Entering the town of Doringbaai as the sun sets is a sight to behold – the quaint seaside town seems sleepier than usual, it must be the cold chill in the air sweeping off the ocean. The last orange rays of sunshine burn through a thick mist settling over the small, neat houses.
Doringbaai is every holidaymaker’s dream of a seaside hideout; the populace is small and close knit, and the town’s hidden gem, Fryer’s Cove Wineries, lies nestled against the backdrop of the rough waves.
The wine from Fryer’s Cove encapsulates the unique taste of the West Coast – it tastes of kelp, sunshine and relaxation. We start our night off with the Bamboes Bay Sauvignon Blanc, and I am immediately taken aback by the uncommon saltiness. This is not surpirising, as the Winery’s vineyards lay only 800 metres away from the cool West Coast ocean. The Sauvignon Blanc is beautifully paired with a traditional seafood potjiekos on our first evening in the misty town, and was elevated by the brisk sea air.
Fryer’s Cove wines are served at the Jetty Restuarant. This kitchen does not form part of Fryer’s Cove, but the two work together in harmony – Fryer’s Cove produces the wine, while the Jetty Restaurant produces delicious West Coast feasts. The kitchen is run by members of the community, and has a positive impact on the tiny community by creating job opportunities.
As you may have guessed, the Jetty Restuarant features a jetty with splendid ocean views. Ruins on the left side of this jetty also make for an interesting sight as seagulls and other seabirds cluster on the lines of forgotten buildings to sun themselves in the bright morning light.
A wine tasting at Fryer’s Cove is something everyone who pays the winery a visit must experience. Winemaker Derick explains that the proximity of the grape vines to the ocean allows salt particles from the air to settle on the grapes, giving the wines that Fryer’s Cove distinct taste.
Some are kelpier than others, but a standout wine is the 2015 Bamboes Bay Pinot Nior. This wine is complex, but it makes for an easy and satisfying drinking experience – the combination of strawberry and wild raspberry on the nose and forest floor finish is why its a firm favourite.
For those who would like to experience the true taste of the West Coast, I suggest the 2017 Doringbay Sauvignon Blanc. This wine pairs perfectly with crayfish – Doringbaai’s quintessential delicacy.
The Jetty Restaurant often hosts live shows on a Saturday, where residents from both Doringbaai and nearby Strandfontein flock for an afternoon of merriment and fine wine. The atmosphere becomes electric as more patrons fill seats, and wine flows from bottles and glasses.
The town of Doringbaai is a well-kept West Coast secret – made for the joy of exploration, unique wine blends and tall tales from small towners – and it’s definitely worth it’s wine in salt.