EXPERIENCED WINEMAKER HANDLING 2nd
HARVEST AT AVONTUUR
Jan van Rooyen, with nearly two decades'
worth of wine-making experience, has been Avontuur Estate's winemaker from the beginning
of 2011 and is gearing up for the 2012
When asked about his objectives for the
wines, he cagily said that he has a 10
year plan, but would love to build on the foundation laid by his predecessors
and improve on the quality of the
premier range wines, especially the Chardonnay. He plans to concentrate on producing great
Reds from this farm?s incredible
Helderberg terroir and have fun with the bubbly, the brandies and the noble
To get to know Jan a bit better and find
out more about his plans for the winery, we asked him a few questions:
- WHICH WAS THE FIRST WINE THAT MADE ANY SENSE?
In 1993 whilst working at the Department of
Agriculture, I organized tastings for some of my colleagues and discovered a
1973 bottle of French Sauvignon Blanc in a dusty storeroom. For a laugh, I decided to include it in the
line-up, but great was my surprise and pleasure, when it turned out to be
fantastic! That really made me think
about what I wanted from my wine-making career.
- TELL US ABOUT YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT WITH WINE?
I was in my first year of study at Stellenbosch University and was included in a tasting
with my professor and senior students where we had to score the wines. I decided - in my 'wisdom' that a Nederberg
Edelkeur was only worth 11 points, to the absolute shock and derision of the co-tasters! As my prof said drily: "Well he's honest at least, but has a long
way to go" Years later when my own
noble late harvest achieved double gold at Veritas, I thought: 'Yes prof, and eventually
I got there!?'
- MY BEST FOOD & WINE EXPERIENCE WAS?
I am a huge bubbly fan and in my 4th
year at varsity Moet & Chandon launched a dessert-style bubbly in the most
beautiful, mini-packaging. I immediately
decided to arrange a 100% bubbly-paired
meal and invited 4 friends.
Obviously I had to fork out for the Moet, but everyone else also brought samples of the best they could afford.
I cooked my heart out and we had bubbly from the welcome drink right through to
the dessert which culminated with my exclusive Moet! I believed then and still do, that bubbly
should not only be kept for special occasions or celebrations, and this meal
proved my point.
- IF YOU WERE NOT MAKING
WINE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
I read fiction, listen to a wide spectrum
of music from contemporary through to jazz and opera and when I'm on holiday at
the beach, love foraging for fresh mussels off the rocks. Hobbies which I wish I had more time for,
include fly fishing and golf.
- MY LAST GLASS OF WINE WOULD BE?
.. a tiny, but perfect crystal glass filled
to the brim of the world's most famous noble late harvest dessert wine, Chateau
D'Yquem. I'd rather wave farewell to the
world with a gorgeous sweet mouthful than anything else!