Paying tribute to the quaint West Coast fishing village where the wine is made!
Some 3½ hours north of Cape Town; along an unspoiled wind-swept stretch of the West Coast, lies Doringbaai, home to a small but hardy fishing community, on a jetty poised above the waves, you will discover a tiny winery and tasting room housed in an old fish factory. This is the address of Fryer’s Cove Wines, forged of the earth and tempered by the sea, and breathing new life back into a village suffering from a declining fishing industry.
Well known for their highly-acclaimed Bamboes Bay Sauvignon Blanc and Bamboes Bay Pinot Noir, Fryer’s Cove have released a new wine for summer enjoyment, the Doringbay Sauvignon Blanc that pays tribute to this quaint West Coast fishing village. And, in true #WineJoziStyle, we say drink it with enjoyment and abandon!
Fryer’s Cove’s new wine is distinctively packaged, reflecting its unique home on the water’s edge in the Doringbaai fishing village – with a bold red capsule and a stand-out blue label mirroring the expansive sea and sky, a sketch of the old jetty, and a sardine can opener illustrating the slogan “Unlock the Taste”.
Grapes from Bamboes Bay, Elands Bay and the Lutzville Valley were picked in the cool of the West Coast morning and vinified in the Fryer’s Cove winery in the Doringbaai harbour.
The wine is refreshingly dry, crisp and alive without being acidic. The nose abounds with distinct notes of greengage, tinned peas and minerality complemented by an enticing ‘bon-bon’ softness. The palate is rich and full with delicious depth and elegant flavours of grapefruit, passion fruit and guava. This wine complem ents a variety of dishes, but very little will surpass sharing a perfectly chilled bottle and a platter of calamari on the Fryer’s Cove jetty, enchanted by the sound of the waves and the cries of the gulls while gazing out into the blue beyond.
Retail price: ±R75/R80 nationally at leading liquor retailers
THE FRYER’S COVE STORY
Fryer’s Cove wine was conceived, as are so many good ideas, around a braai. In 1985, Wynand Hamman, Elsenburg College graduate, was holidaying with his soon-to-be brother-in-law, Jan Ponk van Zyl in Standfontein, just north of Bamboes Bay. Together they dreamed of planting a vineyard so close to the sea that the vines would synthesise salt, giving new meaning to the wine term minerality. 14 years later, in 1999 the dream came true when the first 3-hectare vineyard was planted at Bamboes Bay, a mere 650m from the icy ocean.
From the maiden 2002 until the 2010 vintage, Wynand Hamman made Fryer’s Cove wine in Stellenbosch where he worked at the time. But transporting grapes 350km in the summer heat was not conducive to making crafted wines. So a winery close to the vineyards was the next step. Doringbaai, a fishing village 6km south of the vineyards was chosen for its excellent locality. A derelict old fish factory right at the seaside in the bay proved ideal. Proximity to the Atlantic provided a unique energy-saving cooling system in the winery, using fresh water in a closed pipe system that’s cooled by the icy seawater beneath the pier. The Doringbaai ‘waterfront’, the winery, tasting room and alfresco restaurant, have created employment and brought much-needed commercial activity back to a village which had suffered from a declining fishing industry.
FRYER’S COVE’S OTHER WINES
Fryer’s Cove Bamboes Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2014
The star of Fryer’s Cove Vineyards is the Bamboes Bay Sauvignon Blanc (The 2011 vintage receiving 5 Stars in Platter’s South African Wines 2013). Only grapes from their own Bamboes Bay vineyard are used to make this wine. A small portion of this wine is fermented in French oak barrels and stays on the lees for three months. Elegant and round with flavours of tinned green peas, litchi, green figs, kelp and minerality, this wine has a perfect balance between fruit and acidity, good volume in the mouth and a long after-taste.
Retail price: Available nationally at specialist wine stores at ±R120/R130
Fryer’s Cove Bamboes Bay Pinot Noir 2013
Only grapes from their own Bamboes Bay vineyard are used to make this wine. The wine was matured for 11 months in new, 2nd and 3rd fill French oak barrels. Medium to full bodied with flavours of plums and herbs, the wine has a perfect balance between fruit and tannin with a good minerality on the aftertaste.
Retail price: Available nationally at specialist wine stores at ±R180/R190
THE NAME FRYER’S COVE
The name Fryer’s Cove originates from the real Fryer’s Cove at Strandfontein which was named after the first commercial farmer in the area, British settler Richard Fryer, who entrenched a tradition of community investment in the area. He opened the first school in Strandfontein, and in his honour, Fryer’s Cove remains involved in school sponsorships and job creation efforts in the area.
A VISIT TO FRYER’S COVE
Perched literally on the edge of the harbour, the Fryer’s Cove winery, tasting room and restaurant provide the perfect setting to appreciate the distinct maritime influence on Fryer’s Cove wines so aptly expressed in SA Country Life: “When you taste Fryer’s Cove wines, it’s a little like sipping the sea – fresh and clean with a just a hint of saltiness.”
Fryer’s Cove Bamboes Bay Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir and Doringbay Sauvignon Blanc are all available for tasting and purchase at the cellar door, as well as The Jetty Sauvignon Blanc which is only sold on site for R50 a bottle. New at Fryer’s Cove is a pale ale craft beer called Kastaiing (meaning sea urchin) produced by Jan Ponk van Zyl. It is a tiny production and is only available at the tasting room at R20 a bottle. Online purchases at www.fryerscove.co.za are delivered free of charge within South Africa
Right next door, on the water’s edge, is The Jetty Restaurant which has had some rave reviews on TripAdvisor: “I don’t believe there can be too many other places like it anywhere on the planet! It’s a winery where you can sample the local product with an accompanying restaurant situated on an old jetty which juts out over the waves!”, “Food was excellent and the view even more spectacular”.
The varied menu, offering excellent value for money, includes calamari, snoek, hake, pork belly, steaks, chicken, burgers, pastas, pizzas, wraps, salads, a selection of platters as well as desserts, cakes and scones. Ideal for family visits, the children can play amongst the rocks and in a maritime sandpit in an old boat while their parents relax on the jetty.
With spring on our doorstep, now is the perfect time to head up the West Coast for the annual flower extravaganza and pop into this very special winery on the edge of the ocean, to taste their unique wines and soak up the inimitable West Coast hospitality.
The Fryer’s Cove Tasting Room is open to the public Monday to Friday from 08h00 to 17h00 and Saturdays from 10h00 to 17h00. The Jetty Restaurant is open Monday to Saturday: From 10h00 to 16h00 in summer and 11h00 to 15h00 in winter.