The Winelands

by Johnny

Seeing as how we’ve already visited the wine regions of France, Portugal, Italy and Croatia, we thought it only fair to add South Africa to the list…strictly for comparison purposes.  Only about an hour northeast of Cape Town lie the Cape Winelands, South Africa’s most famous wine producing area.  Fun fact…South Africa has the oldest wine industry in the world outside of Europe.  We drove through the university town of Stellenbosch before arriving at our home base of Franschhoek.  Franschhoek was settled over 300 years ago by French Huguenots, who brought with them their love of food and wine.  Today it is know as the culinary capital of South Africa…and we decided to take full advantage of this fact.

We had an absolutely amazing dinner at the locally-recommended Reuben’s on our first night before settling in early to get a good night’s rest from some serious wine tasting the next day.  We woke up to our first cloud-free day in South Africa, ate some breakfast, grabbed our map and set off on foot to some of the nearby wine farms.  We were happy to discover that 1) South Africa has some tasty wines, and 2) wine tasting in South Africa is pretty cheap.  At each wine farm, we were able to taste any four or five wines of our choice for 15 rand (about $2).  “Umm, yes, I’ll try the five most expensive, please.”  We really liked the Merlot and Pinotage (the region’s signature grape…a cross between Pinot Noir and Hermitage) at Chamonix, the view of the entire valley at Dieu Donné, and our mouthwatering wine and lunch combo at Mont Rochelle’s Country Kitchen (one of Anna’s favorite meals of the trip).  It was an amazing day, even if we ended up only visiting three of the five wineries we planned on and were too pooped to go out to dinner later that night (imagine that!).  Although it feels a little more like Napa than Africa, Franschhoek is definitely worth a night or two to enjoy some of the best food and wine South Africa has to offer.

The view from Dieu Donné
We picked up some goodies at Mont Rochelle Red wine for Red Beard
Lots of roses and pretty buildings in Franschhoek Church in Franschhoek
Pork belly from Reuben’s…mmmmm
Clouds creeping over the mountains

2 Comments to “The Winelands”

  1. Great pictures & comments.

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