Wines off the beaten track
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!