Cape Town Part 3: The Winelands
The area around Cape Town is also known for its excellent wines, and South Africa actually hold the no.8 spot in the world for quantity of wine production. So on Friday we went on a tour of the winelands near Stellenbosch and Paarl and visited five different vineyards: Fairview, Villiera, Middelvlei, Lovane and Annandale. In each one our guide explained a different part of the viticulture and viniculture process and we tasted between 25-30 wines in total, as well as pairing them with different cheeses, salted chocolate and even biltong (a typical South African snack made of strips of dried & salted meat). In the third vineyard we were also treated to a delicious braai (aka a barbeque) for lunch.
Out of the five vineyards we visited my favourites were Fairview because of its incredible cheese, which is also made on-site, and Annandale which is one of the oldest vineyards in South Africa, and which provided a special red wine for the Prince of Monaco’s wedding. The Annandale building has such character and such great heritage that it’s impossible not to love it. But we also looked around a number of the warehouses and machinery where the wine is made in each of the vineyards, and we walked around cellars piled high with wooden barrels ageing the wine.
While I was careful at the beginning of the day to note down which wines I liked the most, by midday when the effects of the wine were beginning to take hold I got noticeably slacker and I can’t remember all of the various wines we tasted. I have a particularly sweet tooth so I adored the sweeter dessert wines and the ports and I would have loved to bring back a multitude of bottles to the UK if I had had space in my luggage. There were 11 of us in our group, one of the couples was even on their honeymoon, and there was a lovely relaxed holiday atmosphere to the entire day and I would do another wine tour in a shot.
I don’t profess to be an expert now, but I certainly know a bit more about what I do and don’t like, and I’m surprised how laborious a process it is to make a good wine. Our tour was run by Wine Flies and allowed us to indulge our tastebuds while seeing some of the beautiful surrounding countryside. A hire car would be useless for a day of wine tasting as one person wouldn’t be able to drink, so a small tour is an excellent way to see the winelands.