The Plett Wine Route (Part 2)
IN last week’s edition, I gave you a run-through on visiting Bitou, Luka, Plettenvale and Packwood, with the latter two lady owners doing the winemaking in their own cellars. Travel to The Crags and you will imagine yourself veritably in the Garden of Eden, with vineyards that wrap around the polo fields.
You may wish to start or to end at Bramon, off the N2 to the right when travelling east. Peter Thorpe settled there with his wife Caroline and two children, Bram and Manon, after whom the winery is named.
Four years later he released the country’s fi rst MCC Sauvignon Blanc. In that time the wine has hit 4.5 stars in the Platter Guide. Villiera’s Anton Smal joined in 2010 and systematically took on the task of making wines for each of the owners as grapes on the one-time polo fi elds off the fascinating Redford Road ripened.
The MCC signifi es Méthode Cap Classique – sparkling wine as made in the Champagne region of France.
At Bramon, Anton has an MCC from Sauvignon Blanc and an MCC from Chardonnay that have been allowed to mature in the bottle. Sadly, through a churlishness of another producer, Peter is constrained to using the name The Crags to carry the Rosé and a 4.5-star Sauvignon Blanc 2015.
Believe me that this wine will be sought out in four to fi ve years as it complexifi es with bottle maturation. I luckily have a dozen that will endure the long sleep.
Sit between the vines to enjoy Caroline’s lunch, just to add to your memories and to prepare you for the trip down Redford Road.
You will first meet Doug Lund at Newstead and see the perfection in presentation, in the snack and comfort options, and in the beer pub. Wife Sue refers to Doug as ‘the relentless farmer’.
MCC is made from each of Pinot Noir and of Chardonnay. An impressive Sauvignon Blanc and a sold-out Pinot Noir complete the range. The focus is on farm produce and craft beers.
Leanne Lane is somebody you simply must meet, preferably at Redford Lane’s ‘plaaskombuis’. Everything is different, including the varieties to be planted.
This Johannesburg bundle of energy thinks of everything: playthings for the kids, sheep in the fi elds, and country food.
At this moment you will enjoy the Sauvignon Blanc and the Leto Venus Sauvignon Blanc owned by Ian Anderson, who does not run an outlet on his vast farm along the coastlands, where he intends planting pomegranates as well. You will love the warmth and rusticity of Redford Lane Wines.
Top polo fi elds are laid out at what used to be Rare Earth but is now ensconced as Kay & Monty, owned by Chick Legh and organised to perfection by Lauren and her team, also offering meals. An MCC, a Sauvignon Blanc, and a tasty red blend are on offer.
As you proceed you can ignore the manicured farm on the left, as it is the progress of developing with Bramon purchasing its grapes at this stage.
Higher up on the left is the masterpiece of developer Jon Tomkin. Olives, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc immaculately laid out, and a cellar being prepared. Tasting and snack dinners are on offer. The Route is supported by Plett Tourism and hosts an annual festival in October that is very well attended. Visitors to the vineyards are astounded by the near ‘sold-out’ situation.
One would think that the loyalty of the polo fraternity up north account for demand but, as Doug Lund says, you should see how these wines sell in Cape Town. An added advantage is that local restaurants and two leading ‘grocers’ in the town have dedicated displays of ‘Our Plett Wines’.
Yes, you will sense that pride – and as in Stellenbosch in 1980, you will meet the owner. I cannot yet say that you will meet the winemaker, but you will hear the rapturous laugh of surfer Anton Smal. And this is just the beginning.
Plett Wine Tours on 081 270 0658 or at winefarm email@example.com offers tripping you around so you won’t have to spit after tasting…
• PeeBee has kept his palate alive since 1975 when he met Beejay Lankwarden in the Wilderness. He explores local, national and international wines, looking for ‘the cutting edge’.