{travel} The Langeberg Chronicles: Mont Blois Wine Estate

Tucked up on a hill, surrounded by acres of vines and orchards, you’ll find the breathtaking boutique wine estate of Mont Blois. This was the first stop on our #MagicOfWinter visit to the Langeberg Valley, and a whimsical start to this enchanting journey.

Introduction

As the Cape Town skyline faded away in our rear-view mirrors, and the landscape started to open up into lusciously green farmlands as far as the eye could see, I could feel a tinge of excitement tugging at my heart.  We left the city just as the sun started to stir, and were already well on our way to Robertson on the first day of our media stay in this fertile wine valley.

As we took the gravel turning into the Mont Blois estate and the stately manor house came in view, I realised that it would be a daunting task to capture this picturesque scene on camera. Instead,  I got out and took it all in for a precious minute or two. I breathed in the slightly chilly air and let my eyes sweep over the dark greens and winter browns of the slumbering vines and orchards that dotted the hills and vales, reminiscent of an impressionistic painting. This must be what paradise looked like.

Background

Nina-Mari Bruwer, winemaker and owner, received us at their brand new tasting room. Her gorgeous smile will always be one of my first memories of this trip as she excitedly invited us into their new space with open arms. Even though it was a cloudy, overcast day, her reception of us reminded of summer. We were the first to visit the new tasting room, she proudly announced, and with that thought in mind, we slowly descended the steps for a personal wine tasting with her in the magnificent silo building.

The ties between the Bruwer family and Mont Blois go back as far as 1869, when the first farm was bought. After a lengthy hibernation period and six generations later, Nina-Mari’s husband, Ernst Bruwer, now owns and manages the Mont Blois estate, as well as two others.

Nina-Mari and Ernst’s love story is multi-layered, like a good Chardonnay. They met as students at the University of Stellenbosch whilst studying Viticulture. Six years after joining the Mont Blois team, Nina-Mari was awarded with the prestigious title of Cape Wine Master. Their love for each other, for their family and for excellent wine, is evident in the heritage and home they’ve created here on Mont Blois, for themselves and for visitors alike.

The experience

The tasting room rendered me breathless from the moment I walked in. A wall of glass doors was the only separation between the plush interior and the stretches of vineyards outside. Elegantly decorated in muted hues of purple, green, earthy browns and touches of gold, the tasting room beckoned you in for an intimate indulgence in a serene setting. A full-wall mural told the tale of the farm and it’s owl-inhabitants, who’s presence on Mont Blois have been acknowledged through the placing of several owl boxes on the outside walls of the building.

Photo credit: Jared Ruttenberg (www.instagram.com/jaredincpt/)

After we settled into our seats, we spent a leisurely late-morning wine tasting with Nina-Mari. She unhurriedly spoke us through their range of boutique wines in her easy-going and companionable manner, whilst we tasted the offerings of Mont Blois. Nina-Mari presents her wines in Riedel glasses, because, as I’ve learned from her, your wine tasting experience doesn’t stop with the bottle; it continues into the glass.

The wines

The Langeberg Valley is best known for it’s Chardonnay and the dynamic husband and wife team has created two unique expressions of this cultivar through their Kweekkamp and Hoog en Laag 2016 Chardonnays.

Originally known for the production of Muscadel only, I found these two single vineyard wines from Mont Blois to be beautifully exquisite. Kweekkamp is soft and subtle, and just as sophisticated as the bottle, with citrus on the nose and minerals on the palate, culminating in a juicy stone-fruit finish. I found Hoog en Laag to be a bit more intense; a bit more earthy and woody, without losing the fresh crispness of citrus and ripe yellow fruits.

We also tasted their Groot Steen Chenin Blanc 2016, which stole my heart in a way only an old vine Chenin could possibly do. It’s truly something special in a layered way, with reminders of warm spices and nuts, juicy yellow fruits and hints of citrus.

Photo credit: Jared Ruttenberg (www.instagram.com/jaredincpt/)

In conclusion

As we reluctantly waved the lovely Nina-Mari goodbye, I took a minute to reflect on the ethos and character of Mont Blois. First and foremost, without a shadow of a doubt – it’s clear to see that heritage is incredibly important on this estate. Family, tradition and wine-making methods that honour the century-old soil run through the corks of each bottle.

For Nina-Mari, it also lies in the details. From colour-coded wax seals on her bottles to pay homage to the different soil types, to hand-labeling each bottle perfectly and using only the finest Riedel glasses, it’s all about completing each step in the process properly, unhurriedly, and with precision.

I look forward to returning soon to this little haven of great Chardonnay. Thank you, Nina-Mari and Ernst, for allowing us to linger a bit in your little corner of paradise, and for sharing your beautiful creations with us.

The Fine Print

Wine tastings  by appointment only.

Phone: 023 626 3872 or 082 561 4139
Email:
nina-mari@montblois.co.za or ernst@montblois.co.za
Address:
Mont Blois Wine Estate, De Hoop, Robertson, Western Cape, 6705

The Little Hedonist has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, I do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, menu changes, opening times, and contact details.

Disclaimer: I was invited to this event in my personal capacity. There was no expectation for platform coverage in the form of a blog, or social media posts. This is my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.

 

 

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