Mont Blois | The hidden gem of Robertson


Up until two weeks before my visit to Mont Blois, I was completely unaware of its existence. A good wine-friend of mine had recently discovered it over the Wacky Wine Weekend that happens in Robertson over June and was sending me some serious recommendation pokes of praise.

Above photo by Timothy Lester

Boutique winery, off the beaten track, female Winemaker and Cape Wine Master and winery that I was completely unfamiliar with!!! ~ my curiosity almost had a meltdown, I had to make the 2 hr drive to Robertson and discover it for myself.

As luck would have it I wouldn't have to wait too long as a media trip to Robertson was on my horizon and stars had aligned Mont Blois as my first wine adventure of the weekend's itinerary.

The night before my visit a detailed search through the Mont Blois site had been done, the anticipation was immense, but would it fall flat? No, I was about to have my mind blown away in mountainous proportions, peaks and all.

Above photo by Timothy Lester

Mont Blois is a 6th generation family farm named after the picturesque town of Blois in the Loire where the Bruwers family came from. Mont Blois started its beginnings as a well known and beloved Muscadel producer in the seventies and eighties. In 1991 the farm stopped bottling wine and only produced and sold its grapes for 28 years till recently, eighteen months ago, they relaunched.

Owner Ernst Bruwer took over from his Grandfather Ernst Bruwer Snr. He believed in sustainable farming and that older vineyards should be cared for. Winemaker Nina-Mari and Ernst met whilst studying Viticulture & Enology together at Stellenbosch University. Nina-Mari joined the Mont Blois team in 2008. In 2014 Nina-Mari was awarded with the prestigious title of Cape Wine Master.

(The Beautiful and exceptionally talented Nina-Marie Bruwer)

The husband and wife dream team (Ernst being the farmer and Nina-Mari the winemaker) relaunch started with Muscadel, staying true to Ernst Bruwer families roots. Their Muscadel has already started making waves as an award winner. They also released a range of natural limestone single vineyard wines that are site specific ~ Nina and Ernst want their wines personalities to be a true mirror of where they come from.

Nina "Wine is an experience, it's not just about drinking the wine. It's who you drink it with, where you drinking it and what you choose to eat with it. That's what makes wine so unique and gives the wine its story."

We arrived in the lush Hoopsrivier area of the Robertson Wine Valley and made our way to the Bruwer family home on their estate, up until now the Bruwers have done wine tasting from the patio of their gorgeous Cape Dutch family manor house... but there was an unexpected surprise, the wine tasting wouldn't be at their home but at her family's brand new tasting room, and we were to be the first group to walk through its doors.

I had a very special and profound feeling walking down those tasting room stairs for the first time and seeing Winemaker Nina-Mari Bruwer standing inside to welcome us to the new tasting room for the very first time. Nina and the Bruwer family have put so much love, passion and creative vision into their new tasting room and being the guest welcomed through its doors for the first time was indeed an honour.

I'm just going to come out and say it... the tasting room at Mont Blois is top notch in every shape and form. Built-in 1948 by Italian prisoners of war it served as a barn for the farm animals and grain silo.

Nina wanted to keep the rusticness of the barn leaving the walls untouched (apart from a beautiful new mural) the walls are stained with years of aged owl droppings that have created a bright white dripping candle wax feel down the walls. The gorgeous mural that adorns this new space was done by artist Neila DuToit and took six days to complete. The mural holds symbolic keys to the Bruwer family and Roberson painted into its completed story ~ I'll leave those for you to unlock when you visit.

The seats from where we sat were the original drinking troughs for the farm animals, now painted mint green with soft matching velvet pillows. The interior decor, views, natural lighting and soft french music paired with Nina's graceful elegant wines had all my senses in full bliss mode.

Lastly I'm not going to ruin any surprises here, but when you go visit...take a trip to the bathroom, it's beautiful.

About the wines

We started our wine tasting with the two Chardonnays; I picked up that the wax seals on the individual Chardonnays were a refection of their individual soil types (Very clever).

Above photo by Jared in Cape Town & SA

KWEEKAMP Chardonnay 2016 Certified Single Vineyard Wine, certified Estate Wine.

Vineyard Age: 12 years

Location: Well drained Limestone Soil

Production: 5 Barrels made (225 cases)

Winemaking: Kept simple and true Manual Basket Press Barrel Fermented Natural & inoculated fermentation No Malolactic Fermentation Time on lees 12 months 2nd & 3rd Fill Barrels

Tasting Notes: Elegant, subtle wine with layers of oranges, limes and flintiness on the nose. Finesse and minerality on the palate with peaches, apricots and citrus that follows through. Crisp acidity. Well balanced with a lingering finish.

Price: R295 pp bottle

HOOG & LAAG Chardonnay 2016

Certified Single Vineyard Wine, certified Estate Wine

Vineyard Age: 13 years

Location: Red Karoo Clay Soil

Production: 4 Barrels made (170 cases)

Winemaking: The winemaking is kept simple and true Manual Basket Press Natural & inoculated fermentation Barrel Fermented No Malolactic Fermentation Time on lees 12 months 2nd & 3rd Fill Barrels

Tasting notes: Beautiful nose with hints of grapefruit, white peaches, citrus blossoms and toasted hazelnuts. Soft and rounded wine with salted cashews and pecan shells on the aftertaste. Lovely texture. Lingering soft finish.

Price: R295 pp bottle

Above photo by Jared in Cape Town & SA

We went on to taste the Groot Steen Chenin Blanc 2017 and Tarentaalsdraai Pinotage 2016 ~ Jaw drop, lie down and die happy feel good wine. If you're not from South Africa and are unfamiliar with these traditional South African varietals, Mont Blois is the perfect place to start your Chenin Blanc and Pinotage journey.

Chenin Blanc: R295

Pinotage: R295

To purchase: MONT BLOIS WINES

Stocked at Vinoproto and Port2Port

Visiting

Wine tasting by appointment only.

PHONE

023 626 3872 082 561 4139

EMAIL

nina-mari@montblois.co.za ernst@montblois.co.za

Above photo by Jared in Cape Town & SA

#MontBlois #RobertsonWinery #boutiquewines