When in Africa do as the Africans do…or more appropriately as the Capetonians do. Situated a 30 minute drive away from Cape Town is the university town of Stellenbosch. Although, it claims one of the leading universties on the continent of Africa, it is perhaps more famous for the fact that it is surrounded by 148 wine farms. Yes, it is a student’s dream, but it also fills the dreams of wine lovers all over the world. With so much choice the challenge of where to start can be a little daunting. But, of course with a few tips the daunting can become just about the best way to spend a day.
As one does have a lot of ground to cover the best attack is a planned attack . It just so happens that three of our favourite wine farms are situated a stones throw from one another. Our typically African day starts with a slow meander to Ernie Els’ Wine Estate, situated on the Helderberg wine route. One does not have to be into golf to enjoy Ernie’s wine, one just has to be into big, juicy red wines. Sit outside on the terrace gazing at views over mountains and vineyards enjoying any one of his six superb red wines. A special recommendation goes out to his Signature 2006, it will go perfectly with your ostrich fillet and chilli chocolate sauce!
At this point it is time for lunch which takes us over the hill and through the valley to Dornier Wine Estate on the Stellenbosch Berg wine route. Dornier wines could be best described as easy drinking. Perfect for a lazy day in the winelands. The best thing about this wine farm is that you are able to enjoy a wine tasting while enjoying a light lunch sitting out on the covered deck at rustic trestle tables. The tapas are to be highly recommended as well as the Saldahna black mussels which would marry beautifully with the Dornier Chenin Blanc 2010. Of course the spectacular view is included.
For dessert we would definitely make time for Waterford wine estate. They are famous for their beautifully crafted wines thanks to wine maker Kevin Arnold, but their popularity has however grown in the last few years due to their chocolate and wine tastings. Purists would say one should not pair wine with chocolate, but do we care what purists say? It makes for a uniquely delicious tasting experience situated in one of the most beautiful courtyards in the Cape. It is possible to do a regular tasting without chocolate but that would just be boring by comparison. Kevin Arnold is renowned for his beautifully structured red wines, but since we are going to Waterford Estate for dessert the Family Reserve dessert wine well chilled and paired with Chai masala chocolate is a bit of a highlight.