Owned by Virgin Limited Edition since 2014, Mont Rochelle Wine Estate has been producing wine since 1995 when Graham de Villiers (an 8th generation descendant of Jaques de Villiers) purchased the property. With vineyards situated on the slopes of the beautiful Franschhoek Mountains, this is perfect territory for growing grapes to make high-quality South African wines of distinction.
The terroir at Mont Rochelle is exceptional and the climate in this corner of the Western Cape is Mediterranean, with dry summers and high winter rainfalls. The Franschhoek valley also experiences strong south-easterly winds bringing in cooler air that allows for a longer ripening period. The soils on Mont Rochelle range from decomposed granite and hutton on the higher slopes, to alluvial clay on the lower lying areas, with this variety helping to impart complexity to the resulting wines.
In 2014 Virgin Limited Edition initiated a joint venture with Litmus Wines together forming Mont Rochelle Winery Ltd. The improvements that took place across the estate were mirrored in the winery and consequently in late 2014 the cellar was refurbished and modernised.
Dustin Osborne is the accomplished resident South African winemaker at Mont Rochelle. A qualified oenologist and viticulturist, he embodies the spirit of the new generation of winemakers, and is recognized to be amongst the most promising of South Africa’s young winemakers. His unequivocal approach to winemaking is based on a firm belief in allowing the wines to mature naturally, with minimal intervention. Dustin prefers a gentle approach, allowing the wines to develop to their full potential.
All the fruit is hand-harvested, ensuring that it arrives at the winery in the best possible condition, allowing the winemaking team to hand select the best parcels suitable for wine production.
Minimal winemaking intervention is core to the winemaking processes helping to produce a premium product that reflects the characteristics of the Franschhoek hillside slopes.
Many of the wines are aged in French oak barriques imparting structure, texture and age-worthiness to the wines.
There are three quality tier levels to the Mont Rochelle range and with just 80,000 bottles produced annually this makes for a truly boutique range of wines.
The entry level range, consisting of a white wine and a red wine that are each a blend of varieties. The wines are soft, approachable, produced for immediate consumption and unoaked. Often described as a “graduating wine”, Little Rock strikes a perfect balance between easy-drinking and complexity, allowing every day wine drinkers an opportunity to enjoy a slightly more serious wine drinking experience.
The wines are the same cuvées as the Mont Rochelle Range but benefit from extended elevage both in barrel and on cork prior to release.
With Miko’s untimely passing, Mont Rochelle decided to continue labelling a premium wine in honour of his legacy. In 2006, the decision was taken to bottle a Chardonnay and a red wine under Miko’s name, but only to produce the wine in exceptional vintages in order to do justice to the name MIKO.
Today, the Miko Range continues to be the flagship of the winery and is only produced from the best parcels of fruit. There is one red and one white in the range, almost always blended wines, that reflect the unique terroir of Mont Rochelle Vineyard. At the pinnacle of South African winemaking these wines are designed for long-term ageing and should be considered a treat to enjoy on special occasions.