Although Jakkalsvlei is only 54 km from Mossel Bay, it feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere. The road we drove along feels almost deserted as you make your way to Herbertsdale, the closest town. It’s dry and a bit desolate, though we especially enjoyed a quick glimpse of some giraffe grazing along the Gondwana Game Reserve fence line. But back to being in the middle of nowhere……very brave people decided to start a vineyard here. Who would have thought it? And now the wine maker is 3rd generation and going strong.
What they’ve done is incredible. They have a really modern, spacious and busy tasting room. And they offer 10 very different and extremely creative pairings. Yes they have the normal ones – cheese, dry meat, (includes bokkoms!) charcuterie, chocolate. We love those but everyone does them. How about ice cream, fudge, prawns? How’s that for different? I ended up trying the candy floss and wine. And Frans went for the snails and wine. And we loved them both. The entire experience is brilliantly thought through. Each pairing comes with a little placemat that explains the wine, its characteristics, the awards it’s won, the prominent flavour profile – everything you need to know. And whoever designed the pairings did a fabulous job because we really enjoyed both. While the wine might not have been immediately to my taste by itself (think a Rosé made from a combo of Pinotage and Red Muscadel (!) that has a natural sparkle), they all worked exceptionally well with the pairing. One of our favourite’s was the mushroom snail with the White Muscadel – brilliant. And the coffee candy floss with the Pinotage came a close second.
They also have their premium range of wines (Lord Jackal) and two beers, a lager and an ale (Jackal & Wolf), available for purchase. As well as some local goodies to buy – coffee, beauty products (made on a local honeybush farm), jams and spices. A really lovely selection.
The pairings takes place in the restaurant that is heaving in summer apparently – you can’t get in without a reservation. And their menu is so clever. Gourmet burgers (as well as a slider selection – beef, chicken and warthog), pizzas and platters as well as regularly changing blackboard specials. This menu also shows off some interesting options – such as a ‘Muscoplitan cocktail’ made with their muscadel – of course we had to try that! And loads of people were enjoying their enormous peanut butter milkshakes.
They also have an annual ‘Pick your own Hanepoot’ festival as well as a Sundown festival. They’re working it!
I’m sure true wine buffs would prefer a straight tasting, but for us this was a whole lot of fun, something different and completely unexpected. Well done Jakkalsvlei and the entire team. What a winner!