Pack a cork screw, some vino glasses and dust off your grandfather’s driving gloves. We’re going on a grand tour of the best in the west wines.
With superb wines produced up and down the West Coast, you’ll be able to combine tastings with explorations of the region’s many other attractions. And due to the area’s climatic and geographic diversity, you’ll get to know a remarkable variety of wines. Hilly slopes inland enjoy mild nights and hot, clear sunlight, a marriage that makes for the finest merlots and cabernet sauvignons. Then again, coastal fogs and breezes are perfect for chardonnay and pinot noir.
If all you want is lunch in a winery setting, that’s easy: wherever you are, chances are there’ll be a winery not far away. But should you want to make wine a more serious part of your trip, remember the West Coast is vast, so exploring one wine region per trip rather than the whole region makes sense.
The flower pot that’s Darling not only has good restaurants, but also excellent wines. Definitely an experience you need to tick off your list. First up is Groote Post Winery (ph 022 4922825) off the R27. Open from 10h00 – 16h00 daily, you can sample Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Merlot and their down-to-earth The Old Man’s Blend in white and red. Hilda’s Kitchen is open for lunch from Wednesday to Sunday.
At Cloof Wines (ph 022 4922839) on the Mamre Rd off the R315, vineyards cover nearly 400 hectares. These wines have superb fruit ripeness similar to top Australian reds merged with a European balance and elegance. The portfolio consists of entry level to premium categories and contemporary to traditional styles. Their signature range includes The Very Sexy Shiraz 2017, Inkspot and The Dark Side. The cellar is open from Monday to Saturday 10h00 – 16h00 and the ribs n chips at Cloof Kitchen are a hit.
Established in 1948, Swartland Winery, (ph 022 4821134) on Trunk Rd off the R45, boasts a number of major awards. The extensive range includes Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Pinotage, Carignan, Mourvèdre, Roussanne, Viognier, Granite Rock White, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Bouquett and Blanc de Noir. Cellar hours are Monday to Friday 09h00 – 16h00 and until 14h00 on Saturdays. If peckish, no worries: generous platters are served in the cellar.
Breathtaking views and personalised service heighten the tasting experience at Pulpit Rock’s stylish wine centre on the De Gift farm, 1.5 km outside Riebeek West on the left. Visitors also can join informal tours in the pressing and maturing cellars. Wines on offer are Pinotage, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Mourvèdre, Petit Verdot and Sauvignon Blanc. Hours are Mondays to Fridays 09h00 – 17h00 and Saturdays until 14h00. To fill hungry tums, the on-site Wine & Snack Bar will do the trick.
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(Photo: Michael Oliver)