Walking down the aisles of any wine store, you will most likely find a sizable selection of South African wines. South Africa produces some of the most amazing and affordable wines, with the two most renowned areas being Stellenbosch and Franschoek. Only a 45-minute drive from Cape Town, the alluring landscape combined with boutique hotels and endless picture-perfect wineries can easily fill up an entire week of wine tastings.
Our first stop was Jordan. From the moment you arrive, you feel like you are walking into a picture-perfect postcard. The lush green grass filled with picnic tables and lounge chairs surrounding a beautiful lake creates quite an impressive and relaxing ambience. Jordan not only has a world renowned winery, but also a five-star boutique hotel, a top notch restaurant, and a casual bakery.
We did the cellar tour with a tasting of four wines. The sommelier was knowledgably and passionate about their wines and so we quite enjoyed the tour. As it was still early and our first meal of the day was practically wine, we decided to grab a coffee and something to eat at the bakery.
Our next stop was Rust en Vrede - admittedly our favorite winery. Driving up to the massive estate is a journey in itself, but once you arrive on the premises it’s difficult not to be impressed by the tastefully selected décor.
We decided to do the Single Vineyard Tasting, where you can taste four different single estate wines. We absolutely loved the Single Vineyards Syrah 2014, although the other tastings on offer were excellent as well.
The intriguing part of Vergelegen is that it’s surrounded by beautiful gardens. It’s no wonder that it’s quite family friendly, as you can grab a pre-ordered picnic basket and head off into the gardens to find your perfect spot surrounded by nature.
As the picnic wasn’t available at this time of year, we decided to do the Flagship and Reserve Range tasting instead. We though the reds were ok, but were more impressed with the Sauvignon Blanc Reserve, as it was refreshing and well balanced. Of course, we couldn’t resist to check out the several interconnected gardens and found that a person could easily spend a half day here.
Driving up from a distance you will notice the amazing architecture of the Waterkloof building. Its contemporary design reflects within as well.
Our favorite feature of Waterkloof is that you can watch the talented chefs prepare gourmet food right in front of you. As we were headed to dinner later, we decided to go with the charcuterie platter for a light lunch and try the Pinotage. The Pinotage left us a bit high and dry, but the platter was quite nice and by the looks of the plates passing us by, we imagine the set lunch is quite delicious as well. Another interesting thing you can do at Waterkloof that we unfortunately didn’t have enough time to do, is a horseback riding vineyard tour.
Unlike the above mentioned wineries, Boschendal is an easily accessible brand in London. As we once had an amazing Boschendal Lanoy 2012, we were quite looking forward to visiting this winery and possibly finding this wine again. We decided to go for the Chocolate Tasting, which paired different chocolates with different wines including dessert wines. It was quite an interesting and different experience. The sommelier offered helpful explanations and comparisons. However, we did feel a bit disappointed as this winery felt more commercial … the kind of place a giant tour bus would stop. The wines were ok, but nothing really stood out, if anything we were more impressed with the chocolates.
We managed to get to Fairview just in time for a pre-dinner snack. The setting is quite amusing, as you see their goats walking up and down their castle and along the bridge to the fields.
Of course, we went for the cheese tasting, which offered a delicious mix of cheeses paired with very interesting wines. We quite enjoyed the goat cheese and were also impressed with their Pinotage.
We finished off a beautiful day at Tokara Restaurant, which is arguably one of the best restaurants in the winelands and we have to say; we definitely agree. The sunset over the vineyards is a beautiful sight worth waiting for.
On the way to the main hall, you can see several interesting artworks, as well as take a peek into the busy kitchen. Our steaks were cooked to perfection and the wine pairing was excellent. The decadent and unique desserts sealed the deal.
We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.Read Mark & Herta’s full story.