Weltevrede Estate tasting room is full of surprises

Posted on 28 January 2022

After 109 years, Weltevrede Estate, outside Bonnievale in the Robertson Wine Valley, has made a few interesting changes.

First up, the family-owned and -run estate has turned its attentions solely to Chardonnay and Cap Classique. And second, the new tasting room was opened in November 2021 – and it’s a winner.

A monumental sand-coloured rectangular building, Weltevrede Estate’s new tasting room broods over the fields, fronted by carefully planted gardens surrounding a cooling water feature. To the east are the Langeberg, to the west the Riviersonderend Mountains.

In its centre, a dark, spherical opening invites you in. Here it is cool and dim, a welcome change from the hot and bright outdoors. Over-stuffed armchairs beg you to sink in.

But rather choose one – or all – of the tours.

Chardonnay tastings

To the left, down some stairs, starts the Captivated by Chardonnay tour. More than a tasting, it’s a walk through the history of wine-making. The underground cellars were once the great wine tanks; today they are a paean to the art of wine-making, filled with artefacts and historical records.

Sit down by candlelight and taste the estate’s alluring Chardonnays. They are, as winemaker Philip Jonker envisages, a pure expression of the terroir in which the estate is rooted. The wines all have a sense of place, the limestone and calcrete adding to their minerality.

Place of Rocks is made from old vines planted on a slope of ancient, broken shale; Calcrete comes from vines on limestone and mineral-rich calcrete soil, on a south-facing slope. Poet’s Prayer is anchored in the lime-rich terroir. From a small selection of old vines, the wine is only made in the best years.

Cap Classique tastings

Starting in the cellar where the riddling (the gradual tilting of the bottle neck down, while regularly rotating it) takes place, the Captivated by Cap Classique experience takes you on a tour of the making of Cap Classique and Champagne – again in the old cellars.

This time though, the tasting room is brightly lit, losing some of the romance of the candle-lit Chardonnay tastings. But here you are introduced to the latest vintages of Philip Jonker Brut, starting with Entheos, a vibrant wine matured on the lees for up to three years. A blend, it is 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir. It has a lively mousse and a long aftertaste.

The glory, though, goes to The Ring Blanc de Blancs, its maiden vintage popped at Philip Jonker’s wedding.

Weltevrede Estate cap classique

Make your own

Finally, you can create your own bottle of Cap Classique to take home, from disgorgement to dosage, corking to capping your bottle with the muselet (the wire hood), and finally labelling. The cork can take four bars of pressure.

Did you know that muselet plates are collector’s items? The hobby is called placomusophilia.

The Jonker family has lived on Weltevrede Estate since 1912. The farm has 93-year-old vineyards, its original vine – a Muscadel – planted in 1926. Japie Jonker, the first winemaker, began making wine in 1933. The 200ha farm has 100ha on vine, producing about 1 300 tonnes a year.

Captivated by Chardonnay takes place on Mondays to Saturdays, 2pm-4pm and Captivated by Cap Classique on Mondays to Saturdays, 10am-11.30am. You can Create Cap Classique any time from Mondays to Saturdays.

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