Thursday, January 17, 2019

The wines of Fryer's Cove in Doringbaai

Fryer's Cove has its wine tasting venue and wine cellar in a refurbished and repurposed crayfish factory in Doringbaai. They are famous for having the vineyard closest to the sea and you pass it as you come into Doringbaai. They are the only wine farm in what is the smallest wine ward in South Africa - Bamboes Bay. And it is as they say "500 meters from where the cold ocean throws its breakers against a rocky shore". We visited them while we were on holiday at Lambert's Bay on the West Coast
The boat in front is a diamond digger. They dredge just off shore and find alluvial diamonds washed down the Orange River
Lovely views across the bay and an azure blue sea
It was quite hard to find the entrance but we got there, finally
and were warmly welcomed by Francois Jansen van Rensburg, the Marketing Manager,
with whom we had made an appointment
We chose to sit on the shaded terrace
Inside the tasting room
They also sell Namaqua olive oil
The wines we tasted
One of their wine awards, FNB Sauvignon blanc Top 10 2018. To read the extraordinary story of the wines and the vineyard, have a look at their website They have no suitable ground water because it is saline, so they have an overland pipeline from Vredendal – 29.5 km away. This was the only solution and they had to cross three adjacent farms to get there. They grow Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir on 6.5 hectares. Because of the cool local climate caused by the sea mists, this is possible
Francois brought us the cellar's wines to taste
A sign we are always happy to see
We began with 2018 The Jetty Sauvignon Blanc, only available at the Cellar. R75. Shy, with hints of kelp on the nose, it is a warm country wine, full & very satisfying. Green peppers, guava, orange, loquat, with long flavours and salt on the end
This diamond boat has its permitted dredging area just in front of the winery. It is very profitable. They find diamonds worth several hundreds of thousands on a weekly and often daily basis
And suddenly we were enveloped in thick, creeping sea mist coming in over the kelp beds
This happens often and keeps the vineyard cool
Boys on the jetty, getting to know the machinery
Next was the 2016 Bamboes Bay Sauvignon Blanc, R230. Distinct Sauvignon pyrazines with figs, kelp and sea air on the nose. There is lime in the soil which makes this wine crisp, juicy and full, nicely mature with flavours of English gooseberry and plums.
Ta Dah! Newly released, the new packaging on the 2017 Bamboes Bay Sauvignon Blanc which is kept on the lees. And they vinify some of the wine in two 500 litre concrete eggs. Herbal, kelp and sea on the nose, creaminess on the full rounded and warm palate (14% alcohol) with flavours of figs, salt, pears, gooseberry and lime. Will be so good with seafood. R260
Then the 2016 Hollebaksstrandfontein Blanc Fumé wooded Sauvignon Blanc. R300 Sea air, kelp, crayfish & smoke on the nose
This sparkles on the palate with vivacity, lovely fruit in layers, salty, greengage, rich full with nice gentle wood at the end
Flotsam from the sea decorating the tasting room and restaurant
Another couple had come for a tasting with Francois
Then the very acceptable 2018 Doringbaai Rosé, made from free run Shiraz juice. R95. Salty, lees, soft and juicy fruit - red plums and spice, and dry, so a good food wine
The Friars Cove 2015 Pinot Noir has wood hints, balsam, cherry, sea air and forest on the nose. Chalky tannins, elegance, nice wood, cherries and some cassis, warmth and smoke on the end
The Doring Bay Shiraz kelp and sea air. Red cherries and berries on the nose; 14% alcohol. Good fruit, pepper, plums and cherries. Long and warm
The range of wines
The two concrete eggs in the cellar, which they are using to make wine
Looking at fermentation tanks in the cellar
The barrel cellar
For lunch, Lynne chose the ribs
while John opted for "Surf 'n Turf", steak and calamari
On the way out you go through the abalone farm, where they nurture the baby abalone
Seawater is circulated in the tanks
The lighthouse in the mist
And, on the road out of Doringbaai, is the Fryer's Cove vineyard
Just one building and lots of vines
On the special terroir of red soil and limestone with sea shells
And the local fynbos which keeps hold of the soil
Harvest time will be in late January or February
You can see Doringbaai and the sea in the distance. And some new vine plantings
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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2019

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