Welcome to the Western Cape Wineries - a kiwi's opinion blog

I originally set up this blog to help foreigners have an enjoyable experience when visiting the western cape wineries in South Africa.

I realised that it is very difficult for a tourist to choose where to go and which wineries to visit, when you have 600+ wine producers to choose from.

When I first moved to SA December 2010, my palate struggled to adjust to SA wine, b
ut after living here for a while and after visiting over 100+ wine estates, I have found many wines which I really like and can highly recommend.

Admittingly, when you come from another country it is hard not to compare the wine in SA to what you are used to back home. However, once you realise they are not the same (they have their own characteristics due to the different soil, climate etc) and appreciate their wines for being SA wines, it will improve your opinion and experience of the wines immediately.

If you are staying in SA for a while, don't dispair, your palate will change, and you will soon find yourself liking SA wine over your home countries wine!!

I hope my blog will help wine lovers have an enjoyable wine experience while in SA.

Please note: I am not a wine connoisseur. The comments I write about the wine is mostly for my own benefit of having them on record.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Newstead Winery

I have now visited this winery twice in two months and highly recommend stopping here if you are on the Garden Route. Newstead winery is just outside of Plettenberg Bay, very close to Bramon Wine Estate. There are quite a few wineries and attractions out this way making for an enjoyable day out. Plett is not far from Knysna, so if you are staying in Knysna, it is an easy 30 minute drive, with beautiful scenery and plenty of farm stalls and attractions to enjoy on route. Here is a nice map you can use for the Plettenberg/Crags area. http://www.cruisethecrags.co.za/map/index.html

I love how as you drive to the parking area of this place, you drive through the vineyards. It gives you a sense of where you are and allows you to absorb the location of where the wine is coming from. You are right in the heart of it when you arrive.

Once you get to the building, you walk in to the reception and shortly after you get to the tasting room. They have a beautiful porch to conduct the tastings. From the porch you can see the vineyards and enjoy a wine tasting and some food. They have tables and chairs on the grass where you can spend all afternoon catching up with friends.

The owners are very hands on, so you will likely meet them if you visit the winery. They have a small team of staff to run the tasting room and all work efficiently making sure the guests are seen to and receive the attention they need.

The first time I visited this winery was when my brother and his family visited me here in SA in December 2014 and we spent four days in Knysna. We did a day trip to Plett which included Jukani Wildlife Sanctuary, lunch at Thyme and Again, visiting The Potter and a wine tasting at Newstead. It was a really nice day out.

The lady who served us was very informative, she could answer any question we had and was really polite and friendly. We loved the wine here, we tasted the Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. We purchased a bottle of each wine for our cellar. Their prices are very reasonable for the quality of wine you are getting. It won't take long for their wines to be in everyone's fridge and cellar. Although, having said that, there won't be enough to go around as they only make around 30,000 bottles a year, so you will have to get in quick.

The good news is, you don't have to wait for this wine to hit our shelves, nor do you need to visit the winery to buy the wine. You can contact them directly and have the wine delivered to your door. http://www.newsteadwines.com/shop.html

I was super lucky on my first trip to be able to buy a bottle of their MCC. There were only two left in the fridge and I was allowed to buy one. It was only R120 so I didn't mind not tasting it before buying it. It was the best R120 I have spent!! I tasted this at home a few days later and was so impressed!! I have been telling everyone how awesome that MCC was. It had the texture of mousse, hints of strawberry flavour and had beautiful fine bubbles and plenty of them. I rate this wine up there with the Cape Winemakers Guild  Graham Beck MCC!! It is a stunner. Sadly they are sold out so I was unable to buy more on my second visit, but I have now put my name down on the waiting list for the next vintage, and I believe I am not the only one, so be sure to get in quick when the next vintage comes out!!

On my second visit I got to meet the owners Sue and Doug Lund, and they were so welcoming and hospitable. We did a tasting of the Sauvignon Blanc 2014 and Chardonnay 2013 (I think).We had some lovely food for lunch which included a tasty puff pastry, cheese board and bread. Perfect for the setting. We sat on the porch, overlooking the vineyards, sipping wine and eating this beautiful food.

Sue and Doug have created an ideal setting here at Newstead which makes it very hard to drive past without stopping. I guarantee after visiting this place once, you will always visit when out this way.

I didn't take notes on the wine, as on both occasions I just wanted to enjoy the company and atmosphere. However, other than the much raved about MCC above, I can also highly recommend the Sauvignon Blanc 2014 which sells for R75 a bottle. This Sauvignon Blanc will give a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc a run for it's money. It has the most beautiful tropical fruit flavoured aromas I have smelt on a SA Sauvignon Blanc, it is beautifully balanced with just the right amount of acidity and has just as much tropical fruit flavours on the palate as it does on the nose. This is a must buy!

I will be using this wine in my next blind Sauvigon Blanc tasting and putting it up against a NZ Sauvignon Blanc as well as 8 other South African Sauvignon Blancs to see how it compares. Stay tuned for the date of this tasting in Cape Town and the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town. It will likely be end of March or early April.

Check them out on Facebook on Newstead Lund Family Vineyards

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