It’s really hard to keep up with the four Retief cousins and their marketing manager Bonita Malherbe who seems to
spend most of her life on a mountain bike, but still manages to spread the word on wine in her usual friendly and efficient manner. This is no mean task, given the six ranges in the stable: Christina Van Loveren, Van Loveren, Papillon, Five’s Reserve, Four Cousins and Tangled Tree. However, with the appointment of
Rensche Schwartz as brand manager for Four Cousins, Bonita;s load will be a little lighter from now on
This year the cellar celebrates its 35th anniversary, and, before 2015 runs out, let me highlight just a few of the recent achievements of this successful family business. Earlier this year they launched new labels for the classic Van Loveren range, largely white with initials VL set in a swoosh of colour, varying according to cultivar. Along with new vintages of standard items – chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, chenin and River Red – there are a couple of new additions to consider, and among these is one that is great value at R44: this is the 2015 pinot grigio, a delightful crisp, flavourful wine with a substantial mineral core. It beats other higher-priced versions of this cultivar, hands down. More please, Bussell. Next time you are about to pick up a sauvignon blanc, reach for this instead.
In the same range is Daydream, which combines 94% chardonnay with a little pinot noir into the faintly rose-tinted still version of champagne classic varieties, so in vogue right now.
The recently released Rhino Run range consists of a chardonnay 2015 (lightly wooded) ,Ian Player 2014, a cab/merlot blend, a cab 2014, a 2015 pinotage and a fifth wine a limited release shiraz at a high price.
The white costs R45 and the three reds R55 and a percentage of profit from every bottle goes to the Player Ntombela Foundation: For those looking for a fine gift that supports rhino conservation, the just-released shiraz in this range could be the answer: The Last One shiraz 2013 is a single vineyard limited edtion that is hand-bottled, labelled and boxed. Just 1215 were bottled, this being the number of rhino killed last year and the price is also R1215.
About a month ago I drove into Robertson on the R60 and saw that the landmark Branewynsdraai restaurant building - more recently the Dros - was a heap of rubble. Van Loveren is building a Four Cousins tasting centre here, along with restaurant, wine shop and craft brewery.. This means that the Van Loveren wines will be marketed from the farm, and the entry level Four Cousins from this new venue 9which will also be one up on rival businesses Roodezandt and Robertson Winery by being the first tasting room in the town on the R60, for those heading in from Worcester.) It is scheduled to open in June next year.
In October both the Four Cousins and the De Goree Boerdery directors and workers celebrated getting the award for the Five's Reserve pinotage 2013, as best Fairtrade Red Wine .
This trophy is proof of the progress and achievements at de Goree, a 138ha grape farm in Robertson valley, which is 52% owned by a Workers' Trust (116 staff members and pensioners) and the balance by the Retief family. The farm provides grapes for the Fives' Reserve range, in which the Trust also owns a share.
Caption: The Four Cousins and the De Goree Board of Directors.
And a final toast to the Retief enterprise for winning the Trails award in this year's Klink Awards - hikers, bikers and outdoor types, there are some great trails to take on this Robertson farm.