Elgin Wines: It Doesn’t Get any Cooler Than This

Posted by The Cape Country Meander on Tuesday, December 24, 2013 with No comments
The wine term “cool climate” refers, unsurprisingly, to the temperature in which grapes are grown. Those grown in warmer regions ripen quickly and generally bring about bold wines that have a low acidity and a high alcohol content. Grapes grown in cooler regions such as the Elgin Valley, Grabouw in the Western Cape ripen slowly to produce elegant wines with more flavour complexity and depth. Cool climate wines also have a high acidity and minerality and a generally lower alcohol content.

Location, location, location

Just 70 km from Cape Town, Elgin is crammed with old school country charm and jaw dropping scenery. Perfectly positioned for cool climate viticulture, vineyards sit between mountains and sea at an altitude of 300 metres or more above sea level. The valley benefits from cold rainy winters and cool summer sea breezes, ideal for cool climate varietals. Undulating hills provide diverse opportunities for vineyard site selection and the varied, fertile terroir contributes significantly to the unique quality of the grapes. While aromatic Sauvignon Blancs and Pinot Noirs are most associated with the area many winemakers have successfully experimented with Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot and other varietals. Wines in this part of the world are becoming increasingly popular, so much so that the valley now has its own Elegantly Elgin Wine Route.

Why Elgin wines are particularly food-friendly

Few would disagree that food is better with wine, particularly cool climate wines. That’s because the natural acidity and minerality of cool climate wines help to bring out the flavour in the food you’re eating. The valley offers an array of eateries from the oldest farm stall in the Western Cape, to delis, bistro-style artisan food and fine dining. Regular Elgin open wine weekends provide the ideal platform to explore what the valley has to offer from a food and wine perspective. However, quality cool climate wine and cuisine made from fresh, local produce are only a part, albeit an excellent starting point, of what makes the Elgin Valley so extraordinary.