Take the R27 out of town and head up the West Coast and one gets the feeling of leaving city life behind, especially when the earth is bursting into vibrant colour after winter rains.
One could be driving through a Van Gogh landscape ablaze with brilliant, acid-yellow fields of canola and millions of wild flowers carpeting the land.
A must-visit in this part of the world is Groote Post. The historic farm dates back to the early 1700s, and the Manor House, home of the well-known restaurant called Hilda’s Kitchen, named after famed cook Hildagonda Duckitt, is marked 1702 on the gable. The farm is situated at the end of a fairly good 10km dirt road that leads off the R27 opposite Grotto Bay.
As you drive up to the Manor House, guinea fowl and geese watch you with wary interest. In the meadow at the farm, horses graze and a family of ducks waddle by, much to the delight of any children.
The tasting room, situated as it is in one of the old buildings opposite the Manor House, is small but cool on a blazing hot day. The ancient slave bell, which is depicted on the Groote Post labels, dominates the huge rock on the side of the pond that lies in front of you.
The wines of Groote Post (winemaker Lukas Wentzel) are obviously heavily influenced by the proximity of the vineyards to the cooling winds that come in off the nearby Atlantic, which is visible from the top of the Darling Hills in which the vineyards lie. At this time 100 hectares are under vines, all south facing at an altitude of between 200 and 450 metres above the icy Atlantic. Here the sun and wind play vital roles in yielding terroir-specific wines that have won many accolades and are a pleasure to drink.
The knowledgeable, and country style friendly staff will take you through the range, which includes a fabulous award-winning Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, two superb Chardonnays, both wooded and unwooded, a creditable MCC bubbly and a Pinot Noir. The undoubted stars of the show, however, are the famous red and white Old Man’s Blend, the ’old man’ in question patriarch, Peter Pentz.
Words: Greg Landman
Pictures: Greg Landman and supplied