BONNIEVALE has long been touted for the passion of its vintners and the quality of its vineyards among the low hills along the Breede River Valley. Now, joining an ever-growing throng of esteemed, independent converts, a respected French championship has recognised the winery’s outstanding quality too.
Significantly, top honours in the Gilbert & Gaillard awards programme fell to two wines that signalled, upon their release, Bonnievale’s coming of age: the Bonnievale Limited Release Chardonnay 2019, which received a Gold medal; and the Bonnievale Limited Release Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, which scored an almighty 91/100 points.
The wines were submitted to Gilbert & Gaillard, publisher of an online guide dedicated to wine in France and 22 other countries that makes it a notable benchmark. France is one the world’s premier producers of quality wine.
All wines rated by Gilbert & Gaillard were tasted blind, i.e. without the panel knowing the name of the producer.
The panel described the Cabernet Sauvignon as having bright red fruits on the nose, with cassis, blackberry and slight spicy notes. “A medium-to-full wine with a grippy palate and a lingering acidity,” says the tasting report. “Long on the finish. Grainy tannins and lots of fruits. Drink now or cellar for a few years.”
As for the Chardonnay, the tasters identified aromas of ripe pear and citrus. “A creamy and rich wine with lots of secondary notes of marmalade, dried fruit and a crisp and fruit-forward finish. Acidity vibrant. A great example of the region. Drink now but will age very well.”
The comments were welcomed by Bonnievale Wines head of winemaking and production, Martinus Rademeyer (above). From conception, the winemaking focus was on Bonnievale’s top-performing vineyard sites and that they be discernible in the wines. “The wines had to speak of the care taken in nurturing the vines and preserving aromas, flavour and texture of the fruit from vine to bottle,” he says.
These wines were recognised at the 2020 National Wine Challenge, incorporating Top 100 SA Wines, as well. The Limited Release Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 received a top 100 and Double Platinum award and the Limited Release Chardonnay 2019 received a Double Silver award.
“The increased consistency of Bonnievale’s recognition at high-level competitions is evidence of significant evolution in style. Our Cabernet Sauvignon especially has been an important ambassador for the quality of our vineyards, and the passion and precision with which they’re farmed,” comments Rademeyer.
Following vinification, the wine for the Limited Release Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 was matured for 18 months in French and American oak. The winemaker’s tasting notes recommend enjoying the wine by itself or alternatively with game dishes and red meats.
Chardonnay too has long been a star in the Bonnievale portfolio. In the case of the Limited Release 2019, the wine was aged for seven months in French oak. It can be enjoyed with duck, pork or a platter of matured cheese.
The winery adjoins the village of Bonnievale, some 200km east of Cape Town, and has a visitor centre that showcases its extensive range.
The wines produced here are available countrywide and available for order from Bonnievale winery’s online shop.
The Limited Release Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 sells from R140 a bottle and only a few cases remain available. The Limited Release Chardonnay 2019 sells from R95 a bottle. The online store currently offers the wines at discounted prices, with deliveries across SA once lockdown regulations allow. Free delivery is available on orders over R1 500.
For more information about Bonnievale Wines, visit the website, phone on 023 616 2795 or email: [email protected].
Interact with Bonnievale Wines on Twitter @bonnievalewines; Instagram, using bonnievalewines; and, Facebook.