A day in the Cape Winelands

We enjoyed the most awesome weekend! It was sunny and warm, back-to-t-shirt weather.  So we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to hit the wine lands again. It’s only about half an hours drive from Cape Town and then you’re already in either the Paarl or Stellenbosch region. Add another half hour and then you can make it to the culinary capital of South Africa: Franschhoek. We decided to go to the Stellenbosch region and kicked off with a tasting at the world renowned Kanonkop. I had not visited this wine estate before but know that they make TOP wines. Their wines mostely get 5 star in the John Platter guide. Their flagship wine is the Paul Sauer. Unfortunately we were visiting at the wrong moment. Their new wines were only going to be released 1 July 2011 and obviously they were mostly sold out on last year’s releases. Nevertheless we had a very pleasant tasting with a very knowledgeable sales person. We mainly tasted the Pinotage. Normally not my favourite but the Kanonkop one’s, I could deal with them quite well…

Our next stop was Neil Ellis. Well, here we had a bit of a different experience. First of all the entrance sign said that the tasting room was closed. We decided to drive in anyway because it was supposed to be open on Saturdays. This new tasting room has only been opened last year and it looks a bit like a bunker. There was a guy who was supposed to do the tasting but I guess he wasn’t switched on yet. He poured our first wine without any explanation. When my friend asked to tell us something about the wine, we were simply told: it’s a mix of this and that (sorry, forgot the grape varietals). He then carried on sending a text message… We thought it would be wise to tell him, the sign was still on ‘closed’ and that might perhaps be the reason that on one had visited the tasting room yet….He walked out, left us there, didn’t excuse himself and came back a bit later. We decided this was not really the kind of experience we were looking for and decided to leave. My friend made it quite clear to him why we were leaving. A pity, Neil Ellis does delicious wines  (I just looked at their web site and the son is GORGEOUS, wow, hope to see him next time although we won’t visit any time soon).
Next stop. Hm, where did we go again? Oh, yes, we went to the lovely Delicatessen at Tokara Wine Estate. I don’t know how they do it but when Tokara does something, they just get it absolutely right: their wines, their restaurant, the stunning view, the beautiful Olive Oils and of course also the lovely spot, Delicatessen. Very chilled, very childfriendly (we LOVED the massive Weaver Nest!!), it’s just the place you’d like to take your whole family and all of your friends to come and enjoy Saturday or Sunday breakfast or lunch. We just had some tea and croissants because the wine was starting to get to our heads. (well def. my head!).

I had booked lunch at Terroir, at Kleine Zalze Wine Estate. Another place where you can just be sure that they get it absolutely right. It is def. one of South Africa’s top restaurants. The food is just delicious. The sauces are the most yummy ones you’ll ever taste.  A 2 course Winter special was about ZAR 170, if I remember correctly and that also includes a glass of wine of the estate. We all ordered quite different dishes but each and every dish looked like a piece of art, the quantities were perfect and and the combination of flavours was just fantastic. On the menu last Saturday there was: a Wild Mushroom & Asparagus Risotto, Lamb Shank, Prawn risotto, Calamari is a truly delicious tomato sauce (sorry, next time I must get a copy of the menu because the way I describe it, doesn’t nearly sound as delicious…). What I just like to say: Terroir should be on your food & wine itinerary when you come and visit the Cape Wine lands.

After lunch we still wanted to see Rust & Vrede (also great lunch special) and Ernie Els’s wine estate. Both were beautiful and we will be back for a bit of a longer visit. That Hidden Wine Valley is really a hidden place. It was great to drive around and enjoy the stunning Autumn colours.  On the way back to Cape Town we were saying to each other how grateful we are to live in this beautiful part of the world. It truly feels like living in paradise!

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