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WORDS: RICHARD HOLMES IMAGES: SUPPLIED

There’s a time for wines casually quaffed by the braai, and there’s a time for serious wines that demand your attention. The Old Road Wine Co., which launched earlier this year from its tasting room home in Franschhoek, aims to cater to both ends of the spectrum.

Winemaker Ryan Puttick is at the helm in the cellar, tapping into unique vineyard sites from across the Cape winelands. It’s this wandering eye that offers plenty of curiosity in the portfolio, with the wines split across five distinct categories that tap into the characters and tales of the 19th-century winelands to offer an eye-catching collection of wines.

The Quirky Ones runs from the zippy Juliette Sauvignon Blanc to the hugely enjoyable Spotted Hound; a red blend with nips of sangiovese, shiraz, cinsaut and more. The standout here though is the Cape blend dubbed The Butcher and Cleaver, a trio of shiraz, pinotage and mourvèdre that’s a fine accompaniment for anything off the braai.

The Originals pays tribute to the characters of yesteryear Franschhoek in the Smous Sauvignon Blanc and The Fat Man Pinotage, while the Single Vineyard releases are well worth seeking out, particularly the grand-mère semillon, with fruit picked from a special bush vine vineyard planted in 1936.

With its tasting room in the heart of the Franschhoek valley it’s little wonder another range is dubbed the French Corner, with a pair of approachable blends to discover. The red is inspired by the Rhône valley, driven by grenache and gourvèdre, so expect plenty of bold fruit with an undercurrent of savoury notes. The white is a delicious, slightly unusual, blend of verdelho, marsanne and grenache blanc.

While you’ll find the range of wines in good wine shops and online, perhaps the best place to discover them is at the source, in the Old Road Wine Co. tasting room in Franschhoek. The Anemos Deck and main restaurant offer wonderful valley views, with dishes under the watchful eye of chef Reimond van der Walt. There’s an extensive menu that rambles from pizza to pasta to hearty grills. As with the wines, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Old Road Wine Co. | 021 271 0379 | oldroadwinecompany.com