A Sunday Telegraph “article”:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/africaandindianocean/southafrica/capetown/11310020/Cape-Town-10-reasons-why-now-is-the-perfect-time-to-visit.html on Cape Town (Dec 2014), recommended a wine tour with Stephen Flesch of “Gourmet Wine Tours”:http://www.gourmetwinetours.co.za/. Having recently returned from a brilliant day out with Stephen, I’d heartily endorse this.
After establishing our wine preferences, Stephen produced a personalised itinerary of five, very different wineries in the Western Cape Province. We were picked up at 9am and 30 minutes later we were sat on the outdoor terrace of the world-class estate “Vergelegen”:http://www.vergelegen.co.za/ in Somerset West, with six sparkling glasses and six bottles laid out in front of us. Stephen had selected the wines for us and each was introduced presented by a very knowledgeable girl. There was a spittoon but, despite the early start, it wasn’t used! We wandered through the hexagonal gardens (their wine labels are the same distinctive shape) to the old, low, cream manor house with its thatched roof.
Next stop was a total contrast: the family-run vineyard of “Ken Forrester”:http://www.vergelegen.co.za/ (known as Mr Chenin). We sat at a small table under a veranda and tasted the wines as they were brought out one by one.
Our final stop before lunch was “Thelema Mountain Vineyard”:http://www.thelema.co.za/, where in a modern tasting room with low, bright orange stools and a roaring fire, we tasted our first fizz – known as Methode Cap Classique (MCC) as they’re not allowed to call it champagne. There are two distinct vineyards here (Thelema and Sutherland which is in the cool, coastal area of Elgin) and it was interesting to try wines grown on two different terroirs.
Having driven slowly through the historic and picturesque town of Stellenbosch, we lunched at the “Delaire Graff Estate”:http://www.thelema.co.za/ with its huge, modern restaurant where Stephen chose the wines to accompany Karoo lamb and beetroot cured trout.
The first stop of the afternoon was at “Simonsig”:http://www.simonsig.co.za/ named after the majestic views of the Simonsberg Mountain and noted for its wonderfully named, Kaapse Vonkel fizz. I decided I definitely couldn’t use the spittoon on fizz.
The final stop of our tour was “Nitida”:http://www.nitida.co.za/ in Durbanville, another family-owned estate with its small, boutique wine cellar where we sat outside in the cooling afternoon air and tasted eight wines. By this time, we were happy to use the spittoon.
Not only did Stephen prove to be an excellent guide and chauffeur, he
also provided a specially-designed box which allowed us to bring 12 bottles safely home on the plane (within duty-free limit and luggage allowances). We’re now preparing wine tasting evenings for friends.