Sunday, 26 April 2009

Wine Tasting

13th April 2009

As we have already been here for three and a half months we thought that it was high time that we went to visit some of the local wine estates. What better way to spend a few hours of the Easter holiday!

The whole area around Stellenbosch is full of vineyards and some of the best known wines in South Africa and the world come from this area.

First up was Villiera, just down the road and a favourite of Elaine’s. The setting was fantastically rural and relaxed and the wine tasting was free. Our waiter was very knowledgeable and took us through the M├ęthode Cap Classiques (Champagnes), various white wines, red wines and finally their very own port wine! We tasted 8 different wines each, electing to swallow rather than spit!

Feeling very relaxed we decided to buy a few bottles of our favourites, available in the estate shop more cheaply than the same wines are available for in the bottle stores. Definitely a win-win situation! As we waited for the wine to be packaged up we looked at the hundreds of banknotes from around the world on the walls, most remarkable, sadly, was the Zimbabwean 50 Million Dollar note, issued on 2nd April 2008 and only valid until 30th June 2008. For reference purposes at the time 100 million Zimbabwean Dollars was worth approximately £0.37 (approx 5 Rand), but with inflation increase percentages measured in the tens of millions it would have been worth far less just in the time it took you to read this. Why the world chooses to do nothing about ‘Uncle Bob’ is beyond us. Anyway, enough of the political statements!

Next up was the Seidelberg Estate in nearby Paarl. Another free tasting of 7 or 8 wines with stunning views of Paarl Mountain and Table Mountain followed as well as the purchase of yet more of our favourites! Also on site is a glass studio and we watched for a while as the glass blowers made amazing patterned bottles from scratch. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) all of the products here were slightly out of our price range!

We decided to go to the Fairview Estate next door for something to eat as it has a very good reputation and possibly squeeze in one final tasting. Another beautiful location but unfortunately we were just too late for the restaurant so we decided to make our way home and come back another day. Tasting 16 wines and buying 12 bottles was probably enough of a day out anyway!

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