Road Tripping Route 62

– ONE OF THE LESSER KNOWN WINE ROUTES

We really are blessed to live in such a beautiful part of the world!

This weekend was a road trip up through the Garden Route to celebrate milestone birthdays in Plett and the trip home was via the Route 62 meander.  We saw the most spectacular scenery, drove crazy mountain passes and moved swiftly from dry arid lanscapes to rows upon rows of fruit trees and further onto sea views.

The plan was to stop at some wine farms on the way home on Sunday, but Cango Caves took a little too much time, amongst a few other Farm Stall stops and viewpoint (photo op) stops!



In Ladismith however, we managed to find ourselves a bottle of BOPLAAS TINTA CHOCOLATE which is made from the Portuguese cultivar – Tinta Barocca, at one of the small wine shops in the tiny town.  The wine won a top ten award in the CAPPA Cape Port & Wine Challenge in 2013, so we thought it was a good choice.  I’ll do another wine with dinner post when we decide to open the bottle!  I’m expecting a very fruity, juicy wine as the warmer Mediterranean red wine varietals often are.

The Boplaas farm is situated in Calitzdorp which is an area well known for its PORT production and host to the Port & Wine Festival usually held in June.  Along with Ladismith and the surrounding towns, this area also forms part of the R62 Brandy Route.

The R62 Route ventures out of the lucious farmlands of fruit orchards and vineyards and into the drier, fynbos covered Klein Karoo.  Strangely, this dry soil and hot climate of the region is exactly what the Port grape varietals thrive on.  The well-drained soils of the region, where vines struggle to ripen, are perfect for port-wine production.  Calitzdorp is often referred to as the Duoro Valley (the home of Port in Portugal) of South Africa.  We are not massive fans of Port which is why we opted for one of the red Portuguese varietals which also grows well in the dry weather. 
 
Where heavy rains cause grape berries to swell up and dilute the flavours, the dry climate here  obviously results in more concentrated flavours and sugars in the grapes.  This of course is the reason why the fortified wines and brandies from this area are so good, not too mention the effect of the terrior and soil in the region.  The soil in the region has limestone (calcium carbonate which forms the Stalacmites & Stalactites in the Cango Caves), Scali (Afrikaans for Shale, which is the Carbon substance and gas they are trying to extract in the ‘Fracking’ activities) and a number of other sedimentary rocks mixed of mud and clay minerals – all of these have an effect, if only a slight one, on the flavours of the wines and ports produced.

What have been your experiences on the R62 Route and their wines, ports and brandies?

Road trips are always an awesome way to see your country!
A few other stops along the way….

Friday afternoon we headed for Swellendam which took us through Robertson (the upcoming Wine on the River Festival, 18-20 October well advertised), then onto Ashton and through the beautiful Farmlands.  The quaint Montagu on the way home for padstals and blossoms, and a quick stop at a Roberston Padstal for homemade pies and a loaf of farm bread!

We popped into Wildebraam Berry Farm and liqueur tasting (just outside Swellendam) on Saturday, it was a little early for liqueurs, but the jams and deli items are all available for tasting.  There are some delicious products at this farm nestled at the foot of the Langeberg mountains. 
Well worth a stop if you are in the area.  We left with a few items including the Pickled Habeneros for my uncle which are apparently 15 out 0f 10 for hotness and have been known to make a grown man cry – eish!

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