Uitkyk Street, Franschhoek
There’s a fresh generation of thirty-something winemakers who are boldly transforming the Franschhoek valley from something that produced wines of passing interest into a very exciting region indeed.
Gottfried Mocke at Chamonix winery typifies this in every respect. From the valley below, a narrow roadway will take you high into the mountains to Chamonix’s cellar, which at one time back in the 17th century was a blacksmiths. It has now been converted into a casual restaurant and tasting room.
When you arrive, ask for Gottfried – or get one of his assistants – to take you for a tour of the cellar. Here they experiment with a variety of small French barrels, vast oak casks, classic steel and cement tanks, as well as their latest trend, which looks like concrete vats straight out of a Doctor Who episode.
The wines are completely diverse. Anything from a fruity and unoaked chardonnay, to a beautifully luscious 2009 Sauvignon. But this one Gottfried tends to hold back since, as he puts it, “people here wish to wait until wines develop as opposed to drinking the younger choices”.
There’s also a pinot noir that could easily rival any top burgundy wine, and an excellently supply pinotage, too.
Kalmoesfontein Farm, Jakkalsfontein Road, Malmesbury
Venture to meet Adi Badenhorst in Swartland for what is a completely alternative Cape wine tourism experience. The Swartland is a region that was always recognised for wheat production. But now, there’s a fresh new generation of vignerons who are transforming all those all traditions.
You should book what will no doubt be an unforgettable visit with Adi Badenhorst, the charismatic founder of the Swartland Independent Producers Association and the Swartland Revolution, which, in spite of the name, is actually an annual wine festival, albeit with some wild overtones.
What you will not find here is the usual elegant wine tasting room. There’s not a wine tasting room in sight.
Instead, what Adi does is to open bottles from his stock held within a battered old fridge that’s housed in his dust-gathering garage cellar.
Adi purchased the estate, all 30 hectares of it, in 2007, and there was a single very important reason for doing so: The vines. The vines, some of which date way back to the 1950s, are bush vines that sit close to the ground. These vines are renowned for their excellent production capabilities.
Both red and white wines are produced here using blends from differing grapes, and Adi seems a bit more like an alchemist rather than a winemaker. For the Swartland Revolution he releases a “Funky Wine”, which this particular year was something akin to a vin Jaune from Jura. Further, within the cellar, he has an “orange wine” in production that has its base on the Muscat de Frontignan grape.
Home brewed beers are also part of the menu here, and in future, projects will include brandy and sherry production.
There are many amazing wineries in South Africa. The best way is to rent a car to explore the best of its vibrant cities. One can easily book online for car hire services to discover the best of South Africa.