Our final stop in the Skurfkop mountains was at Henk Laing, producer to several well known wines in South Africa, including, but not limited to, the Cape of Good Hope Laing Semillon, produced by Anthonij Rupert wines.
It is remarkable how the soil changes several times within a kilometer in South Africa. From oom Basie to Joshua we saw a significant change in soil texture and colour. And now, a couple of kilometers away, after bundu bashing through major rocky sections in the mountain, breaking the sandy stretches, we saw another change. The soils are red, sandy-loam, seemingly marginal, but looking around you this couldn’t be further away from the truth. We where 550 meters above sea level, surrounded by rugged rocky mountains, plains filled with apricots, wheat fields and rooibos tea. Large oak trees are still standing tall, used to feed the pigs on the farm due to the isolation of this magical place, a reminder of the self-sustainable culture of ages gone. It is quiet, quite humid, maybe a little bit of rain pushing in soon to relieve the crops from the dry season.
We take a drive with oom Henk on the back of his old Land Cruiser. We wind through younger vineyards – Pinotage. We pass apricot orchards and swing past a patch of land planted with rooibos tea. We come back past the Pinotage towards a long and narrow vineyard block. I can see it. It is huge. It is the Dragons we came looking for. They are real.
This is the Semillon, with a piece of Muscat d’Alexandrie next to it. It is beautiful, majestic and unreal. Bush vines, some almost 1.9 meters tall, standing proudly. I have never seen vineyards like this in South Africa, with our extreme climate, low rainfall, constant wind and harsh summers, this truly is remarkable. Are there more like this that we could find?
As time was pushing us we had to go. We had a quick lunch with Deborah, Henk and his lovely wife and then we headed off. I wanted to show André the Barbarossa, Chenin blanc, Palomino and Muscat d’Alexandrie that Abé Beukes and myself found back in 2010 on the West Coast, close to Elands Bay, a mere 5 kilometers from the cool Atlantic ocean.