Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Weltevrede - a sense of place

The Wine Estate of Weltevrede (or fully satisfied) sits near Bonnievale on the banks of the Breede River. The funnel shaped Robertson Valley, between the mountains of Langeberg and Riviersonderend, channels the flow of air which is cooled by the river and then carried gently across the vineyards. This is exactly what the farmers want and is one of the reasons the region is able to produce such outstanding wine.

The Jonker family has been wandering the farm of Weltevrede since 1912 and the running of the estate now rests on the very capable shoulders of Phillip Jonker. He’s had some experience in both California and Bordeax and has become somewhat of a Chardonnay expert; but the family’s intimate knowledge of the place, passed down through generations, cannot be underestimated. The Jonkers believe that when the earth was created and decorated with soil, water and vegetation, off-cuts of some of the very best bits were taken and joined together to form the patchwork of terroir that surrounds Bonnievale. A good example of this is their ‘Place of Rocks’ and ‘Rusted Soil’ Chardonnays, exactly the same grape but very different wines, both produced on the estate but nurtured on different sides of a little hill.

I’ve just done a tasting with Weltevrede and had the chance to revisit their Rusted Soil Chardonnay, undoubtedly one of my favourites. I also had my first taste of their new Vanilla Chardonnay; something they’re doing in an attempt to attract those who aren’t mad about the varietal. Through specific soil and barrel selection they’ve managed to create something that is crisp and un-wooded, with a lingering hint of vanilla. I think they might be on to something with this one and it’s certainly good value for money. I reckon on a hot day it would go superbly with a salad, maybe something like bacon, prawn and papaya.

Bacon, prawn and papaya salad


- a handful of young leaf spinach
- a good glug of olive oil
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 10 bacon rashers
- 1 large papaya, cut into large cubes
- 1 ripe avocado, cut into lengths
- 10 prawns
- 2 tsp cumin
- butter
- salt and pepper


- season prawns with cumin, salt and pepper
- heat butter in a pan and cook the prawns until just done
- mix olive oil and lime juice in a bowl
- grill bacon until crisp and cut each streak in half
- add prawns, bacon, spinach, papaya to the bowl and mix well
- serve with a chilled glass of Vanilla Chardonnay

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