Your first surprise will be that it is renowned for its pinot noir. In this hot region?
Yes indeed. The farm sits on a hill 500m above sea level, the highest elevation in the Robertson Valley, and the ocean breezes appeal to the cool climate wines.
Jacie Oosthuizen also plants chardonnay on this family farm with its wonderful view, and the decision to pursue winemaking 12 years ago has reaped rewards: many bottles are gaily adorned with shiny awards stickers. The 100% Pinot Noir Brut Rosé non-vintage is exquisite; it was love at first taste.
There were some other delicious wines, but it was a whirlwind trip along the newly launched McGregor Wine Meander.
The Meander is lucky to have wine expert and writer Myrna Robins living in McGregor, and she has poured her love into this project: “a slow and winding route through vine-clad hills, past orchards, farmsteads and between stretches of veld where nature rules”.
A handful of farms and wineries along a short distance deliver an astonishing variety of products.
Says Robins: “I think it’s great that such diversity can be found in one valley from five wineries/cellars/farms and, secondly, that quality ranges from good to exceptional, and prices range from bargains to middle-of-the-road.”
The website has all the details about all the participants, as well as a map of the route - which can be driven, cycled, or even hiked.
“It’s a meander that adds in numerous ways to the magic of McGregor,” says Robins, who accompanied us.
From Lord’s we descended once more into the village to pop in at Bemind Wyne - a real garagiste winery with the tiniest tasting room - and the delightful Grape De-Vine Wine Bar & Boutique, where we picked up a bottle of Solara organic sauvignon blanc to be enjoyed later. At both, there are pretty places to sit outside and sip your wine.
Next stop was McGregor Wines, where you can find exceptionally well-priced quality wines (around R50).
Our last stop was Tanagra Winery and Distillery. Absolutely brilliant.
Tanagra practises sustainable and eco-friendly viticulture, and is a member of BWI, the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative whose members set aside portions of their wine farms for conservation.
The Cabernet Franc Blanc de Noir is gorgeous, as is the new single vineyard Colombard. Then there are the grappas and fruit liqueurs
Technically not part of the Meander is Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary. They’re also easy on the pocket, and you’ll be supporting a good cause if you stop in for a few bottles.
* For more information, go to https://mcgregorwinemeander.co.za