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ashbourne, United Kingdom
April 12, 2010
From journal South African Road Trip
January 6, 2004
And as well as feasting your eyes whilst driving through this majestic sweep of colour, there is of course another reason to be here. At any hotel or stop-off place in virtually the whole area you can pick up a wine guide pamphlet for the region, which will include a road map on which are marked three routes around wineries (grouped and categorised red, orange and blue - not for any vinicultural reason that I could see but rather for ease of reaching them by car one after another). There are literally dozens of wineries to choose from - my own selection and recommendation (chosen because they fell to be passed close by each other and I ran out of steam!) is as follows:
- Delheim at PO Box Koelenhof, where you can sit and enjoy a tasting in the "Downstairs" cellar-room - nicely candlelit with pleasant "waiters" who help you to your choice of about 8 wines and advise you. You pay R15 for a modest helping of 5 wines (including an excellent "fizz", sumptuous Chardonnay and to die for Noble Rot). Open daily during summer 9-17 weekdays; 9-15 Sat.; 11-15.30 Sun. (Oct- Apr). It's not so commercial as some and the waiters don't hurry or press you. Only minus point is that you have to buy little sachets of crackers to accompany your wine. The Garden Restaurant is very light and airy, and pleasant for lunch. For a further R15, take a guided tour of the real Cellar which takes you from where the grapes are received and processed to where the end-product is bottled and labelled
- Delaire at 9 Helshoogte Pass Stellenbosch - sit outside under the trees for a slightly smaller range but an extremely good (and well-priced) Shiraz. Afterwards, the Green Door Restaurant looked popular and well set-up. Open Mon-Fri 8.30-16.30; Sat 9.30-12.30 (cellar tours by appointment only).
- The path into Delheim passes Muratie, a small and cute virtually one-room outlet. It's a refreshing change from the slicker places, its seats are weathered leather armchairs and the tables battered oak - the knowledgeable staff are extremely proud of the cobwebs on the stained-glass window, allegedly untouched for 30 years (you can almost believe it). Muratie specializes in red (including a nice Cab. Sauv.) and fortified wine, including a stupendous vintage port. R10 buys a taste of 4 or 5 wines/slugs of port, and seems to be refundable against a purchase.
After all of that, the amazing view is only improved but make sure you have a driver with you!
From journal Cape Town Pt 2 - In and around the Cape