Wine Dine and Play: February 2014

Cape Chamonix Winery

Franschhoek, South Africa
A beautiful Troika blend

It was my fifth day in country touring South Africa, and my second day dedicated to wine tasting, first in Constantia and now Stellenbosch. In Constantia, I did a self-driving tour as I went from vineyard to vineyard, and by the end of the day did not feel like doing anymore driving, so when it came to Stellenbosch, I got smart and hired a wine guide. For two main reasons, the guide would drive, a guide could get me into more wineries, and I could learn more about the region by discussing it with an expert. I hired Stephen Flesch owner of GourmetWine Tours of South Africa. I discovered Stephen after reading a book on South African tourism in the wine section and saw that he had been recommended in the book by Frommer’s. Therefore, for R 1,900.00 per person for a build your own style tour, Stephen picked me up in Cape Town and we were off, and the next Stellenbosch winery tasting was at Chamonix Winery.

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Wine Dine and Play’s ratings for wine:
96 – 100
90 – 95
80 – 89
above average    
70 – 79
below average                         
60 – 69
poor/appalling/ “Cac”
Review basics:
Wine, Dine, & Play’s Rating
96/100 on the Troika and Reserve Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir Reserve John Platter 5 stars 2012
Troika John Platter 4½ stars 2012, John Platter 4 stars 2011
4-5 stars on all other wines
Wines Produced
Red:, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Troika Pinot Noir, & Bordeaux Blends (aka Meritage)
White: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, & Sparkling (Méthode Cap Classique)

Grape Blends
Red: Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdox & Cabernet Franc
White: Sauvignon blanc, & Sémillon
Current Vintage for 2014
Reds: 2005, 2009, 2011, 2012
Whites: 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013
Region Map

Stellenbosch, & Franschhoek 
13.5 %, 14%
Barrel Types
30 - 50 % New French oak
Barrel Aging
16 to 24 months depending on the wine
South African wine Quality Standards:
Unlike some European countries, South Africa does not have any requirements for the process of making wines in a particular region—for instance, allowing only certain trellising methods or varietals. However, there are certain quality requirements.  For a wine to be labeled as a particular varietal or as coming from a particular region, estate, or vineyard, it must also not display any “unacceptable quality characteristics,” which means the wine may not be turbid, contain excess sediment or crystals, have faulty/insufficient color, or display undesirable flavor characteristics. Among the several characteristics listed as unacceptable, a wine may not be overly tannic, thin or watery, or oxidized. For a wine to be labeled as coming from a particular area, 100% of the grapes used to make the wine must have been grown there, and producers may only label their wines using officially-recognized geographic areas.  In addition to designating a particular geographic unit, region, district, or ward, a producer may also designate the wine as coming from a particular estate or may label it as a “single vineyard wine.”  However, to do so the producer must first register the area where the grapes were grown with the Wine and Spirit Board.  Single-vineyard wines must have been made from a single varietal that is produced in the area registered with the board, and the area registered may be no larger than 6 hectares.  Estate wines must be made entirely—including bottling—in the registered area where the grapes were grown.  Also, if a particular varietal—or “cultivar” as the law defines it—is listed on the bottle, at least 85% of the grapes used in making the wine must have been of that type. This same 85% rule applies to designating a particular vintage year.

Cases Produced:                                          
Per Year:
Reserve Tasting:                                                                                  
Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2009

Chardonnay Reserve 2012

Pinot noir Reserve 2012

Greywacke Pinotage 2011

Troika 2011

Reserve White 2012

Price chart:
$ -                    Under $50.00 USD
$$ -                  Over   $50.00 USD
$$$ -                Over $100.00 USD
$$$$ -              Over $200.00 USD
$$$$$-             Over $400.00 USD
Bottle prices:

Wine Selction:
Price Chart :
Reserve White 2012 (750 ml)


Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2009 (750 ml) 


Chardonnay Reserve 2012 (750 ml)


Pinot noir Reserve 2012 (750 ml)


Greywacke Pinotage 2011 (750 ml)


Troika 2011 (750 ml)



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Cost of wine tasting in USD (p/p):
Non Reserve Tasting:
Reserve Tasting:
Cellar Tour:

Scroll down below to the main review to read the tasting notes

From vineyards home page:
Situated high above the fertile Franschhoek valley in the heart of the Cape winelands, lies a wine farm like no other. Chamonix offers visitors a seamless blend of unspoiled nature, welcoming hospitality, exquisite facilities and a host of culinary and viticultural delights, set amongst a working wine farm and water bottling plant with a history stretching back nearly 350 years. Our spring water is bottled at source and renowned for its pure, clean taste. Chamonix produces a diverse selection of award-winning wines & spirits.

Main review:
Stephen Flesch of Gourmet Wine Tours of South Africa had picked me up in Cape Town, and we had spent all day going from one winery to the next from Meerlust Winery, Ken Forrester, De Trafford Winery, which also produces Sijnn Wines, Kleine Zalze Vineyards, and La Motte. We had left Stellenbosch and entered into the Franschhoek Wine Region, on our last stop before having dinner at The Tasting room at Le Quartier Français.
Courtesy of Cape Chamonix

The Chamonix property near the heart of Franschhoek, with lodges, Racine restaurant, and a private game reserve with ostrich, zebra, eland, bontebok and springbok just to name a few. The reserve is only open to those that stay at the lodges offered on the property. They also offer private and exclusive venues for corporate functions in the Lacq de Chamonix lodge near a lake higher up into the mountains.  At the tasting room the six wines offered, none listed in the chart below, was a bad wine, and my two personnel favorites were the Reserve Pinot noir and the Troika blend. Besides wine, they also produce their own natural spring still or sparkling water.
Courtesy of Cape Chamonix

Now because I was part of a tour, the tastings were included in the overall price for each winery that day. As an American visiting South Africa, the tastings in both Constantia and Stellenbosch were an experience within themselves, much different to the tastings in Napa and Sonoma, California. Most tastings in California, Washington State, New York, and Oregon starts at $25.00-$40.00, so when I found out the cost for the tastings in South Africa I was shocked. The average is $3.00-$6.00, Chamonix being $3.00 (ZAR30.00)

This or these wines remind me of:
The Reserve Pinot Noir was out of this world and reminded me of Row11 Pinot Noir  Santa Maria, from the Russian River Valley, in Sonoma California. The Troika Blend was extremely smooth and reminded me of “ThePoet” a blend from Cosentino Winery in Napa. I am glad that Knauth & Visser LLC in Branford, Connecticut offers Chamonix wine for me to purchase locally in the USA. The best of the day was coming up next, after a wonderful day of wine tasting, it was time for dinner at the #53 Restaurant in the world at The Tasting room at Le Quartier Français.

Bouquet & Palette:

Wine & Grape:
Palette Experience:
Fresh aromas with scents of exotic spice, figs, grapefruit and thyme. Sauvignon Blanc 88%
Semillon 12%
On the palate, it is full and round with rich fruit sensation and minerality balanced by bracing acidity. 30% new French oak, 3.5% alcohol remains on the lees in oak for 11 months
It has a bright straw yellow color with golden highlights and exquisite aroma, with scents reminiscent of tropical fruit, ginger, spice and oatmeal.
Well structured, with flavors of lime and toasted almonds on the palate. 13,5% alcohol,
Notes of cherry, wild red berries, crushed black pepper, cinnamon and violets on the nose 13.5% alcohol
Although firm in structure and intense in flavor, textures are mellow and round, expanding with time to extraordinary opulence and length on the palate. It should reach its prime in about 5-8 years after release.
The bouquet is complex with scents recalling wild berries, spice and cherries. 14% alcohol is matured for 2 years
On the palate, the wine shows full body and rich dark chocolate extract with fruit flavors balanced elegantly by tannins in a long finish that reveals sweetness reminiscent of liquorice.
Cabernet Franc 51%, Cabernet Sauvignon 40%, Merlot 9%, The Chamonix Troika (meaning: Russian sleigh pulled by three horses) has deep ruby mulberry color when young, with scents that recall vanilla, sweet ripe cherries, blackberries, cinnamon and other spices.
The wine is amply structured, full, round and smooth on the palate with rich fruit and berry sensations, fine harmony and length of flavor. Although impressive young, it should reach a prime at 10-15 years. 14% alcohol
Sauvignon Blanc 60% Semillon 40% fresh aromas with scents of exotic spice, figs, grapefruit and thyme.
On the palate, it is full and round with rich fruit sensation and minerality balanced by bracing acidity. 3.5% alcohol, with 50% new French oak

Château or Vineyard Owner:
Chris Hellinger
Courtesy of Cape Chamonix
Gottfried Mocke

Tasting room address:          
Wine Estate – Chamonix
Uitkyk Street
Breede River DC
Western Cape 7690
South Africa

Cross streets:
Lambrechts Road &Huguenot Road

GPS Co-Ordinates:  S 33°54' 11.04"  |  E 19°7' 15.49"
Contact Information:

Tasting room:
+27 21 876 8426
+27 21 876 3237
+27 21 876 8400
Facebook Link      

Hours of tastings:
Monday - Sunday: 09:30 - 17:00
S. African Standard Time (GMT +2.00)

Review by:
Chef Sean Overpeck (CFE) in Franschhoek

Chef Sean cooks for soldiers in Afghanistan, 2012:

 “I like cooking with wine; sometimes I even add it to the food.”
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