Rickety Bridge, the picturesque wine estate in the Franschhoek Valley, has been honoured with a coveted 5-Star rating and Joint Best Semillon Award in the 2020 Platter’s South African Wine Guide – for The Pilgrimage 2017, a limited-edition Icon wine produced from an extraordinary heritage vineyard block.
Platter’s by Diners Club South African Wine Guide 2020 was launched at Cape Town’s Table Bay Hotel on 8 November 2019 with over 230 guests in attendance, the VIPs including the wine producers who achieved the maximum 5-star rating in the new edition, including Rickety Bridge Cellar Master Donovan Ackerman who proudly accepted his prestigious awards from Platter’s Publisher Jean-Pierre Rossouw.
Platter’s 5-star accolade is reserved for wines that are “South African classics” and score 95 points or more on the internationally recognised 100-point scale. No stranger to accolades, The Pilgrimage 2017 has also received ratings of excellence from Tim Atkin, internationally acclaimed wine critic and British Master of Wine (MW) in his 2019 South Africa Special Report (94 points) as well as Christian Eedes, well respected wine writer and judge and editor of Winemag.co.za (95 points).
RICKETY BRIDGE THE PILGRIMAGE 2017: OLD VINE SEMILLON
The vineyard: The Pilgrimage is crafted from a 4,2ha block planted in 1905 on granite soils in the Franschhoek valley. Ancient gnarled and twisted dryland bush vines struggle to produce tiny yields of grapes, averaging 2,4 tonnes/ha. The Pilgrimage pays homage to the long and arduous journey these ancient heritage vines have travelled since 1905.
In the cellar: Whole-bunch pressed and naturally fermented, the wine matured for 11 months in a combination of foudre and older 500-litre barrels.
Tasting notes: The Pilgrimage takes you on a sensory journey paying respect to the heritage of these old vines. Initial freshness on the nose opens up to complex citrus and zesty lime with underlying floral aromas. A full, rich extraordinarily satiny palate of honey, nougat and citrus is perfectly balanced with caramel sweetness and a beautiful lingering creamy finish. Rich and intense yet fresh, it finishes regally and perfectly dry. The wine sings of old vine concentration, with its citrusy joie de vivre and just a peep of the silky viscosity that will emerge with time. Ready to drink now, this wine has great aging potential for up to at least 10 years from harvest. It’s a wine made to last and improve with age.
Food suggestions: This elegant Semillon is extremely versatile and can be paired with a variety of dishes – delicious with breyani, chicken curry, roast pork, seafood, shellfish, roast chicken and paella.
Limited production: 1 600 bottles
Packaging: The Pilgrimage 2017 is boldly packaged in a magnificent heavy-weight bottle with a blue wax seal and showcased in a satin-lined box.
Retail price: R450 a bottle. The Pilgrimage 2017 is available from the cellar door, at specialist wine merchants or shop online at https://shop.ricketybridge.com/wines for quick and easy delivery.
Alternatively, contact Shaun Page on 021 876 2129 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
RICKETY BRIDGE ICON RANGE
The Pilgrimage forms part of Rickety Bridge’s Icon range of four wines, which also includes The Bridge Cabernet Sauvignon, The Crossover Pinotage and The Sleeper Shiraz. These boutique small volume wines are hand-made from start to finish. Natural fermentation, gentle handling and minimalist winemaking allow these wines to express their extraordinary origins. With great fruit very little is required in the cellar to transform it into great wine, just tender loving care to shepherd it along its natural path to revealing the true character of the unique bush-vine vineyards and their exceptional grapes. The Icon wines are boldly packaged in magnificent heavy-weight bottles with wax seals and showcased in satin-lined boxes.
OTHER NEW VINTAGE RICKETY BRIDGE ICON WINES
THE BRIDGE CABERNET SAUVIGNON 2017
The Bridge, named after the original ‘rickety bridge’ from which the estate took its name, is a bold and voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon which expresses the true character of the bush-vine vineyard and its exceptional grapes. The maiden 2008 vintage, the first of Rickety Bridge’s Icon wines, was judged to be one of the Top 100 wines in the inaugural Top 100 SA Wines competition and received a Gold medal at the 2011 Decanter World Wine Awards.
The vineyard: The Bridge comes from an extraordinary bush-vine vineyard on the steep slopes of the Dassenberg Mountain, on the Rickety Bridge estate: harsh, rocky mountainside terrain inaccessible by vehicle, producing a flawless crop of tiny, intensely concentrated berries. Planted in 2000, it took 8 years for the struggling vines to bear the first tiny crop. Tended completely by hand, the vineyards produce a small quantity of intensely concentrated bunches of grapes, no more than 1,2 tonnes/ha.
In the cellar: Naturally fermented, maturation took place in 100% new French oak barrels for a total of 22 months. This wine is unfiltered and unfined.
Tasting notes: The Bridge has a striking nose displaying black cherry, cloves, dark chocolate, aromatic tobacco and refreshingly gorgeous mint. The fullness and richness of the wine fills the entire mouth, with cassis, red fruit and subtle chocolate combining seamlessly with voluptuous, velvety tannins. Full bodied yet refined, a long and enchanting finish leaves one wanting more. Delicious now, this wine will age beautifully and will reach its peak potential 10 years from vintage.
Food suggestion: Rich oxtail casserole or Ribeye steak.
Limited production: 3 520 bottles
Retail price: R650 a bottle. The Bridge 2017 is available from the cellar door, at specialist wine merchants or shop online at https://shop.ricketybridge.com/wines for quick and easy delivery.
THE CROSSOVER PINOTAGE 2018
Since Professor Abraham Perold crafted a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault (Hermitage) in 1925 to create Pinotage, SA’s signature red wine grape, it has become a globally recognised symbol of SA’s distinctive winemaking tradition.
The vineyard: The Crossover is made from the fruit of well-manicured and settled bush vines that produce small concentrated bunches of grapes.
In the cellar: Naturally fermented, maturation took place in 100% new French oak barrels for a total of 22 months.
Tasting notes: This wine is expressive of fruit rather than oak, showing real finesse and velvety palate with well – integrated tannins. The nose is dominated by sweet spice and red berries. Full bodied yet refined. A long and enchanting finish leaves one wanting more. Peak potential 10 years from vintage.
Food suggestions: Coq au vin, ostrich carpaccio, roast duck, red meat or veal.
Limited production: 3 160 bottles
Retail price: R650 a bottle. The Crossover 2018 is available from the cellar door, at specialist wine merchants or shop online at https://shop.ricketybridge.com/wines for quick and easy delivery.
THE SLEEPER SHIRAZ 2017
This wine pays tribute to the original wooden sleepers that were used in the construction of the ‘rickety bridge’ which once straddled the Franschhoek River, ushering one into the Rickety Bridge vineyards. The original rickety bridge, consisting mainly of sleeper-wood beams, was too narrow for larger vehicles, and had to make way for a modern concrete bridge in 1996.
The vineyard: The Sleeper Shiraz is made from the fruit of well-manicured and settled vineyards.
In the cellar: 80% whole bunch pressed, and naturally fermented, maturation took place in 100% new French oak barrels for a total of 22 months.
Tasting notes: Opulent dark fruit is supported by aromatic notes of spice distinctive to Shiraz. The wine is textured, layered and showing elegance and refined structure. Nice savoury and smokey characteristics are evident on the palate. Tremendous fullness, massive supple structure which fills the entire mouth, voluptuous velvety tannins make the tongue feel gracefully coated. Full bodied yet refined with a long, lingering finish. Peak potential 10 years from vintage.
Food suggestions: Game, ostrich, steak, roast beef, spicy lamb dishes.
Limited production: 3,150 bottles
Retail price: R650 a bottle. The Sleeper Shiraz 2017 is available from the cellar door, at specialist wine merchant, or shop online at https://shop.ricketybridge.com/wines for quick and easy delivery.
RICKETY BRIDGE HISTORY
Rickety Bridge Winery nestles against the Dassenberg Mountain with splendid views over the Wemmershoek Mountains and the Franschhoek Valley. The first allocation of this land dates back to as early as 1694, the era during which Valley farms were allocated to Huguenot farmers. On 7 May 1797 the widow Paulina de Villiers was granted the land that straddles the river and rises up against the mountain at Franschhoek. This land that she affectionately named ‘Paulina’s Drift’ later became Rickety Bridge, making her one of the first women to own and farm land in the Cape. Rickety Bridge’s restaurant, Paulina’s, and the Paulina’s Reserve range of wines proudly bear the name of the estate’s original owner.
The owners have come and gone, but the farm’s winemaking tradition has been perpetuated throughout its history. Since 2000 when Rickety Bridge Winery was bought by Englishman, Duncan Spence, the estate has undergone significant development in many areas.
RICKETY BRIDGE, A WINE AND LIFESTYLE ESTATE
When visiting Rickety Bridge today, one still crosses a bridge over the Franschhoek River to enter this picturesque sanctuary, which offers much more than the conventional wine estate. Today this Franschhoek wine estate is home to a modern winery producing award-winning wines, a ‘tasting centre in the vines’ where one can enjoy the estate’s various wine ranges, and Paulina’s, a popular à la carte restaurant. Other attractions include wine blending experiences and panna cotta and wine pairings. In addition, the property boasts luxurious 5-star accommodation at the Rickety Bridge Manor House and 4-star accommodation at Basse Provence, the neighbouring estate across the Franschhoek River, a romantic wedding and function venue, a conference centre, a boules court, scenic walks and a playground for children. Rickety Bridge is also one of the designated stops for the popular Franschhoek Wine Tram, and the estate is only 3 kilometres from the quaint village of Franschhoek.
Rickety Bridge is open seven days a week
Tel: 021 876 2129
Social media handle: @ricketybwinery