Garden Route Wines: Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir from the Outeniqua Mountains

Nestled in between Oudtshoorn and George lies the Outeniqua Mountains, an area known for its cool climate, good rainfall and high altitude. While the area boasts with production of the best quality hops in South Africa (the flavouring and stability agent in beer), this area also allows for the ideal growing conditions of cool-climate grapes.

The Garden Route label – the brainchild of Boets Nel, MD of De Krans Wine Cellar in Calitzdorp, and Cape Wine Master – was developed when Nel had the opportunity to acquire some of these grapes in the Waboomskraal valley, that lies at the foothills of the Outeniqua mountains. The label currently produces and sells the national favourite, Sauvignon Blanc as well as the current ‘wine of the moment’, being Pinot Noir. With the Outeniqua Pass being the gateway to the well-known and popular Garden Route (a stretch of about 300km along the South Coast up to Storms River Mouth), the Garden Route name seemed only fitting. The eye-catching label depicts the Loerie bird, which is indigenous to the area, and the perfect tribute to this optimum wine growing region.

During summer the grapes are harvested and transported to De Krans (one hour away) where the wines are made by award-winning De Krans winemaker, Louis van der Riet. Combine the perfect conditions for the vines and grapes to grow in, with the experience and commitment of the De Krans team, the Garden Route Wines really are the best of both worlds. The Outeniqua terroir allows the grapes to ripen very slowly, resulting in berries of excellent quality and packed with intense flavours.

The Garden Route Sauvignon Blanc 2017 showcases the typical freshness of green pepper and cut grass on both the nose and palate. The wine displays a strong character of tropical fruit such as guava and passion fruit, topped off with a subtle mineral quality. The wine has a balanced acidity with a lingering aftertaste. This wine was made with a lot of care, with the best quality berries hand selected before the destemming and crushing processes. Subsequently, only the free run juice was used, and the wine was left on the fine lees for six months before bottling.

This crisp Sauvignon Blanc is an excellent addition to snoek pâté, seafood or chicken, and seasonal salads. Available directly from De Krans, this ‘must have summer wine’ costs R70 per bottle.

The Sauvignon Blanc under the Garden Route label has shown consistent quality of excellence with earlier vintages being acknowledged by receiving a four-star Platter rating three years in a row (2015, 2016 and 2017) and was also awarded Gold at the 2017 Vitis Vinifera.

The Garden Route Pinot Noir 2016 has the signature light red colour synonymous with the cultivar, showcasing flavours of cherries, strawberries and Rooibos tea. On the palate, the wine displays flavours of cherries, Rooibos tea and a savoury earthiness, with silky tannins and an elegant finish. Although soft and smooth, the wine shows great complexity and structure having spent 12 months in French oak barrels.

This fruit bomb (they only use the free run juice) is as delicious on its own as when it is paired with food. While it pairs perfectly with most meaty dishes (including a braai), its partners particularly well with duck, mushroom risotto, country style cassoulet or fatty fish such as salmon.

While the cultivar is very cool at the moment, the prices of Pinot Noir also don’t tend to particularly warm the heart. Fear not, this gem comes in at only R110 per bottle. This wine guarantees to impress your friend especially when you make mention of its awards, which include a Gold medal at the 2017 Vitis Vinifera and a four-star Platter rating.

The Garden Route Sauvignon Blanc and Garden Route Pinot Noir are only available directly from De Krans or order online through www.dekrans.co.za. For more information, contact the farm on 044 213 3314, or email dekrans@mweb.co.za.

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