Bramon Beside the (Plettenberg) Bay
Experience 4.0 Plettenberg Bay Wine 3.5

Bramon Beside the (Plettenberg) Bay

Monday 30 December 2019

Dr Peter Rating – Experience: 4/5
Dr Peter Rating –
Wines: 3.5/5

Sat in a Tasting Room beside a motorway was a new experience for me. So too was tasting wines from the Plettenberg Bay Wine of Origin. I have long wanted to visit the emerging wine estates in the Plettenberg Bay region, located towards the Eastern boundary of the Western Cape, but the more than 500 kilometres and 6 hours from Cape Town had until now made it difficult. Fortunately, a Xmas/New Year round-trip to Jeffrey’s Bay via Route 62 and the N2 gave me an opportunity to visit (as well as De Krans and Karusa earlier). There are now 10 estates in the Cape’s newest wine area – self-billed by some as ‘South Africa’s newest champagne region’ and with a vision for a ‘Sparkling Wine Route’. Of these, Bramon is the first and oldest.




Blink whilst speeding along the N2 in The Crags district of The Garden Route some 20 kilometres East of Plettenberg Bay and it would be easy to miss the small white-washed Tasting Building beside the road. It was an uncharacteristically damp and dreary December day too but good for the vines on the edge of veraison. Most of the neighbouring wine estates were closed for the festive season or open ‘by appointment only’ which made Bramon all the more attractive to visit.



Bramon was started in 2000 by pioneer Peter and Caroline Thorpe and named after son Bram and sister Maron. The 20th anniversary has just passed. The estate in is new hands but the name remains. The first wine made in this new cool region that is just 3 kilometres from the sea was a rare MCC made from Sauvignon Blanc – claimed to be one of just 4 made worldwide – under the craftsmanship of Peter Ferreira of Graham Beck fame. Sauvignon Blanc remains the majority grape grown on the 23 hectare property together with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The 250-ton cellar was built in 2010 with 2011 being the official first vintage in the new District. Since then, the Tasting Room has been upgraded. There’s picnics, a wedding venue, self-catering accommodation and a Restaurant too, some 500 metres further down the entrance road and overlooking the Tsitsikamma Mountains.



The small Tasting Room with seating outside at the rear away from the traffic noise was busy and intimate. The clientele was noticeably younger than in many a Cape Wineland winery. My host was Bella who, coincidentally, was trained by my ex-Cape Wine Academy colleague Susan Marais, now at nearby Newstead Lund. Five wines were available for tasting at a cost of R10 each. There were no spittoons (I had to ask for) but judging by the young clientele this hardly surprised. I began with the Brut MCC that since 2010 has been made by Bramon winemaker Anton Smal. This was the second Cap Classique Sauvignon Blanc I have tasted (the other being from Steenberg). Pale lemon and with fine rising bubbles in appearance, the citrus and apple aromas and flavours showed none of the characteristic Sauvignon Blanc green or tropical fruit profile. The yeasty nose surprised, aided by 15 months on the lees and reinforced by over 3 years of bottle age, whilst the appley nose hinted more at a Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs. The lemon flavours strengthened on the palate to be balanced by a firm acidity and slight minerality to make for a pleasant and unusual wine with modest alcohol content (12.0%).


The second and third wines I tasted were also Sauvignons Blanc, albeit not side by side to compare. The Crags Sauvignon Blanc, priced just R20 less than its Reserve sibling, was of similar colour to the MCC. The wine showed obvious New Zealand character with aromas of gooseberry, kiwi and guava with some herbaceous, fennel greenness. The palate was less intense than the nose with a bright acidity and a modest finish.



I just preferred the Reserve Sauvignon Blanc, made from grapes in a different vineyard closer to the ocean. Whilst less grassy and tropical fruity complex than the Crags SB, the wine showed better and more intense lemon, lime and herbaceous flavours, with a greater depth and acidity that balanced a higher alcohol (13.5% compared with 13.0%) for a more defined length.



Such is the popularity of Bramon wines that their Pinot Noir/Chardonnay Rosé was sold out. The Miss Lottie wine from neighbouring Lodestone estate was offered in its place. The wine was made from Pinot Noir which is most unusual for a South African Rosé or, indeed, elsewhere. Unusually too, the wine was far deeper in pale ruby colour than most due to 12 hours skin contact. This gave a bright intensity of raspberry, red currant and Pinot Noir red apple aromas on the nose. The palate did not quite match the same concentration and showed only medium depth, intensity and length. The wine needed greater crispness and oomph for my taste.



The last wine of the tasting was made also by a neighbouring estate, called That Wine, owned by relatives of the previous Bramon owner. The boutique and pioneering winery specialises in Pinot Noir for table wine with just 1.5 hectares of vines to make 1,000 bottles. The Demesne was a pale and watery ruby colour with an average intensity of spicy red fruits on the nose – redcurrant, red cherry and cranberry – together with more oaky cinnamon, clove and burnt caramel aromas. Notwithstanding the relatively high price (R270) I was prepared to buy as a Pinot Noir from an uncommon region, until I tasted the wine. Like the Lodestone Rosé, the medium acidity and thin fruits did not meet the promise of the nose as new oak flavours dominated the palate.




I was pleased to have visited Bramon. It is always a pleasure to taste wines from a new region and increasingly harder to do so as I explore the South African wine estates. Bella was pleasant and knowledgeable and (sadly, this is not guaranteed) the wines were served at the correct temperature to show them off at their best. I sensed Bramon to be at the forefront of new winemaking and a new industry in the new region. The wines showed an immaturity of intensity and depth, with some freshness, that can only improve as the vines grow older and winemaking experience improves. Bramon, for now, is certainly leading the pack and benefitting from being the first winery to gain the Plettenberg Bay Wine of Origin.

#capewinelover #DrPeter

Wines tasted (bought *):


2015 Sauvignon Blanc Brut MCC – R190*


2018 The Crags Sauvignon Blanc – R130
2018 Sauvignon Blanc Reserve – R150 FAVOURITE WINE


2019 Lodestone Miss Lottie Rosé – R113


2018 That Wine Demesne Pinot Noir – R270


You Might Also Like

Shiraz Purrs at Manley Wine Lodge

Libby Would not have been Proud of Linton Park

Class in Glass at Glenelly

Iona Wines Remain Excellent In and At the Vineyard

More than Just a Destination

A Warm Welcome in the Cool Climate at South Hill

Straw Berry Yields for e-Ver-gelegen

Quality with Style in the Vineyard

Busy, Bubbly, Noisy Wonderfontein

Woody Wildekrans

Neil’s Vines on the Tr-Ellis in Stellenbosch

Quoin Rock Gently Roars at Knorhoek

A Quando-ary: When to Drink …?

I Needed to be Guided by the Angel Gabriel

Proudly Keeping it in the Family at Paul Cluver – or Not?

The Gods Come Home to the Vineyard

The Terroir is Honoured in the Bottle at Springfield

Diploma Done and Dusted – But for the Final Result – I Passed!

Style or Substance? Nitida left Me Wondering

PicknPay Pairs it again at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival

The Phoenix Rises from the Terroir at Thelema

No Black Marks at Raka

Kosie Wynes at Groenland

Kept Alone at Kaapzicht

Intimate, Tranquil and Refined

Summer Whites …… and Rosés

Clouds Reign in Stellenbosch

Leaping to the Right Conclusions

The Cut ‘n’ Paste Stellenbosch Wine Festival Comes to Cape Town

More Still at Tanagra

Boutique de Brendel

An Early Start at Rietvallei

Pinotage Hits a Purple Patch in Paarl

Cabsolutely Frankulous at the Carnival

One Day, Three Tastings, Five Wines and Seven Sisters

Family Fun at the Greek Harvest Festival

Purring at the Wines in Tyger Valley

Allez les Boks – Pas les Bleues!

Vrede en Lust Struggled to Reveal it’s Delight

In the Vineyard with Beyerskloof

Altitudes with Wine!

Family Fun in Pairs at Four Cousins

Windfall Offered Unexpected Delights

Wines Merely to Lust After

Very Cape Wines at Capaia

Groot Phesantekraal an Unexpected Surprise!

On the Left, but then on the Right …

Superb Views of Guardian Peak

Where’s the Grande in Provence?

Mutual Attraction

Laibach Shows its Spots

Better than a Fair View Where the Goats do Roam!

Becoming Ship-Shape at La Couronne

Bellville to Bellevue to Belle Wines

Verticle Tasting on the Ridge in Elgin


Ghostly Clouds Swirl at Spookfontein

Vista to Verdot at Glen Carlou

Peace but No Rest for Rust en Vrede

Perfection is Attainable at Boschkloof Wines

Fun(ny) Times at Lourensford

The Darling from Darling Steps into the Vineyard

Com-fort-able Wines at Fort Simon

Surprisingly Good – and Not Only for the Red Bus Tourists

Serenity without Worry or Preoccupation in the Chapel

Swiss Family Sauvignons at Eikendal

Mixed Spice at the Pinotage Festival

Around the (Old) World in 18 Hours – starting with the European Cuvée!

Water into Wine at Uitkyk

From Palette to Palate to Muratie

Individual Quality at Jordan

Quality Abounds on the Mound at La Motte

Haven Rather than Heaven at La Bri

Decent Wines Rock from the Pulpit

Hand at Work Handiwork at Boschrivier Wines

Rivergold is a Gem Waiting to be Discovered

Rustic Charm at the Altydgedacht Wine Farm

In the Garage in the Heart of McGregor

Speed Tasting with Sommelier ‘Royalty’ at my First SASA Meeting

Onderkloof Beats All the Odds Below The Valley

Iconic Steenberg

A Lekker Jol at Wandsbeck

Taint, Mould, Sweet-Sour, Elastoplast, Stale Honey, Bee Wax and Potato Skin With the Wine Prof

Wagons to the Cellar at Waboomsrivier

Noble Wines without the Rot

iWine rather than IMAX at the Cape Gate Mall

Eq-wine – Fine Wines and Fast Horses!

Multi-Faceted Wines on Display at the Vineyard

Wacky – not Tacky – in Robertson

Dave Goes Down Under and the Wines Go Up

No Blues at Hillcrest

Honest, Affordable Family Wines at Landskroon


Cheers! Or Beers?!

More-ish Wines at Môreson

Pick n Taste Time at Stellenbosch

Mooi Mooi Mooi Mooiplaas

View from the E-Skaap-ment

Blaauwklippen was Good for a Friday

Magical Wines Star at Dragonridge

Sweet and Safe Times Pair Well with the Whales

Heaven Meets Earth at Bouchard Finlayson

Value for Money from Angel Gabriel in the Vineyard

Warwick Wines Win their Colours

2018 Wacky Wine Ends at Le Roux & Fourie

Slave to the Rhythm at Solms-Delta

Big Preparations in the Little Vineyard

Great Value in the Swartland

Taking the Garage into the Classroom

On Yonder Hill There Stands a Vineyard!

Sugar and Spice is Twice as Nice

Lithos Wines Soar above Mountain and Forest

House Wine from the Wine Tram

Beyond Expectation

Trading Wines in the City Bowl

Well Hosted and Enjoyable – Even Though I did not Experience at its Best

Being Creative at Flagstone

Bushmanspad Gave Me the Weirdest Tasting Ever

Posh Spice in Franschhoek!

Of Female Rugby Players and Ballet Dancers! Let’s Continuously Study Very Seriously: Wines of the Loire and Northern Rhône

Putting into Port at De Krans

A Kleine Experience at Zalze

Bracing Brakes on the Red Wines at Remhoogte

My Best Blend at Zandvliet

Red Chair in the Morning

More Plaisir at de Merle Please!

The Garagiste in the Garage at Sonklip!

Villion Pairs with Barton in Bot Rivier


Graham Beck MCCs Fizzled Out

Sylvan Vale Wines Good for a Meeting or an Eating

The Big Easy Tee’s Off in the Vineyard

Grape Expectations are Met at Zevenwacht

Hope Lies High in the Valley

Horsepower in the Vineyard

Dreaming of a Wine Christmas

Wines Out of the Barrel at Kanonkop

Sax ‘n’ Berg at the Vineyard

British Reserve and Excellence at Sumaridge

From the Angel Gabriel to the Arch Angel

Au Revoir France!

There’s No Gun Smoke Without Wine

Lust-ful Reds in the Vineyard

Colmant Sparkled

Peter Falke Didn’t Knock my Socks Off

Pastures Anew at Rustenberg

K-eynote W-ines at the V-ineyard

Beau-tiful Beau-tique Beau-Constantia

It’s High Time Again

Rain Meets Earth at Newton Johnson

Only One JC Le Roux Wine Sparkled and Scintilla-ted

How Do You Grow a Vineyard Like Maria?

Try as I Could I Did not Find Waterkloof Wines Dynamic

Sublime Sauvignon Blanc Makes up for Variable Bloemendal

Waxing Lyrical about Canto

Saxenburg Puts Heart, Mind and Soul into Its Wines

Le Lude Left Me Feeling Flat

Hope Brought to the Vineyard

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *