Cape Agulhas Light House

 

It shouldn’t seem so strange that brilliant wines are being made so far south in our country. While vines were planted more than 100 years ago in this area, wine making was not encouraged, possibly because of religious sensibilities, possibly just because of a lack of interest. The vineyards of Australia and New Zealand lie far further south than those around Agulhas and Elim, and it has taken a group of imaginative and bold, as well as impassioned, wine makers to give the faraway “old school” of Stellenbosch and Paarl something to sit up and take notice of.The name Agulhas means “needles” in Portuguese, possibly deriving from the fact that the compass needle at Cape Agulhas makes no distinction between magnetic and true North. The historic lighthouse dominates Agulhas and is well worth visiting. There are many little fish restaurants in the area, all serving the fresh catch of the day at excellent prices.

Wide open spaces

There is no doubt that the terrain is rough in the area around Elim, from where this ward stretches to Agulhas in the far south. The confluence of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans (which regrettably do not meet at Cape Point) causes strong south westerly and south easterly cooling winds to blow across the region, forcing the vines to struggle to survive. Any wine maker will tell you that this is a most desirable factor in producing grapes of exceptional wine making quality. The wines of this area all have an “explosive” quality, meaning a profusion of unusual and arresting flavours and aromas which give them a quality all their own.

 

Two brilliant Sauvignon Blancs come from here, both from Lands End. The grapes for the one called Cape Agulhas come from the area known as Agulhas Wine Triangle, closest to the coast . The wine has a distinctive seashell flintiness, with radiant tropical fruit bursting through onto the palate—superb and very different from its Stellenbosch cousins. The one called Cape South Coast has grapes sourced along the South Coast of the Cape. This one has a zing all its own, controlled acids supporting superb tropical fruit with pineapple notes  and a hint of paw paw—fabulous with sushi of course.  They are also available in smart two litre boxes perfect for the fridge on a hot Cape day. Look for them—you will love them—very different.