Thursday, 9 October 2008

Road trip to the Mother City #6: Winetasting

On Tuesday we decided to head into the Winelands and enjoy our very own selection of wine farms in the Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschoek area. This was always going to be an over ambitious endeavour, given that we only gave ourselves a day, and even the selection of 5 farms we started off the day hoping to see, quickly reduced down.

Fairview Farm
We first headed out to Fairview, a farm closer to Paarl, known not just for its wines, but its cheese too – in particular its goat’s cheese.
We tasted a selection of their white and red wines, from a number of different named brands, and quite enjoyed them. However, at the end of it all we bought just 2 bottles, and then set off to taste their cheeses. WOW! Some of their cheese were just sublime, magnificent and a taste extravaganza! Needless to say, we bought a heap of their cheeses…
Fairview is a beautiful setting though, with its iconic goat tower (complete with 4 rather lazy but no less lovely goats) and a really beautifully manicured garden around the tasting room. It certainly is with a visit just for the experience and the views of the Boland.

Vrede en Lust
Having had our fill of cheeses, we decided on a change of our original plan, and headed off to a farm that Ulricha had suggested, Vrede en Lust. A beautiful old farm from 1688 and one of the original Stellenbosch wine farms. Through a chequered history though, the farm has also been a fruit producing farm, only recently returning to its original heritage of being a wine farm.
The tasting room was a sumptuously decadent room, with oversized couches overlooking their vineyards and the mountain backdrop of Stellenbosch. This beauty faded though once we started tasting their wines. Such a beautiful mix of light and easy drinking wines, put together like a symphony, with wine maker Susan Swartz the orchestra leader. I must say though that Yvette, the wonderful lady helping us in the tasting room was brilliant – with a full knowledge of her product and able to bring the wines to life by telling us where they came from and what they were good with. She was also a really good sales woman, and we left with 6 bottles of wine!

We then enjoyed a wonderful lunch at their restaurant, which was brilliant, and a lovely break in the day – accompanied of course by a bottle of wine!

Deciding to follow Yvette’s advice, we headed off to Franschoek, to a small farm called Boekenhoutskloof. This is a little known farm, located at the foot of the mountains around Franschoek and a completely new experience to us. Their wines however were well known to us – Porcupine Ridge and Wolf Trap. And so we got stuck in, enjoying our fair share of their red wines. We were then introduced to a fantastic wine, called Chocolate Block – a wonderful red wine. Impressed? We certainly were, and left the farm with another 5 bottles of wine! So impressed were we, that we returned to Franschoek to enjoy a late afternoon bottle of the Chocolate Block at a local restaurant called Reubens.

It really was a wonderful day in the Boland – enjoying some fine local wine and cheese and feeling that we had come away with a little bit more culture and appreciation for our local wine making heritage…. Or was that just the wine talking?


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