Do extreme loctions make for extremely good wines? I spent Tuesday and Wednesday exploring Elim, the windswept ward in the Cape Agulhas district that boasts South Africa’s southern most vineyards. Its white wines have pretty much blown me away in the last few years while its reds show immense promise (in particular Strandveld will be launching the ultra-premium Anders Sparrman Pinot Noir 2009 mid-year that I think will cause a stir). Though plantings are still limited, it’s attracting some of SA’s most progressive winemakers like Flagstone’s Bruce Jack and Cederberg’s David Nieuwoudt.
Dinner on Tuesday night with Francis Pratt of The Berrio (front) and Conrad Vlok of Strandveld and First Sighting (back) as well as Johan de Kock of Zoetendal and Dirk Human of Black Oystercatcher. To start: Overberg lamb with the elegant, pure-fruited Strandveld Anders Sparrman Pinot Noir. Main course: braaied kabeljou with the 2007, 2008 and 2009 vintages of Adamastor, Vlok’s outstanding blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.