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The Kasteelberg range of wines, celebrates the discovery of Riebeek and the Kasteelberg mountainsin 1661. Kasteelberg stands sentinal over the fertile valley below. From the slopes of the mountians, hand-selected grapes are expertly crafted with care to produce rare and expressive wines. The Kasteelberg range truly is the pinnacle of our Winemakers'art.
Rich and golden with strong tropical aromas, beautifully enhanced by subtle tones of well-integrated oak. Although upfront and bold, the secret of this wine is in its exceptional balance, an outstanding version of the classic Chardonnay.
The Riebeek Cellars Estate
Riebeek Cellars was established in 1941 and is situated in Riebeek Kasteel at the foot of Bothma's Kloof Pass. This medium-sized winery on the western coast of the Cape Province of South Africa sources its grapes from the fertile Riebeek Valley and the slopes of the mountain where the climate is very similar to the Mediterranean. Through the years as vineyard practices developed, cultivars were planted in soil and at slopes best suited to them. These well-tended vineyards enable the production of high quality wines which makes Riebeek Cellars the choice of wine buyers internationally. Well-known both in South Africa and abroad, Riebeek Cellars manages a variety of brands for various countries.
Corporal Pieter Cruythoff, a scout of Jan van Riebeeck, founded the Riebeek Valley in 1661. Impressed by the single standing mountain, he called it Kasteelberg (“Castle Mountain”) commemorating the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town, the fortress of Commander Jan van Riebeeck. The twin towns, Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West, established at the foot of Kasteelberg, are therefore also suitably named after Van Riebeeck.
The Riebeek Valley is a mecca of wonderful wines, exceptional food and exquisite art where tourists and locals alike are forever tempted into spending more time than allowed. The serene valley falls in the bigger Swartland region which is called the 'bread basket' of South Africa for its grain production, while it is further internationally acclaimed for its high quality olive products. With various hotels and fine-dining restaurants as well as true country hospitality, the Riebeek Valley has become a very popular tourist destination. The ultimate charm of Riebeek is however in its people and their commitment and passion for wine.
"Located in the Western Cape region of South Africa, this winery was established in 1941, which makes it relatively old compared to all the new wineries that have sprung up in this area. Among the first Pinotages I can recommend, it’s also a good value. Pinotage, which is, of course, ubiquitous in South Africa, was first made in 1941, when the Cinsault grape (primarily grown in southern France and the Rhone Valley) was crossed with Pinot Noir." - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue 201, June 2012).
Argot Simpatico Ranch Chardonnay is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Powerful aromas of key-lime, white flowers, orange blossoms and a fierce, flinty, sauvage note define a wildly complex nose. Once in the mouth, gracefully pronounced textures coat the palate delivering an exotic interpretation of cool-climate Chardonnay character — lime peel, orange blossom, ginger and clove —lingerings deep into a vibrant finish.
Planted 1978. Shallow volcanic soils on the gently-sloped, south-facing foothills of Bennett Peak on Bennett Valley’s floor. One of California’s coolest Chardonnay vineyards. In the final year of 3-year draught cycle, Simpatico Ranch saw its earliest ever harvest and smallest crop, exposing a reserve of exoticism and minerality previously untapped. A watershed vintage for both the vineyard, and appellation. Night harvested by hand on 9/16, whole-cluster pressed direct to barrel; no settling to ensure maximum lees contact. Barrel fermented on heavy lees. Malolactic fermentation. 16 months in French oak, 50% new. Finished 2 months in steel tank, low Sulphur during barrel elevage.
"Wow—I just love the nose of the 2015 Chardonnay Simpatico Ranch, which sings of fresh grapefruit, lemon curd and yuzu with nuances of acacia honey, fresh ginger, lime blossoms and chopped almonds. Medium to full-bodied, it fills the mouth with a stunning array of citrus, spice and floral notions, backed by seamless freshness and packaged in a beautiful satin-textured frame, finishing with great length and depth. Yes, yes, yes! 150 cases produced. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown" - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #237, June 2018), 95+ pts
Brilliant and straw-like in apperance, this wine has notes of lush apple and ripe tropical fruit, such as fresh pineapple. Rich and creamy on the palate this wine finishes with elegance and finesse.
Known for its ideal climate and soil, Napa Valley is home to some of the most celebrated vineyards in the world. Grapes harvested from vineyards located in the Oak Knoll District, Yountville and Oakville make up this stunning Chardonnay. These sustainably-farmed vineyards have given us bountiful and immaculate fruit that captures the rich essence of Napa Valley.
"Salty brioche and pretzel bread come to mind first on the entry of this wine, both aromatically and on the palate. An intensity of ripe peach and pineapple show through with lush, full-bodied force, accented in vanilla oak."
- Wine Enthusiast (June 2017), 90 pts
"Spicy, creamy, toasty oak is evident from the start and is well-integrated into the pear and apple flavors. The fruit purity sticks out. Drink now through 2020. 1,694 cases made. –JL"
- Wine Spectator (July 2017), 91 pts
Mateo is the fruit of the friendship between two winemakers (José Ignacio Cuenca & Brian Loring), two countries (Spain & the US) and two worlds (the Old & the New). This wine is a unique blend of California's finest Chardonnay grapes and is dedicated to José Mateo Cuenca Anderson.
This wine has bright lemon on the nose with a supple palate of lemon, graham cracker, and toast that continues through the finish.
Rich aromas of baked apple, almonds and brown sugar foretell the mouth-filling flavors. A full, silky texture on the palate leads to a lingering, clean finish. This Chardonnay will age beautifully for another three to five years.
Xavier Vignon, along with Philippe Cambie, are probably the two most highly renowned oenologists in Chateauneuf du Pape as well as some of the surrounding Cotes du Rhone regions. Vignon’s office and laboratory are next to the Auto Route A7, in the same complex as Chateau Husson. He is the consultant for such well-known domaines as Raymond Usseglio, Jerome Quiot, Beaurenard, La Nerthe, Mont Redon, Marcoux, Grand Veneur and La Gardine. I tasted through the new and upcoming Xavier Vignon releases. The blend of Xavier Vignon’s Chateauneuf du Pape can vary considerably. Vignon told me that it is a selection from nearly 120 different parcels in the appellation. Fashioned from the best fruit from old vines planted in the finest parcels is the Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Anonyme. Xavier Vignon is not going to release the 2007 Anonyme (his greatest Chateauneuf du Pape to date) until 2013 so readers have a chance of getting some of this production. I tasted three vintages of this cuvee with Vignon.
Review:The 2015 Châteauneuf-du-Pape started out slightly reticent, yet blossomed with time in the glass. Cassis, leafy herbs, lead pencil/graphite and earthy notes all flow to a ripe, full-bodied, beautifully balanced 2015 that has sweet tannin. Made from 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre and 15% Syrah, aged in very old barrels, it’s a terrific base cuvée in 2015 that’s going to drink nicely for a decade. -Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
Abeja Chardonnay Washington State 2013 is 100 percent Chardonnay
This Chardonnay has the essence of a freshly baked lemon meringue pie, green apple, and Bartlett pear. It is both dense and bright, with a hint of vanilla and cinnamon coming from its time in barrel. Aromas are so much related to experiences. It is a wine that is in the traditional Abeja style, with superb polish, complexity, and balance, yet with a light touch at 13.5 percent alcohol.
"Supple, ripe and complex, with layers of pear, floral, tangerine and a note reminiscent of freshly ironed clothing. Fine acidity carries this through to a refreshing finish. Drink now through 2020. 919 cases made. –HS"
- Wine Spectator (November 15th, 2015), 91 pts
"Abeja’s 2013 Chardonnay offers clean, crisp notes of apple blossom, white flowers, citrus and brioche. Fermented and aged in barrel (40% new), it has a solid mix of richness and freshness, is beautifully balanced, and will drink nicely for 2-3 years. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- The Wine Advocate (erobertparker.com, June 2015), 91 pts
"A blend of top sites Celilo and Conner Lee, this appealing wine displays aromas of candy corn, corn silk and chamomile. The stone-fruit flavors are elegantly styled, showing a sense of restraint and balance that carries through the lingering finish."
- Wine Enthusiast (September 1st 2015), 91 pts
Sometimes, the best things come from tough experiences. Our Black Label Reserve Portteus Syrah embodies this ideal. In one of the tougher growing seasons in recent memory, I was not sure what would come of the vintage. Within 6 months after harvest, I knew I had something special with this wine. Month after month, it evolved highlighting what these almost 20 year old Syrah vines could produce. The color is an incredibly deep and glass coating purple, the nose erupts with aromas of bacon fat and a subtle bouquet of wisteria . lilac. Viscous and dense, you will get mouth-filling notes of swiss chocolate and white pepper. Sit back and savor each velvety sip with a coffee-cocoa spiced rack of lamb and chocolate cheesecake. Decant for at least an hour to release its aromatics and enjoy this Syrah easily through the next decade.
Another stunning effort is the 2012 Portteus Vineyard, which is located in the Rattlesnake Hills AVA. Exhibiting layers of smoked plums, liquid smoke and serious minerality, this full-bodied, layered and rich Syrah has notable underlying structure and tannin, with a firm, compact and focused feel. Fermented with 33% whole cluster and aged 16 months in 50% new French oak barrels, it comes from the second oldest Syrah vines planted in the state. Give it 2-3 years in the cellar and enjoy bottles through 2025. This Walla Walla estate is owned and run by Justin Wylie. He excelled with his 2011 and 2012s. -Wine Advocate Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points
The Pinot Noir from California is the inaugural Pinot release from Freelander. Aged in French and American oak, it shows baked cherry and violet in the nose. Crisp flavors of red currant, baking spice and vivid strawberries balance the mouth feel. A touch of toasted oak completes the gentle finish.