There’s no shortage of big-name wineries in Stellenbosch, perhaps the most famous corner of the Cape’s wine route. But turn down the dusty lanes and you’ll discover plenty of local gems…
Explore the Stellenbosch Wine Route
As with having an adventurous palate, it pays to go exploring when driving though the Western Cape winelands. Just as you should challenge your taste buds with a Riesling or Carignan, so too you should get off the R44 and see what the hills and dales of Stellenbosch have to offer.
Your Fine Wine Selection:
As the highest estate on the Helderberg, Uva Mira is perhaps the definition of off-the-beaten track. The tasting room and cellar has a dramatic mountainside perch, with a perfect mix of cosy fireside ambience and dramatic views out over the peninsula. Winemaker Christiaan Coetzee is famous for his single-vineyard Chardonnay… unfortunately it’s usually sold out before release.
Down the hill off the Eikendal Road is another gem; the family-owned Grangehurst Winery where Jeremy Walker, a member of the prestigious Cape Winemakers’ Guild, crafts superb reds from grapes bought in from selected vineyards. The winery specialises in red wines, with his Cabernet-dominated Bordeaux-blends garnering plenty of praise.
It’s perhaps unusual to visit a winery that doesn’t have its own vineyards, but what about a winery that’s nowhere near a farm? That’s the curious arrangement at Dalla Cia in the Bosman’s Crossing district of Stellenbosch, run by acclaimed winemaker Giorgio Dalla Cia. Alongside the whites and reds – ranging from Chardonnay to Bordeaux-blends – the family also has a grapperia and Italian eatery next door.
Family is the name of the game at Muratie too, where the Melck family roots are as deep as those of the gnarled oaks towering over the cosy, quirky tasting room. Shiraz and blended-reds is the star here, although the Isabella Chardonnay and Lady Alice bubbly are also delicious.
Up and over the dramatic Helshoogte Pass, hang a right and brave the farm roads out to Oldenburg Vineyards, with its dramatic location in the Banhoek Valley, the Jonkershoek Mountains towering off to the east. This boutique producer offers both Bordeaux and Rhône varietals, with the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot scoring the highest in the most recent Platter’s guide.
Words: Richard Holmes