A day in the wine country of South Africa

We had someone drive us up to the wine area for the day.  What is amazing is that the winelands are 45 minutes outside of Cape Town.  Tasting wine all day and attempting to drive is an ugly combination.  Our first stop was Meerlust.  A very old vineyard.  The grounds are beautiful.  This is the home of the owners, just looking at it brings you back to the colonial days.  Didn't love the wines but a nice first stop.

Jordan was next. Another beautiful property. Jess was playing with the dog. In the states the label goes under Jardin because there was already a Jordan Winery in the US when they began shipping there.  What is interesting is the bottles of wine run about $8-10 each here and in the states they run to from $20-45. Taxes, taxes, taxes.  We tasted about seven wines and I did bring back two bottles of their Nine Yards Chardonnay which comes from the reserve.  Pricey for here. Cost me about $30 for each bottle so in the states this would run around $85.  

Next door to Jordan is another vineyard that we just drove up to and opted to move on but we found this place fascinating.  This particular vineyard has done research and believes that if the vines listen to classical music that the grapes will age better.  You can see in the photo the black speakers.  They plug in an ipod that has enough memory to play for 18 hours straight.  Gotta love that.

In August, I read an article in the New York TImes about a black South African woman who is a winemaker. Not only a woman, which is big but black which is huge in the wine making industry because at this point there are basically no black wine makers.  Her name is Ntsiki Biyela and her vineyard is Stellekaya.  It was the one vineyard we really wanted to go to.  We drove up and rang the bell.  They let us in and directed us into a wine tasting room.  Nobody was there and down the stairs walks Ntsiki.  She had just returned from a month long trip in Tuscany educating herself about wine.  We couldn't believe our luck.  We sat there and talked to her for awhile.  She is full of life, incredibly chatty and just charming.  Of course we bought two wines, the Cape Ross that won a Gold at the Michelangelo awards in 2009 and a bottle of her 2008 Cabernet.  It was interesting hearing her speak about getting approval to ship her wines to the US.  FDA approval of the label and exactly what goes on it.  Currently they sell in NY and CA.

View from lunchparkinglot
Food was needed.  We drove up to the Delaire Graff Estate to dine.  The place is absolutely stunning from the architecture to the setting and each detail is jaw dropping.  This is a photo from the parking lot.  I should have taken more photos but I just couldn't stop gawking.  The art work from the paintings to the sculptures are like being at a gallery.  There is a spa here and if you are in the area, come and just do something here even if it is just to have a drink to see the views.

More wine.  You can see the views from these two glasses.

Some bread to start to sop up all that alcohol.  Bread is really amazing around here.  Maybe it has to do with the water.  

Oysters  delare winery
More oysters for me.

Vegetable soup for Jessica.

Swordfish for a main course which was much richer than my every day salad lunch.  The swordfish had been grilled and then served over white asparagus, large green beans and spaetzle…and of course copious amounts of butter and salt.  

Lentil salad for Jessica.

Of course they brought over a few treats to top off the meal.

We went back down to the town of Stellenbosch and walked around a bit.  I wanted to go to Franschhoek too but Jessica was feeling a bit like crap so it might be just rest, rest, rest until tomorrow.  No worries, back to the hotel for a little rest and relaxation.  I told her I feel like I am on primo honeymoon.  Great day.