Did I hear someone say that they may have found a great route du vin – an area well recognised for a unique grape in a unique area? Indeed, you are bound to find your favourite in Plettenberg Bay where you can explore a selection of beautiful, crisp Sauvingon Blanc varieties – each as unique as the farm, tasting room and personalities that made them. Here you will find a selection of new wines with a fast-growing pedigree generally reserved for its much older peers.
Plett is South Africa’s smallest wine growing region, with only 58 hectares of the 100 000 hectares planted countrywide. This wine region is the country’s most easterly cultivar and stretches 57 km along the thin coastal strip from Packwood in Harkerville to Lodestone on the Redford Road in the Crags. It is small, young, exciting and thriving and is arguably South Africa’s most scenic wine region.
The first grapes in the area were planted by Caroline and Peter Thorpe on Bramon Estate in the Crags, on Plett’s west side. After tireless research, boldness in foresight and choosing a renowned winemaker in Anton Smal, Plett’s first vineyard, Bramon, was born in 2000. Others soon followed and today there are 16 well-established vineyards on this picturesque strip of the Garden Route.
Pushing the boundaries of wine-making with their national and international award winning Sauvignon Blanc still wines and Sauvignon Blanc Méthode Cap Classique wines, Bramon and Anton Smal are deemed new-age pioneers in the industry. Their awards and those of others is affirmation to what can be achieved with the area’s superior terroir.
Fast on track to becoming a true route du vin, the Plett Winelands has excellent restaurants, guest houses and portrait worthy scenery. Traditionally the main method of transportation would be reserved for bicyclists, but the area of Plett also incorporates other interesting ways of getting around these beautiful vineyards. You may find guests experiencing any part of the Plett Winelands by bike, on horseback, in a horse-drawn carriage, by guided shuttle, by car and even on foot.
With so many regions producing wine in South Africa, is it possible for others to claim a truer route de vin? When considering the fact that you can experience a crisp Sauvignon at every one of Plett’s open vineyards and the longest you have to travel between farms is 35 minutes – I think you may struggle not to fall in love with this one. You will find a very diverse terrain on each of the wine farms within the area; vines close enough to taste the salt from the sea, vines at the base of craggy mountains, vines at the edge of indigenous forests, vines amongst a dairy farm, vines under the watchful eyes of elephants and polo ponies and vines alongside orchards of olive trees. The choices are endless.