CPT Wine Country – Stellenbosch and Franschoek

June 24, 2010

Cape Town and Wine Country

What an incredibly BEAUTIFUL city! Flying in, we could see the coastline on both sides, as well as Table Mountain and the sprawling skyline. We rented our car and headed to Table Mountain since it was a clear day and those are pretty rare in CPT, however being Sunday it was packed and we decided we’d rather spend our day drinking wine in Stellenbosch. Stellenbosch is only about a half hour/ forty five minute drive northeast of CPT. Nestled in a valley hugged by lush green mountains, it was as if were were in Napa/Scotland/Ireland all rolled into one. We checked into our guesthouse – Rustenbosch – which was a great modern spot with separate apartments all overlooking a courtyard and pool. Brody’s friend Andre, a native South African, picked us up and took us on an amazing wine tour through Stellenbosch.

Tokara Winery, Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa

View from patio at Tokara Winery, Stellenbosch

Our first stop was Tokara, an architecturally modern winery sitting atop a hill overlooking rolling vineyards and soaring mountains.

Lunch at Tokara Winery, South Africa

Lunch in Tokara's deli

Here we tasted a few great reds and whites before eating lunch in their upscale deli – enclosed in glass overlooking the landscape. We shared a bottle of chardonnay and took in the sights while eating grilled lamb with pesto, feta and green bean salad, quinoa and crusty bread – yum!

Our next stop was Boschendal, a winery in it’s original 1920’s buildings, where we sat outside in the sunshine and tasted a few of their wines. They make an excellent Brut Rose and Blanc de Noirs which we bought for the road as well as a few etched glasses.

Our last stop was Muratie, a old old winery tucked away behind overgrown bushes in an ancient building with spiderwebs and dust. Our host wasn’t very pleased that we walked in right before closing, but we had the place to ourselves and we think we won her over in the end. The wine here was great as well, their red especially – Ansela Van De Caab is wonderful.

Boschendal Winery, South Africa

Dave and I tasting the Brut Rose at Boschendal, Stellenbosch

Our host Andre then drove us to his family’s estate and winery called Seaton, in a beautiful old house surrounded by vineyards on all sides. We promptly opened more wine and dove into an exquisite cheese board – I felt like we were treated like royalty. We moved to the outdoor braai (bbq) and conversated around the fire while his many stray dogs kept us company and he roasted steak, boerwoers (sausage) and more for us. We sat down to an incredible meal with more wine, then off to the living room to watch the night’s match – where I quickly fell asleep on the couch ha. Thank you Andre!

The next day, we awoke to rain and fog but got up and headed to downtown Stellenbosch for breakfast at a place called Java. Being a college town, the feel of the main street was reminiscent of an East coast college town in the States. After a breakfast wrap and latte, we headed off to Franschoek to hit a few more wineries on our way out of town. The drive to Franschoek from Stellenbosch is through windy narrow passages in the mountains, next to rivers and surrounded by clouds. I swear we could have been in Ireland or Scotland again, especially with the weather and the green moss on the rocks.

Our first stop was Chamonix, a big winery with a little tasting room tucked away almost in a cellar. The wine here was so-so, I don’t think any of us were that impressed (it may have been the hangover from the night before or the fact that it was noon).

Haute Cabriere Winery, Franschoek, South Africa

The gang at Haute Cabriere Winery

Our next stop proved to be the best – Haute Cabriere estate and winery which was up on a hill overlooking the entire valley. We posted up at a table and tasted some amazing wines including a dessert wine called Ratafia – the only place in South Africa where it’s made. We befriended the cellar master’s son who gave us a tour of the cellar and the factory as well.

Next post, cage diving with the Great Whites in Gansbaai! AMAZING!!

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