In Search of a Great Wine

No trip to Cape Town would be complete without at least some sampling of the local wine country.  Just west of town are the prolific wine regions of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek.  We did not have a lot of time on this initial trip, so we tried to give preference to wineries that were recommended, but unfamiliar to us, and that were off “the beaten path”. Initially, we went to Spier Winery and Resort just south of Stellenbosch, not for their wine, but for their Animal Outreach program.  Then we went on to Rustenberg winery north of Stellenbosch, where we explored a beautiful tasting room, antiques buildings and lawns, as we sampled 6 wines of our choosing.  Their wines span an excellent range from simple table fare to classic cellar wines.  From there, we traveled to Franschhoek where we had lunch at a fine restaurant named La Petite Ferme.  While waiting for our table to be readied on the veranda, we sat on benches on the garden lawn overlooking the valley and distant mountains beyond while enjoying a delicate house wine.  Here we sampled some local fare, including Springbok Bobotie, a ground meat and spice mixture baked in a soufflé – simply delicious!  From here, we journeyed just north of Franschhoek to Dieu Donne Winery where we were greeted by a tasting room that opened to a great view of the valley and vineyards below.  Before leaving Franschhoek, we stopped at Morrison’s Vineyard, where we sampled their wide selection of excellent sparkling white wines.  Finally, as the sun was waning, we traveled north to Paarl where we went to Fairview Winery, famous for its homemade goat cheese.  Here, we tasted wines and sampled cheeses until closing, when we collected our purchases and headed back to Cape Town.  So many wineries to visit – and so little time!  But, we think we made the best of it, and we would recommend any of these locations to our friends.

SA2695 Rustenberg Vineyards

Rustenberg Vineyards, Stellenbosch, over 300 years old

SA2698 Julie Tasting at Rustenberg

Rustenberg tasting room, formerly a stable house

SA2704 Julie waits for Lunch

Julie sitting on the lawn at La Petite Ferme, Franschhoek, awaiting lunch and loooking down on Franschhoek Valley.

SA2706 Springbok Bobati

Springbok Bobotie, a favorite South African dish of a delicious mixture of lightly curried meat and fruit topped with an egg custard.

SA2709 Dieu Donne Vineyards

Dieu Donne Vineyards and Microbrewery in the foothills of the Wemmershoek Mountains, Franschhoek.

SA2713 Moreson Tasting Area

Moreson Vineyards tasting room, Franschhoek

SA2718 Fairview Vineyards

Fairview Vineyards and Cheese, Paarl