As a regular visitor to Plettenberg Bay, I have been watching the development and growth of various wine farms from a distance. This is not because I have doubted that they will succeed, but rather because I love nothing better than visiting, examining the vines in the soil and then tasting the end result.
Last week I visited Bramon Wine Estate in The Crags and was not disappointed. The tasting room is located at the entrance to the property and thus affords one the opportunity of a quick stop, if lunch is not possible.
For those with time to meander and stop a while, Bramon has a restaurant surrounded by vineyards, offering an extensive meze menu. Dishes include smoked Snoek Pate, ostrich Carpaccio, smoked Trout fillet, Prawn cakes, Gorgonzola, Camembert, Olive tapenade – the list includes a total of 31 dishes. Dessert ranges from Belgium Choc truffles to Sorbet and Choc Brownies.
So what of the wines produced at Bramon? I was impressed with the Method Cap Classique (MCC) and Sauvignon Blanc 2010 tasted and the prevailing climate in the area is sound reason why these two wines have delivered. Cool sea breezes, higher altitude allow for early ripening and in terms of the Sauvignon Blanc and MCC (made from Sauvignon Blanc) the crisp acidity expected was found in the glass.
The soils at Bramon are predominately sandy loam with a high carbon content as confirmed by owner, Peter Thorpe. Apart from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are also planted and all clones are grafted onto 101/14 Mgt, which helps to induce early ripening and generally performs well in a wider spectrum of soils.
Apart from Bramon there are several other wine farms in the surrounding area such as Packwood in Harkerville, Goose Wines made from grapes grown in the Langkloof, Herold Wines in Outeniqua and even at the former Bitou Polo club – I do have my doubts about the latter, since the area is prone to flooding and the soils surely must pose viticultural challenges. I do hope I am proven wrong! Overall, the future looks bright for the Garden Route wine route.
A quick check on the SAWIS website illustrates how the SA wine industry continues to grow with a new Geographical Unit of Production – Eastern Cape – coming on board in the past year and Plettenberg Bay having its own Wine of Origin status as a stand-alone District . There is currently an application for a new production area, the Cape South Coast, for the Wine & Spirits Board to consider.
Source: SAWIS (www.sawis.co.za)