Iona Red Blend
Ashbourne Pinotage 2018

A Sophisticated Affair For The Senses

Rupert and Rothschilds Vignerons awaits your visit to the beautiful Franschhoek wine valley this festive season. It is an opportunity to emerge yourself in a place where you can spend quality time with friends and family and forget about your worries. You can look forward to an elegant yet welcoming environment with excellent service, food, and wine. We have not experienced the oyster and Champagne pairing they offer yet, but this is on our to-do list. Complete with the Barons de Rothschild Blanc de Blancs, Brut and Rosé, your oyster will come dressed in plum jelly, cucumber, litchi and lime, and mignonette, respectively. Considering how popular the restaurant was on a Friday, bookings are essential. The restaurant is open Wednesday to Sunday from 12h00 until 15h00. You will love everything about it.

The Simplicity of Three
From 1997, the brand was built on just three wines. Regardless of trends, they have persevered with this trio, taking pride in their focus, dedication, and commitment to making them exceptional

A Prestigious Partnership
A joint venture between the Rupert family in South Africa and the Rothschild family in France. 

Passion for our craft
They draw inspiration for the brand from the French winemaking ways and are red wine specialists with a core focus on Bordeaux varietals. The trio in the range includes a single varietal Chardonnay, a classic varietal to mirror their brand image.

“Merlot lovers, here is a wine led by South Africa’s most endearing red grape varietal, showing off both its elegant and intense personality in what has become a hallmark red blend locally and abroad.” – Samarie Smith (WSETDip)



  • Pork belly isn’t difficult to pair with wine if the wine has a good freshness to keep the meat’s richness in check. However, it is what you serve with the meat that matters most.
  • The licoricey character of fennel seeds has this magical way of brightening up pork dishes and full-bodied red wines. It brings a coolness to alleviate the fattiness of the pork while at the same time lifting the fruit in the wine. 
  • Adding acidity (lemon or white wine) to your gravy or jus will make the texture of the wine appear velvety, adding a fruitful and lush character without making the wine appear flabby, especially in summer.
  • Adding sage echoes the herbaceous note of a Bordeaux blend, ensuring the wine doesn’t appear too fruity with the tart sauce and bringing out barrel ageing characteristics like cedar, graphite and spice.
  • A creamy carrot element adds sweetness that provokes the wine to show its balance of fruit, acid and tannin.
  • A kingship exists between a wine with some bottle age and the velvety texture of quality dark chocolate, leaving a smooth bittersweet aftertaste.
  • Berry sorbet takes it to a new level. The tannin of both the berry skin and the wine works brilliantly, and the tartness adds vibrance to the wine.
  • The experience of sweet, sour, bitter, and salty notes etches out every dimension of the wine in this dessert pairing, a reminder to those preparing a chocolate showstopper for Christmas. Or, much more straightforward, visit the estate while they still feature this dessert.

Our Experience

Fancy bumping into the winemaker Kayla Oertle-Morse on visiting the Rupert and Rothschild wine estate last week. What a delightful and talented young lady! It must’ve been our lucky day because head chef Adrian Hadlow and pastry chef xxx made time to chat about their offering for the season despite having a busy restaurant on their hands. Taking immense pride in their work that helps showcase the estate wines, they did so in such a joyful fashion that I am sure one could taste it in their food.

Driving into the estate on the road shadowed with lush trees and immaculate surrounding gardens, one can already experience the sophisticated space created by two legacies, a confluence of two worlds built on class and tradition. The tasting centre is a tranquil space that includes nature through big open doors. Custom-made oak furniture spills out on the deck to extend the restaurant that flows out from the tasting room. The doors were wide open to savour a beautiful day in the winelands.

Chef Hadlow opted on serving the braised pork belly, pork crackling, textures of carrot, aniseed and tuile de pan to pair with the Rupert and Rothschild Baron Edmund 2017. But, in the same breath, he was excited to also plate the 74% Valrhona dark chocolate tart with a blackberry Baron Edmund sorbet to show just how profoundly a wine of this stature can blossom with an array of dishes, whether sweet or savoury.

His face lit up upon presenting the pork belly, adorned with different carrot elements perked up to add height to the dish and crowned with dainty tuiles adding texture and finesse. Sourced from their gardens and surrounding farms, he managed to weave in some nostalgia with the bright colours of carrot. Yet, at the same time, his professional eye executed it with so much flair, elevating these humble ingredients.

If one could personify this classic Bordeaux blend, it would not be a male or a female but a sophisticated couple making heads turn without being flamboyant but unfaltering in any company they keep. And that is what is achieved through the magic of blending.

The wine is intense as expected from a blend of Merlot 70%, 

Cabernet Franc 13%, Cabernet Sauvignon 12%, and Malbec 5%.

Led by Merlot, it exudes a bouquet of red fruit like mulberry and red plum, underpinned with darker broody fruit. Championing Merlot also adds a natural brightness and aery quality to the wine. It all makes sense when you take the first sip and feel how it tiptoes over your palate, not heavy, not robust, but still authoritative.   

Adding to its elegance is a lavender perfume dusted with dark chocolate, cinnamon, cedar. It also has that archetypal Bordeaux note of dark fruit and forest floor to broaden its shoulders. The wine engulfs your palate like a liquid melange of cherries, both fruit and oak tannin chiselling out the dimensions of this wine.

So gently, the wine coats your palate with a porcelain texture, its concentration adding a long finish. Pork belly lovers will enjoy how the crunchy element of crackling excites the palate, while the cool undertone of the wine makes the richness thereof less overwhelming. But it’s the Valrhona chocolate tart that took the win for us here – an exquisite combination of an excellent red blend celebrating Merlot and hands down the best chocolate tart we’ve ever tasted. The right size, the right amount of bitterness and then that bold addition of a super tart and pithy sorbet. We loved it, and so did the wine.

See it for yourself

Gallery of our experience.
All images copyright Samarie Smith and/or the featured estate.

To have your wine featured and reviewed, please contact us.


Samarie +27 82 072 5451

Georgio +27 83 326 3016