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Wines off the beaten track

19 Feb 2015

When you make wine in SA’s hot climate, you generally try and find the coolest areas you can to produce wines of delicacy, elegance and grace. We’re all familiar with the normal winemaking regions of SA such as Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl, but adventurous winemakers nowadays are continually seeking somewhere cooler – in every sense of the word. Here are a few new wines from new areas which are worth giving a go.

The Baleia Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (R45) comes from the unpronounceable (for me anyway) region of Vermaaklikheid down on the Cape South Coast where it benefits from lots of lovely, cooling sea breezes which are perfect for producing Sauvignon Blanc. Grassy, tangy, some hints of lemon – it’s a really interesting wine and great value to boot.

A little further down in Elim, planted on some of the oldest and most unique viticultural soils in the world lie Strandveld Vineyards. The First Sighting range is their entry level one and the Pinot Noir 2012 (R108) offers excellent value considering the harsh growing environment where the vines battle hectic winds every day. Lots of bright soft cherry and berry fruit with a lovely savoury twist.

Carrying on down the Garden Route, you’ll find Garden Route Wines, a label owned by De Krans’s Boets Nel. He’s a big believer in the cool climate caused by the altitude of the Outeniqua Mountains and affected by proximity to the ocean and here he makes a Shiraz 2012 (R90) and a Sauvignon Blanc 2014 (R70), both of which display lots of perfume and spice. Nicely packaged and well-priced, they’re interesting and delicious.

So there are a few off the beaten track wines – but are there any ‘off the beaten track’ restaurants you can enjoy when you go and seek them out?

Well, you can try La Sosta in Swellendam before moving onto Baleia Bay – it’s Eat Out’s Italian restaurant of the year and well worth a visit. Down in Elim you can enjoy the restaurant at Black Oystercatcher Wines which is great for families and if you’re visiting Garden Route Wines, I’d recommend going a bit further onto Wilderness and eating at the sublime Serendipity as well. But hey – that’s just my ideas and if you have more of them, please feel free to share!

Happy hunting and I hope that all your off-piste drinks and eats are worth seeking out!

- Cathy Marston


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