is a big room plus a smaller room and a bathroom and NO TV. Facilities are available for making tea and coffee and it is possible to buy homemade rusks at a very good price.

There are two very nice places within very easy walking distance to get supper - The Upstairs and The Mill. The Upstairs is a family run restuarant which does some very good traditional Afrikaans/Karoo recipes at very reasonable prices. The wine choice there is normally very restricted but the prices are good. The Mill is a "traditional" English pub run by a New Zealander. The food tends to being "British" but is very good and quite reasonable. Drinks prices are also not too bad.

Wine Estates/Vineyards/Wine Makers Visited


This trip report only gives information about places we visited this year and wines we tasted on these visits. Please note that in a lot of cases wines had already been sold out and thus were no longer available for tasting. Also note that on some occasions we did not taste wines which were actually available.

The comments contained herein are made in good faith to provide information for other wine lovers. The report is made up of our personal opinions on the visits and the wines and we are not egotistical enough to believe that we are always right. We apologise in advance for any errors or omissions.

General comment

- prices seemed to somewhat higher than expected from previous trips - more wines were unavailable for tasting due to being sold out - there seems to be a tendency for white wines to become drier (to suit international palates?)



General Comment - Probably worth the visit.
Cost of tasting - R4.00 per person for 5 wines
Service - Friendly enough but not too informed.
Wines - Pleasant but unremarkable except for guava nose as noted. Their best wine - 1995 Chardonnay Reserve - was not available for tasting
White Wines
Vinho Marisco (R8.50) - light and pleasant
1997 Chamonix Blanc (Chenin Blanc and Weisser Riesling) (R13.50) - distinct guava nose, pleasant
1995 Sauvignon Blanc (R15) - a bit past it,
1997 Sauvignon Blanc (R20) - distinct quava nose but otherwise unremarkable Red Wines
NV Rouge (R14) - dry but pleasant.
Other - also sell sparkling wine, Schnapps (from various fruits), still and sparkling water and "bar mixers"
Restaurant - didn't try it.

Haute Provence

General Comment - Worth the visit.
Cost of tasting - R5.00 per person (This was waived when we purchased wines)
Service - Friendly and informative
Wines - generally good traditional white wines
White Wines
Chenin Blanc Reserve 1997 (R18.50) - wooded, good balance of fruit and wood
Semillon 1997 (R18.50) - unwooded, fresh and fruity
Sauvignon Blanc 97 (R18) - pleasant, lacking in distinct cat's pee nose.
Angel's Tears (Muscat d'Alexandrie and Chenin Blanc) (R16) - off dry, quite pleasant and very popular.
Red Wines
Only make a Cabernet Sauvignon (Sold out)
Also tasted
Landau du Val Semillon (R26) - wooded
Landau du Val Sauvignon Blanc (R26?) - pleasant
Have just purchased a neighbouring farm - La Provence - will be making wines under a number of labels. Current La Provence wines (not made by Haute Provence) are also available for tasting and purchase.
very nice border collie dog
Restaurant - none

Rickety Bridge

General Comment - Worth the visit.
Cost of tasting - R5.00 per person (for 4 wines! and not waived when we purchased wine)
Service - pleasant
Wines - generally good
White Wines
Fine White 1997 (R20?) - pleasant, very light, lunchtime wine.
Chenin Blanc 1997 (R25) - pleasant but unremarkable
Sauvignon Blanc 1997 (R27.50) -
Red Wines
Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 (R40) - up front fruit, distinctly "new world style" and we believe "new clone" cabernet sauvignon.
Other - very friendly golden spaniel. Interesting Cape Dutch (T) house - national monument. New cellar and wine tasting venue presently under construction - to be opened in December.
Restaurant - none

Moreson Soleil du Matin

General Comment - Worth the visit.
Cost of tasting - R1.00 per wine tasted (waived when we purchased wines but probably would have been anyway)
Service - friendly
Wines - little available for tasting
White Wines
Chenin Blanc 1997 (R25) - pleasant, distinct fruity fragrance
Premium Chardonnay 1996 (R35) - wooded
Red Wines
None available for tasting
Dessert Wines
Noble Late Harvest (R40 for 375ml) - distinct apricot nose, sweet but not cloying
Other -
Restaurant - didn't try it but it looks very pleasant and the prices seem to be quite reasonable (around R30-R35 for a main meal). We will try to eat there


General Comment - Probably worth the visit - the tasting room is impressive.
Cost of tasting - R5.00 for 6 tickets - 1 ticket per wine tasted
Service - Disinterested - poured the wine and went back to work, didn't stay around to answer any questions.
Wines - Generally easy drinking and aimed at the mass market.
White Wines
Chardonnay 1997 (R20.80) - Fruity, not typical Chardonnay
Red Wines
Pinotage 1996 (R22.70) - light, some paint remover on nose and taste
Shiraz 1996 (R25.15) - light, lacks complexity, some peppers on taste
Merlot 1996 (R24) - light, easy drinking, typical nose
Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 (R27.70)- dusty blackcurrant berry nose, slighly acidic
Classic (Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon Blend, 60%/40%) (R21.50) - light, tannic
Dessert Wines
Natural Gold 1996 (R7.50 for 250ml bottle) - Fresh, not too sweet, very fruity (but what fruit?)
Other -
Restaurant - None

L `Ormarins

General Comment - Great, definitely worth the visit.
Cost of tasting - R5.00 per person. A strange feature here was that the tasting fee had to be paid to the security guard at the entrance to the estate and one was given a tasting coupon to be presented in the tasting room.
Service - Friendly, informative, helpful, other extra information.
Wines - Generally high quality - they appear to only release their wines when they are close to being drinkable, hence we tasted a 1991 Merlot and a 1993 Shiraz.
White Wines
Sauvignon Blanc 1997 (R18.50) - delicate, no cat's pee nose
Chardonnay 1996 (R24.80) - 6 months oak but very little wood on palate
Pinot Gris 1996 (R17.55) - Fruit salad nose but a somewhat harsh taste
Rhine Resling 1996 (with 8% Gewurtraminer) (R16.05) - fruity, spicy nose, great wine.
Guldepfenning (1/3 Gewurztraminer, Muscat Ottonel and Rhine Riesling) (R10.50) - off-dry, pleasant
Red Wines
Merlot 1991 (R26.20) - creamy chocalate nose, will still mature.
Shiraz 1993 (R26.10) - high tannins, good fruit, nice to drink now but will still improve
Dessert Wines
Other - Nice tasting room
Restaurant - None

Plaisir De Merle

General Comment - Good wine, great setting, definitely worth the visit
Cost of tasting - none
Service - Friendly and quite informative
Wines - High quality!
White Wines
Sauvignon Blanc 1996 (R32) - very full wine, grassy nose
Chardonnay 1996 (R35) -
Red Wines
Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 (R44) - dusty (dirt track) nose, full fruit
Dessert Wines
Other - nice tasting room
Restaurant - None

Dieu Donne'

General Comment - Finally made it - we have tried twice before. It was worth the visit.
Cost of tasting - No charge
Service - Very good - Interesting and interested. Had time for us and was quite prepared to chat.
Wines - Generally good.
White Wines
Sauvignon Blanc 1996 (R10) - fresh, grassy, fruity with a good clean long aftertaste.
Chardonnay 1995 (wooded) (R19.50) - Don't like (IS)
Chenin Blanc 1997 (R9.50) - some fruit up front but bland overall
Red Wines
Merlot 1996 (R20.50) - young, good berries
Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 (R21.50) - still some tannins and will mature but is quite accessible now.
Dessert Wines
Other - GREAT view of the Franschhoek Valley!
Restaurant - None


Backsberg Estates Wines

General Comment - Worth the visit.
Cost of tasting - R5.00 per person (Not actually charged - whether it was because we bought or not, who knows)
Service - Competent but not very friendly - distant (SP)
Wines - Red wines are not for easy (early (SP)) drinking.
White Wines
Chardonnay 1996 (R21.95)
Chenin Blanc 1997 (R10.90) - good fresh nose and quite pleasant
Rhine Riesling 1997 (R12.50) - unremarkable
Red Wines
Merlot 1995 (19.25) - lots of fruit, distinct varietal character.
Shiraz 1995 (R19.90) - lots of tannins, will develop.
Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 (R21.95) - lots of tannins, appeared to have a somewhat closed nose, should mature well.
Klein Babylonstoren 1995 (R22.50) - not impressed, watery
Dessert Wines
Brandy (R72) - Great!
Other - Also bought a 1994 Malbec from a limited release R19.90.
Restaurant - None

Glen Carlou

General Comment - Definitely worth the visit.
Cost of tasting - R3.00 per person (Not charged)
Service - Friendly, informative, made some of her own comments about the wines rather than relying on prepared spiel, happy to admit if she did not know something and prepared to find out.
Wines - Generally high quality.
White Wines
Chardonnay 1997 (R35) -
Devereux 1997 (90% Chenin blanc, 10% Chardonnay) (R16) - Interesting but too much Chardonnay (IS)
Red Wines
Pinot Noir 1996 - Sold Out - Pity - wanted to try it (SP)
Les Trois 1996 (25% Merlot, 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Petit Verdo) (R20.94) - Pinot Noir nose!
Grand Classique 1995 (R36) - Bordeaux Blend, will mature, peak 2002 to 2010. Very good wine but don't drink now.
Merlot 1996 (R27.75) -
Dessert Wines
Port 1995 (R45) - Vintage Port from traditional grapes in traditional style - wonderful!
Other - Fantastic views, interesting building, friendly golden retriever, fleshy olives in interesting herby oil
Restaurant - None


General Comment - Probably worth the visit.
Cost of tasting - No charge was mentioned, may be different in season
Service - Friendly and informative
Wines - generally cheap and pleasant
White Wines
Chenin Blanc 1997 (R9.50) - pleasant
Paarl Riesling 1997 (R9.20) - fresh, fruity
Red Wines
Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 (R20.40) - not remarkable
Cinsaut/Cabernet Sauvignon 1997 (R11.75) - very light, 90% cinsaut
Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 Reserve (R30) - not for tasting - recent double gold at Veritas
Dessert Wines
Special Late Harvest 1997 (R10.65) - fresh, not too sweet
Other -
Restaurant - None

de Leuwen Jagt

General Comment - Interesting as it was the first time we had been there but we will probably not go back..
Cost of tasting - R3.00 for 6 tickets, 1 ticket per wine tasted
Service - friendly and relatively informative - ticket system ridiculously adhered to when we were the only people there - why??
Wines - generally we weren't too impressed - didn't buy any
White Wines
Chenin Blanc 1995 (R9.90) - distinct honey (IS)
Paarl Riesling 1997 (R10) - fresh and light
Weisser Riesling 1997 (R9.90) - distinct turpeens, unpleasant nose but quite fresh on the palate - interesting comparative tasting suggested of Pinotage, turpentine and this Weisser Riesling (SP)
Red Wines
Merlot 1996 (R16.10) - unremarkable
Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot 1995 (R16.10) - unremarkable
Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 (R17.75) - never great and unlikely to improve
Private Bin 1 1991 (R17.75) - as above
Dessert Wines
Late Harvest 1996 (R9.85) - pleasant
Muscadel 1995 (R14) - typical - (Comparable to Simonsvlei (SP))
Other - Tasting venue and restaurant in pleasant underground venue
Restaurant - Seemed like it would be a good and relatively cheap place to eat.


General Comment - Singularly underimpressed with the wine side of things. No wine lists, no staff in tasting area. Would not go back if it wasn't for the cheese!
Cost of tasting - ????
Service - Didn't try
Wines - Very little available for tasting so we headed straight for the cheese. Vintage wines available were incredibly expensive
White Wines
Red Wines
Dessert Wines
Other - Great goat's milk (and cows milk) cheese. Definitely worth going there for the cheese if not for the wine.
Restaurant - None



General Comment - Very few wines to taste but still worth the visit and we did get to taste some stuff which was "no longer available" and an "experimental blend".
Cost of tasting - none
Service - Great! Friendly, informative, prepared to talk to us and listen to us. Not just a prepared "spiel"
Wines - High quality
White Wines
Muscat de Frontignan 1997 (R17) - fresh and fruity
Rhine Riesling 1997 (R20) - amazing that something which has such a fruity nose could be so bone dry.
Experimental blend (as yet unnamed) of Chardonnay and Muscat - interesting fruity, fresh.
Red Wines
Cabernet Sauvignon 1994 - big full wine, very good, unfortunately sold out
Dessert Wines -
Other -
Restaurant - None


General Comment - Didn't taste - must make an appointment to do so - just bought some wine. A visit to taste and see the cellar etc. is recommended.
Restaurant - this is also recommended.


General Comment - Always worth the visit although this time was not as satisfying as on previous ocassions.
Cost of tasting - Didn't charge us anything but were charging tour groups R5 for 5 tickets. Seems like a good arrangement to me.
Service - competent and reasonably informative.
Wines - mostly quite good.
White Wines
Sauvignon Blanc 1997 - crisp, dry some fruit
Red Wines
Socialable Dry Red (Pinotage, Shiraz, Zinfandel) NV - easy enough drinking
Red Landau NV (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot) - Dry, easy drinking, always pleasant
Cabernet Sauvignon 1993, 1994 - Not for tasting
Cabernet Sauvignon 1988 (bottled in 375ml bottles) - very good balanced wine.
Dessert Wines
Chenin Blanc Special Late Harvest 1997 - fruity
Port - Good stuff
Other - "Country Shop" with great jams and chutneys.
Restaurant - Didn't try it this time but have in the past and found it quite pleasant.

Jordan Winery

General Comment - Worth the visit.
Cost of tasting - No charge
Service - Friendly and informative but not overly knowledgable
Wines - Mostly quite good.
White Wines
Sauvignon Blanc 1997 - pleasant enough
Rhine Resling 1996 - drier than previous vintages, no longer has the touch of Gewurztraminer in it (IS - it is the worse for not having it). Apparently 1997 will be even drier.
Red Wines
Chameleon 1995 (Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot) - easy drinking
Merlot 1995 - berries and some tannin
Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 - full bodied, berry flavours.
Dessert Wines
Other - Nice view, pleasant tasting room.
Restaurant - None


General Comment - A place we normally enjoy visiting but they were obviously having a bad day.
Cost of tasting - None
Service - Disinterested at best.
Wines - Mostly quite good.
White Wines
Sauvignon Blanc 1997 - dry, unremarkable
Chardonnay 1997 - touch of wood, pleasant
Rosenburg Range - Chenin Blanc 1997 - bland and uninteresting
Red Wines
Pinotage 1995 - good fruit, very distinct paint remover taste, needs time to integrate and soften, could be a good wine in 5-8 years time.
Cabernet Sauvignon 1993 - good fruit
Dessert Wines
Other -
Restaurant - None


General Comment - Always worth the visit if only to buy the port. At least it wasn't sold out this time.
Cost of tasting - R1.00 per person per wine tasted (waived when we bought wine - lots of it)
Service - Somewhat harassed but quite friendly, informative and knowledgable once she had some time.
Wines - Generally good. The port is very popular!
Red Wines
Ansela van de Caab 1994 (Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot) - lots of tannins needs time
Melck's Reserve 1995 - (Pinot Noir/Melot) - light, unremarkable
Merlot 1996 - lots of tannins, needs time
Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 - good, lots of fruit, needs time
Dessert Wines
Port - Ruby Style, from typical Portuguese cultivars, Great!
Other - Very rustic tasting room.
Restaurant - None


General Comment - Definitely worth the visit, I like it more every time I go (IS).
Cost of tasting - None
Service - very casual by the owner/winemake Paul Benade
Wines - Good.
White Wines
Chenin Blanc 1996 - pleasant but nothin special
Red Wines
Lievlander 1996 (Cinsaut (dominant) and Ruby Cabernet) - pleasant, easy drinking.
Shiraz 1996 - some spice, low tannins, good mouth feel, will mature.
Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 - Tannic, very fruity, very nice
DVB 1994 (Bordeaux style blend) - very fruity, tannic, needs time.
Dessert Wines
Sweet Natural Wine 1996 - mouldy, raisiny nose (SP), very sweet.
Noble Late Harvest - fruity, not too sweet.
Other -
Restaurant - None

Walker Bay


General Comment - The first time we had been in the area. Definitely worth the visit.
Cost of tasting - none
Service - We had Jayne Beaumont (the owners are Raoul and Jayne Beaumont) giving us a tasting and a cellar tour. It was great, she was very chatty, obviously knew what had been done and was being done on the farm - she had done a lot of it herself, and made us feel very welcome.
Wines - A fairly limited range of high quality wines.
White Wines
Chenin Blanc 1996 (R20) - fresh, clean, some honey on the palate
Sauvignon Blanc 1996 (R20) - atypical of the varietal
Sauvignon Blanc 1997 (R20) - very typical nose and taste
Chardonnay 1997 (R36) - out of stock
Red Wines
Pinotage Reserve 1996 (R26) - (IS) wafts of paint remover on the nose and definite paint remover on the palate dominated the fruit
. Shiraz 1997 (tasted from the tank) (R30) - a big wine, lots of fruit, spicy, should be worth buying. Available January 1998.
Dessert Wines
Goutte d'Or 1996 (R40 for 375ml) - fruity fresh nose, not too sweet.
Other - Accommodation available on the farm at a very reasonable rate (R80.00 per adult)
Nice dogs.
Restaurant - none


General Comment - A first visit and definitely worth the effort.
Cost of tasting - none
Service - We had the wine maker giving us the tasting and a brief cellar tour. Very clued up on the farming and winemaking aspects. Quite prepared to spend time and talk to us about future plans (only to produce varietal wines in future, hope to make a semillon soon, also convinced that Cabernet Franc should be made as a varietal wine)and current problems (tensions over sharing the labourforce with the fruit side of the enterprise, duikers destroying the pinotage vines).
Wines - Generally very good.
White Wines
Chenin Blanc 1997 (R20) - fresh easy drinking
Sauvignon Blanc 1997 (R25) -
Chardonnay 1997 (R25) - amazing vanilla nose (American Oak) overlaying lots of fruit, should develop well in the bottle over a few years
Red Wines
Cabernet Franc/Merlot blend (R17) - definitely majority of Cabernet Franc, lots of fruit, low tannins, drinkable now but will improve over a few years.
Cabernet Sauvignon (R45) - a big wine, lots of fruit, good tannins.
Dessert Wines
Other -
Restaurant - None

Whalehaven Wines

General Comment - Worth the visit.
Cost of tasting - none
Service - friendly, reasonably well informed, helpful.
Wines - Generally very good.
White Wines
Sauvignon Blanc 1997 (R28) - fresh, pleasant
Chardonnay 1997 (R28) - fresh, clean
Red Wines
Merlot (R22) - good berries
Pinot Noir (R38) - typical varietal nose and palate.
Old Harbour, Bordeaux blend - with a label designed by a local artist Jenny Bowes Meyer (R30) - well balanced and pleasant.
Dessert Wines
Other - Interesting tasting venue with lots of paintings on sale.
Restaurant - None

Hamilton Russel Vineyards

General Comment - Probably worth visiting once and thereafter leaving it for the American and German tourists who can afford the prices. A beautiful setting - a very small Cape Dutch style house on the banks of a manmade dam as the tasting venue. Tall pine trees on the far side of the dam and the mountains in the background add to the beauty and peaceful feeling.
Cost of tasting - none
Service - Confused and harrassed. Definitely should have had more than one person available. It must be terribly crowded during the tourist season or if they get a crowd in.
Wines - Good but somewhat disappointing
White Wines
Sauvignon Blanc 1997 (R38) - fresh, clean wine
Chardonnay 1995 (R55) - typical
Red Wines
Pinot Noir 1996 (R68) - good fruit, well balanced, will mature.
Dessert Wines
Other -
Restaurant - None

Bouchard Finlayson

General Comment - Probably worth visiting once and thereafter leaving it for the American and German tourists who can afford the prices
Cost of tasting - None
Service - Painfully patronising!!! Made us sit at a table with some german/swiss tourists with a bratty child and lectured to us. Mainly a rehearsed "spiel" and no personal insights.
Wines - good but not worth the money
White Wines
Banc de Mer 1997 blended white (R25) - light, fresh and fruity
Sauvignon Blanc 1997 (R35) - crisp and somewhat fruity.
Chardonnay 1996 (R40) - pleasant enough
Red Wines
Pinot Noir 1996 Galpin Peak (R85) - good fruit and strong tannins, needs lots of time to integrate. Should turn out to be a good wine.
Dessert Wines
Other - Friendly dogs, nice view
Restaurant - None

The Bergkelder Vinoteque

General Comment - This was not a general winetasting - we had made an appointment to come in and taste our wines which we bought through the Bergkelder Vinoteque scheme and which have been maturing there for various periods of time. The tasting was private and was done in a reasonably secluded part of the cellar. Unfortunately we weren't secluded enough as a number of tours came by and took pictures of us.
Service - The Bergkelder Vinoteque person who set up the tasting for us - Louise van Byleveldt - was very friendly and efficient. The people at the cellar were too.
Our Wines Tasted
Alto Rouge 1993 - Berry woody nose, slightly tannic, fruity but dry, 2-3 years to go
Alto Rouge 1994 - Woody nose, Fruity slightly tannic, 2-3 years to go
Fleur du Cap Shiraz 1994 - fruity smoky nose, slight tannins, good now but will improve over 2 - 3 years
Fleur du Cap Merlot 1992 - Chocalate nose, Hidden fruit bitter, tannic aftertaste, drink now.
Allesverloren Cabernet Sauvignon 1990 - clear Cab nose, fruity but somewhat closed, tannic, drink in about 5 years.
Fleur du Cap Cabernet Sauvignon 1989 - less tannic than above, fruity drinkable but will improve for 2-3 years.



General Comment - Probably not really worth the visit unless one likes their Pinotage Blanc de Noir and/or very cheap and palatable sparkling wines.
Cost of tasting - None
Service - Adequate but somewhat flustered.
Wines - Cheap and on the whole good value for money,
White Wines
Chenin Blanc 1997 (R9) - fruity and dry
Blanc de Noir 1997 (R9) - drier than previous vintages but still very good and excellent value.
Red Wines
Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 (R14.50) - very young, plummy jammy, will mature
Dessert Wines
Chenin Blanc Special Late Harvest 1995 (R9) - fruity but nothing remarkable
Port 1995 (R15) - full bodied and very drinkable
Other -
Restaurant - None


Nuy Wine Cellar
General Comment - Definitely worth the visit - interesting and great prices.
Cost of tasting - None
Service - Competent
Wines - Good and great value for money generally.
White Wines
Chant du Nuit (Dry White) (R7.75) - dry
Fernao Pires (R7.75) - fruity but very dry
Bukkettraube (R7.75) -
Colombard (R7.75)
Colombard (Semi-sweet) (R7.75) -
Red Wines
Rouge De Nuy (Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot) (R8.83) - Fruity woody nose, dry (SP). too much paint remover (IS)
Cabernet Sauvignon (R10) - Dry, not tasting fruit.
Dessert Wines
Steen Late Harvest - not too sweet
Muscadel Full-Sweet Red - great
Muscadel Full-Sweet White - great
Other - Interesting tasting rooms
Restaurant - None


General Comment - Worth the visit.
Cost of tasting - None
Service - Somewhat harassed at first (not our fault) but quite good when things quietened down a bit. Prepared to discuss things, offer suggestions, make comments on the wines and break the rules (to sell in less than case lots).
Wines - Pleasant and good value
White Wines
Rhine Riesling (R8.49) - Grassy, fruity nose, not too dry.
Colombard (R7.31) - some flowers on the nose, fresh and clean but not very fruity, not too dry.
Chenin Blanc (R7.31) - No wood, fresh, fruity, worth drinking.
Red Wines
Shiraz 1993 (R13.91) - smokey nose, good mouthfeel, some spice (IS). Tannic, acids, harsh aftertaste (SP)
Cabernet Sauvignon 1995 (R14.55) - some tannins, not much fruit, should still improve.
Dessert Wines
Red Muscadel - good, not too sweet
White Muscadel - ditto
Port 1992 - Veritas winner, clearly better than the below - more rounded
Port 1994 - good stuff.
Other -
Restaurant - None but a "Padstal" on the premises which made/sold good bread.

Graham Beck - Madeba

General Comment - Worth the visit, good wines and a very interesting cellar building
Cost of tasting - None
Service - Competent and friendly enough. Offered her advice on other places to visit in the region.
Wines - Good
White Wines
Sauvignon Blanc 1997 (R23) - grassy nose, dry
Madeba Bouquet Blanc (Blend of 3 varietals ???)
Red Wines
Madeba Railroad Red (1996) (Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon) - easy drinking, pleasant
Dessert Wines


General Comment - We weren't that impressed but it is probably worth the visit.
Cost of tasting - None
Service - Pretty much useless, we resorted to serving ourselves wines for tasting and got no information or help at all.
Wines - Competent
White Wines
Sauvignon Blanc 1997 (R15.16) - not too fruity, a complex minerally? taste.
Colombard/Chardonnay 1997 (R21.16) - Acidic, dry, not much fruit
Red Wines
Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 (R24) - good fruit, not very well integrated, minerally taste.
Dessert Wines
Other - The winemaker/owner has his own herd of Springbok on the farm. These were clearly visible on the drive in.
Restaurant - None

Bon Courage

General Comment - We had a good interesting and fun tasting so would have to say this was worth the visit.
Cost of tasting - None
Service - Excellent - informed and informative, knowledgable, friendly
Wines - Very good value for money.
White Wines
Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 1997 (wooded) (R20) - typical nose, acidic, not too dry
Chardonnay 1997 (R10.50) - soft, drinkable, not challenging
Chardonnay Reserve 1997 (R15) - lightly wooded and similar to above
Riesling 1997 (R9.25) - pleasant enough but nothing special
Rhine Resling 1996 (R9.40) - fruity, seemed to be about off-dry, good wine
Gewurztraminer 1996 (R10.50) - good fruity, spicey nose, lots of fruit on palate, good.
Colombard (1997) (R10.20) - fruity, very pleasant
Blanc de Noir (1997) (from shiraz and muscadel) (R7.80) - washed out, lacks complexity (IS). The people there believe there was a problem with the bottling.
Red Wines
Shiraz 1996 (R13.20) - sweet pepper nose, fruit, lingering aftertaste
Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz (1996) (R13.80) - chlorine nose (SP), fruity, berry
Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot (1996) - fruity, berry
Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 (R14.30) - fruity, easy drinking, lot of tannins, very harsh aftertaste (metallic?? (IS)), hope it will integrate (IS)
Dessert Wines
Gewurztraminer Special Late Harvest 1997 (R10.80) - good, not too sweet
Noble Late Harvest (Rhine Riesling) 1997 (R13.20 for 375ml bottle) - nice, well balanced
Red Muscadel 1994 (R12.50) - good.
White Muscadel 1994 (R12.50) - good
Other - Gave us a discount (10%) for a big(gish) purchase which was very nice. Also however, screwed up our order somewhat and gave us a case of both the Noble Late Harvest and the Special Late Harvest (which we ordered) for the price of the Noble Late Harvest. We still did well out of it so we aren't complaining.
Restaurant - None


General Comment - Was not impressed (IS)
Cost of tasting - None
Service - Extremely haphazard - it seemed the people behind the counter had been sampling the product since sunrise. Had to find our own clean glasses and hunt down the wines we wanted to taste.
Wines - Zandvliet Range generally good. Astonvale Range cheaper, easy drinking line.
White Wines
AV Sauvignon Blanc 1997 (R12) - Easy drinking
Red Wines
ZVT Shiraz 1993 and 1994 (R32.86) - We disagreed on which was better (IS 1993, SP 1994). Both had good varietal character, good fruit and will still improve. Definitely a good SA Shiraz.
AV Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon (R23) - easy drinking, nothing special, other better stuff (e.g. Madeba Railroad Red) which is cheaper.
Dessert Wines
Other - Horse stud as well as a winery. Good looking stock in the paddocks near the tasting venue. Also a couple of quite impressive German Shepherd dogs.
Restaurant - None


We had a pretty good ten days - tasted some good wine, stayed in some nice places, did some walking, swimming and relaxing, and bought quite a lot of wine for cellaring.

It was definitely a good idea to spend some time in the Robertson area. We will probably go back there in the future for a more extended period.