Team Tanagra under the farm's gigantic Wild Fig Over the hills and faraway - no one wants to leave this retreat...
It is tempting to wonder why a linguistics professor and successful businessman from Germany chose to give up life in the Old World and take on an historic, dilapidated farm in the McGregor valley, but a large number of Tanagra fans is very pleased that they did.
Now, after a decade, the farm is looking wonderful, the distillery and winery are operating smoothly, the veld is pristine, the vineyards flourish and and the farm cottages provide simple, stylish, accommodation for visitors to unwind, explore, chill in delightful surroundings.
Recently WWF, the World Wide Fund for Nature, published an attractive coffee-table book, packed with information and stunning photographs, to mark 10 years of BWI, the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative whose members have set aside hundreds of hectares of their wine farms for conservation. The goal, to preserve the flora and fauna of Cape regions, ranging from fynbos to renosterbos to succulent Karoo, has been hugely successful.
Tanagra is featured in a chapter on walking trails, and the farm’s three trails are well described: the Bluegum with its resident nest of a pair of African fish eagles, the Reed Route and the Old Dam and Vrolijkheid trail which includes an area where 40 species of indigenous plants are identified with signage.
Trails of Tanagra is also the name given to the farm’s small range of notable single vineyard wines, a trio carefully crafted by talented winemaker Lourens van der Westhuizen, who is well-known for making winning wines for farms all over the Little Karoo and Robertson regions.
The cabernet franc is one of the best I have sampled in years: the 2014 vintage costs R105 and is worth every cent, while the grapes are also the source for an outstanding and popular blanc de noir, which is always in short supply (R60). For R90 you get either the cabernet sauvignon or shiraz, both 2013 vintages, and both impressive wines to pair with good red meat.
The range of grappas and eaux de vie need a whole article on themselves – suffice to say that these spiritous aperitifs and digestifs are impressing both local and European fans: I recommend anyone visiting the farm to make sure to taste the lemon and quince grappas, both unique and impressive.
While visitors from Europe fill the cottages on the farm at peak season, it’s worthwhile for South Africans to contact Robert and Anette Rosenbach to see what is available: First prize is Faraway Cottage, perched on a rise among fynbos, completely off the grid, yet with every mod con (except a microwave oven!) But all of them are comfortable, beautifully maintained, and just the venue for a de-stressing weekend. And the Rosenbachs are ideal hosts, offering five-star hospitality that combines efficiency with friendliness while respecting visitors’ need for privacy.
See www.tanagra-wines.co.za for more info.