COMPARISONS abound in the wine world, helping consumers to understand the new by comparing it to the known. Something is always "the new black" or "the new Chardonnay" or, in the case of Plettenberg Bay, "the new New Zealand".
Settling in The Crags outside Plett seven years ago, Doug and Sue Lund were inspired by a visit to cool, misty Hobbit country to grow and produce wine in SA's youngest wine-producing region.
The Lund Family Vineyards joins some 20 wine-growers in the area. About six of those are producing wine and offering tastings, meals and other wine country activities, making for an interesting boutique wine route.
Producers in this area are turning out some really good cool climate whites, pinks and crisp dry bubbly Methode Cap Classique – so much so that plans are afoot for a Plett bubbly route.
"Cool climate" is white wine's current flavour of the month, grown in areas with year-round mild climates and ocean breezes, like New Zealand and, locally, Elgin, Walker Bay and now Plett.
In the sauvignon blancs, for example, rather than heady tropical fruit, expect crisp green fruit and flowers, clean tastes, sometimes flintiness and, if you let your imagination run wild, even a hint of sea breeze.
Both Sue and champion polo player Doug come from long lines of farmers, and naming their farm and their wines Newstead signalled their new beginning in moving their young family from sugarcane farming in KwaZulu-Natal to wine-growing on the Garden Route.
The Lunds released their first vintages – a sauvignon blanc and a chardonnay – last year. The link between polo and bubbly being ever near, they plan to release their 2012 chardonnay MCC this year and the 2013 MCC, made from the traditional chardonnay-pinot noir blend, is likely to be released in 2014 and 2015.
The focus at Newstead is on family, living life to the full, and "small is beautiful", Sue says.
Quality over quantity is the watchword in the vineyards, the wine-making and in Sue's farm kitchen that serves lunch based on what's fresh from her garden.
The sauvignon blanc's flavourful, slightly floral nose is followed by crisp fruit, while the unwooded chardonnay is a fresh, easy-drinking wine, without the heaviness of a wooded chardonnay. Don't be misled by the light, easy-drinking description – that they are, but both also deliver full, complex mouthfuls of taste.
Think long summery lunches, salads, fish, light chicken dishes. With winter approaching, match the chardonnay to a creamy chicken casserole and roasted veggies, or the sauvignon blanc with a hearty vegetable soup. Pay the estate a visit to buy the wines, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org delivery to your door. Or order them at R65 on www.newsteadwines.com