The Smorthwaite family has been making wine at Abingdon since the early 2000s. Ian and Jane bought the farm in 2000, planted its first vines four years later and opened the tasting room in 2009. Their daughter Laurie joined them later.
Situated at 1 140m above sea level, the estate has 4ha under vine. This area has more in common with regions like the Loire and Rhone in France than the Cape but the area is unique. The cultivars planted are Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Viognier and 3 reds, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Nebbiolo. The soils offer good drainage and the wines reflect the cool slopes upon which the cultivars are planted and they have an Old World style. The uniqueness of this terroir can be tasted in the glass – crisp, fresh, elegant.
Abingdon generally doesn’t enter its wine for competitions. However, just three South African Viognier wines were rated by the UK’s Decanter magazine in 2013 and Abingdon was one of two to receive a bronze medal. Their reds are making headlines!
Visitors to Abingdon can enjoy tastings of their wines for R15 to R25 as well as excellent tapas-style meals prepared by Jane. They have been listed as one of the 100 best restaurants in the country. Platters with charcuterie, local cheeses, and preserve with home made artisan bread are there for light eaters and a small selection of superb shared meals such as oxtail pulled off the bone with dipping bread. It is R130 to R160 per person and the meal is served as a single presentation in the centre of the table for everyone to share. Good deserts end the meal and are an additional R50. You can take a peep at their latest menu by seeing it on their home page. The food is there to complement the wine, as the wine is what it is all about. There is a firepit to sociably sit around on Friday afternoons for nibbles on boards and sundowners.
There is a cosy tasting room with bric- a- brac and fires blazing or on warm days, sitting out under the trees with the vines around is heaven. It feels like Franschoek but with the KZN friendly, laid back vibe and a smaller bill at the end!
You can taste everything as long as its not sold out. Their wines sell out every year as they only produce small quantities. Wine releases are staggered except for the reds, as a way of avoiding disappointment at the tasting room. They also serve guest wines to supplement their own.
Click on image to see more