Just returned from a fabulous time in the Winelands outside of Cape Town.
We started the day out at Zevenwacht. The trip included a winery tour and cheese as well as wine tasting. I have to say all the wines were great with the Tin Mine White and the Syrah standing out. The Tin Mine White is a mixture of Viogner and Chardonnay which brings out citrus and stone fruit flavors. The Syrah is smooth and had flavors of chocolate and cherries and seemed like the perfect winter wine. The cheese were good. All cheddar, with my friend and I liking the 9 month aged cheddar the best.
We then went to Le Bonheur, which which is the most magical place. We were the only ones there and the setting was in the traditional Dutch style, the building dating back to the 1700's. The two standouts for me were the Prima and the Chardonnay. The Prima is blend of Merlot and Cabernet. Very luscious. The Chardonnay felt like a perfume, lemon, vanilla, and clove but is was still delicate and wonderful. The Cab was also very good but strong and would be great mellowed for a few years.
Next was Backsberg which seems to be a local favorite. The wines were all very complex and unusual. I love the crisp Viogner, and the Klein Babylonstoren which has also been recognized by vinters and the critcs as well with past vintages being awared the vinter's Diamond and the most recent vintage getting the double gold.
We stopped for lunch at Backsberg and had delight meal of Lamb on the spit, potatoes, au gratin vegetables, salad, roasted vegetables. The lamb could have been better but overall a great meal outside in the wine country. We stopped of to the Tomes Chocolate store for few chocolates for dessert. The ginger-chili dark chocolate truffle was outstanding.
We then went to Anthonij Rupert's L'Ormarins. This is not the same winery as the Rupert-Rothschild but the wines were still wonderful. The Protea White was very clean and crisp and th Chardonnay nicely rounded but not overpowering. The sangiovese from the label Terra del Capo, felt like a full Itlalian meal with hints of cherries and a nice earthiness. The Arne is a mixture of merlot and sangiovese which is extremely unusual but turns out wonderfully. Like smoother more complex version of the sangiovese.
Finally, we ended up at Vrede en Lust which has an exceptional restaurant, cheese shop - Cotage Fromage, and winery. The pace here was very frenetic as seemed to be the place to be and be seen being. The cheese shop had just opened and we had some of the best cheese I have had in a long time. The wines were also excpetional. The Karien, their Chenin Blanc was crips and fruity with a touch of sweetness and the Shiraz though supposedly made for a woman's palate, I found extremely refreshing. Susan Wessel was named Woman Winemaker of the Year and from her wines you can see why.
The only other place I want to recommend is Camberley. This small winery is making some of the best wines in South Africa and there Charisma and Philosopher's Stone are sold out until this summer. If you end up in SA for wine tasting I would highly recommend it. Overall a great time.
I enjoyed reading about your Winelands tour in Cape Town and thought you might enjoy reading my February 15th entry on blogspot.com. I have an online shop specializing in unique serving accessories, tableware and home accents, all hand crafted by some of South Africa's top artisans. My blog is www.JacarandaStyle.blogspot.com
My business takes me to South Africa regularly and I am always impressed with the quality of the cuisine and wine. Did you happen to visit Franschoek? It is one of my favorite towns in the CapeTown area. Where did you stay? There are so many wonderful hotels and inns in that part of the country.....