When we think vineyards the Garden Route isn’t the first place that springs to mind. But between Oudtshoorn and George lie the Outeniqua Mountains, an area known for its cool climate, good rainfall and high altitude. It boasts the production of the best quality hops in South Africa, which are used for the flavouring and stability agent in beer … but this area offers the ideal growing conditions of cool-climate grapes. The Garden Route label – the brainchild of Cape Wine Master Boets Nel of De Krans Wine Cellar in Calitzdorp – currently produces and sells the national favourite, Sauvignon Blanc, as well as the current wine of the moment, Pinot Noir. During summer the grapes are harvested and transported to De Krans, which is just an hour away, where the wines are made by award-winning De Krans winemaker Louis van der Riet. The result? Two fabulous wines to choose from.
The Garden Route Sauvignon Blanc 2017 … all tropical fruit like guava and passion fruit, which goes brilliantly with snoek pâté, seafood or chicken, and seasonal salads. R70 a bottle.
The Garden Route Pinot Noir 2016 has the signature light red colour of the cultivar, with flavours of cherries, strawberries and Rooibos tea. Although soft and smooth, the wine shows great complexity and structure, having spent 12 months in French oak barrels. Delicious on its own, it also pairs perfectly with most meaty dishes (great with a braai), and is particularly good with duck, mushroom risotto, country style cassoulet or fatty fish like salmon. R110 a bottle. The wines, with their eye-catching label showing off the Loerie bird, which is indigenous to the area, are only available directly from De Krans or online. Details and orders: www.dekrans.co.za.