Franschhoek has made a name for itself for it’s amazing restaurants, charming village atmosphere and general ‘French’ flavour. Of course it’s a firm favourite on the Cape Winelands map with over 48 vineyards in the valley too. But with so many amazing producers to visit and so little time, which are the 10 best wines from Franschhoek you have to try? Wade Bales recommends the following:
#1 Babylonstoren Viognier
Produced on the incredible estate (if you don’t go there to taste the wine, you need to take in their incredible fruit and vegetable gardens), the wine is an impressive Viognier, that represents a wonderful combination of complexity as well as elegance.
Tasting notes: Ripe peaches and apricots.
#2 Plaisir de Merle Merlot
A medium to full-bodied Merlot from this estate renowned for its reds and produced by Niel Bester. The Merlot’s soft tannins are well balanced with the fruitiness providing for sweeter plummy flavours in the wine and very little wood is detectable on the taste.
Tasting notes: a soft and velvety palate laced with ripe fruit and supported by vanilla oak flavours.
#3 Allée Bleue Starlette Rosé 2014
This is a well balanced and cheerful Rosé with a lovely cherry blossom colour.
Tasting notes: A soft and velvety palate laced with ripe fruit and supported by vanilla oak flavours.
#4 Vrede En Lust Boet Erasmus
This flagship wine from the estate is a Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec.
Tasting notes: Dominant dark berry aromas, followed by pencil shavings and cedar on the nose. Layers of flavours with clean lines. A wonderful balance between the elegance of the wine, oak and the purity of the fruit.
#5 Graham Beck Pheasants’ Run Sauvignon Blanc
A true expression of this varietal this SB has great complexity, fruit intensity and depth balanced with finesse and elegance. The Pheasants’ Run is named after the farm Fisantekraal (gathering of the pheasants) in Durbanville where the fruit for the maiden vintage was sourced from.
Tasting notes: Intense aromas of gooseberry, passionfruit, grapefruit and lime and a hint of white asparagus are complemented with a pleasant minerality and crisp acidity.
#6 Rickety Bridge Paulina’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker Wynand Grobler believes in making wine that people like to drink – his philosophy is to keep the winemaking process as simple as possible. It’s paid off in the easy drinking wonderful wine.
Tasting notes: Layered with concentrated red fruit and accents of mint, pencil shavings and oak spice. It shows a powerful fruit expression on the mid palate with savoury mineral and smokey undertones and well integrated cedary oak nuances. Firm yet polished tannins give a textured palate and a finish of lingering intensity.
#7 Rupert And Rothschild Baron Edmund
The Rupert & Rothschild partnership was formed in 1997 by the late Dr Anton Rupert of South Africa and the late Baron Edmond de Rothschild of France. This blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc is pure quality – the prestigious founders would be proud of it.
Tasting notes: Deliciously pure black cherry, strawberry and dark chocolate notes and lingering roasted coffee bean flavours.
#8 Solms-Delta Amalie
Amalie is a white wine blend of Viognier (sourced from six different sites to achieve a complex flavour spectrum) and Grenache Blanc.
Tasting notes: Initial aromatics range from white pear to peach, that open up to subtle lemony citrus flavours. The wine has a creamy undertone with spicy texture from integrated oak on the palate and rewards with a generous mouth feel and long finish
#9 Topiary Blanc de Blancs Brut
This boutique wine estate only produces a small amount of Chardonnay, but it all goes straight into this wonderful bubbly
Tasting notes: Layers of apple pie and brioche with creamy richness from 30 months on lees. All with a fine lime undertone and long clean finish.
#10 Glenwood Chardonnay Unwooded
Located in the little-known valley of Robertsvlei, this wine from DP Burger, is elegant and outstanding.
Tasting notes: Intense layers of citrus with subtle notes of green apple on the after palate.