One of the main draws to come to South Africa, for me, was wine country. I had dreamed, back when I was planning my honeymoon, of touring wine country in South Africa. My husband was not a fan of long haul flights. (At 6'5", who could really blame him?) So South Africa was out of reach for me.
I couldn't even lure friends to come with me. Most who had any interest in South Africa wanted to do a safari, which meant going to the east coast of the country, not the west coast. But after researching Cape Town, and discovering how safe it can before someone traveling alone, I felt confident about booking the trip. And then excited... Because the first thing I scheduled was a private driver to take me through the Winelands of Cape Town.
There are hundreds of vineyards in the valley. Hundreds. I only have about eight hours to drive to the area, do the tastings, and drive back to Cape Town. I could have certainly booked multi-day excursions, or even have stayed in the the countryside. But I not being a "winey"... I knew one day was more than enough for me, given there were other things I wanted to do as well.
The first vineyard my driver/tour guide took me in the area was Fairview.
Fairview not only does awesome wines, but also cheeses and breads. And coffee roasting!
The Goat Shed is their cafe on the vineyard. But I didn't stop to eat... I was looking for the wine!!!
For $25 Rand (which is about $2 in USD - so CHEAP!) I got to try five wines AND quite a few cheeses.
The wines I sipped included:
- Pinotage - Dark fruit character with spice, dark coffee notes and additional tannins. (Meh.)
- Cabernet Sauvignon - Black currents, cherries and mint. (Perfect with lamb.)
- Pegleg Carignan - Light bodied with cranberry, black tea and tobacco flavors. (MY FAVORITE!)
- Barbera - Red berry fruit, spices and tannins. (YUM!)
- Petite Sirah - Big and bold.
Unlike most people, I wasn't wowed by the Pinotage. It was tasty, but not my favorite of the bunch. And the Petite Sirah was familiar to me, but again... Not my favorite. I loved the Pegleg and the Barbera.
"You're actually tasting the wine?" noticed my guide.
"Um," I hesitated. "Yes? Aren't we supposed to taste it? And swallow it?"
She laughed. She said that is indeed the point. She's just used to so many people not even bothering to really try it. They just dump it out after one sip.
But not me! I wanted my full moneys worth!
After the tasting, my guide insisted we walk to the bakery side and taste cheeses.
"Free cheese? You don't have to sell me hard on that!" I told her. Plus, I was already feeling the effects of the wine.
The breads were adorable... Little goats stamped on them!
But the cheeses... So many!
There were about seven in total to try. My favorite were the two above... One of which has ASH stirred into it to give it that black marble look.
Afterwards, we headed back to the car. And on the walk, I noticed the goats in the pen...
One had made it's way up the tower to play in his hideout!
"What a great spot to escape from the heat of today," I thought.
I would have liked to have climbed up there with him... But it would have been dangerous in the skinny jeans, flip flops and tipsy state I was in at the time.
On to the next vineyard!!