Monday, November 17, 2008

Wine, goats, and mountains

On our last day in South Africa we went on a little roadtrip to four wineries. You can visit the wineries themselves, taste the wines (sometimes for free), and then they hope you will buy a case or many. The area we visited was around Franshoek, an old French-inspired villages nestled in a valley, and around Stellenbosch, another old colonial-looking cute town.

My favorite winery was Fairview Estate. They had the best wine (Viogner, mmm!) , incredibly amazing cheese made by them and sold in their cheese shop together with balsamic glaze, fruit jams, and marmalades. In the middle of their garden at their entrance they had their signature feature - a tall tower for the goats to climb up on. This is a wonderful place, you have to go here when you visit South Africa.

We also went to Graham Beck Estates, which is housed in a long modern building with a lot of black, leather, sharp angles, and stainless steel inside. Behind a full-length glass wall you could see the conveyor belt of bottles being washed and labeled. Two bottles fell off and broke while we were watching. The wines weren't as good, but still good, except for the Merlot that I didn't like at all.

Tokara Estate is situated on a hill, overlooking rows and rows of olive trees and grape bushes. The view is absolutely fantastic, and they have the best restaurant I went to in South Africa. Here you could see the giant stainless steel fermentation vats, and by this time I didn't want any more wine, but I tried their amazing olive oil. I should have gotten some oil to bring home, but I already had too much weight in my bags.

At the last stop, Spiers, we didn't even go into the wine tasting place, but headed for their area where they keep cheetahs. Spiers has a giant parking lot and is a tourist trap with a craft market, play ground, a little zoo, and is not really my kind of thing. But the cheetahs were fun - they are part of an endangered species program. We saw them being fed raw chicken pieces, and they crunched through the bones like it was tooth picks. It was worth a visit just to see the cheetahs.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your kind comments about Fairview. It is always encouraging to hear that visitors have enjoyed their time with us. I hope to have you visit the farm again in the future.
Kind regards
Chris Bryant
Fairview Communications Manager

LS said...

Dear Chris,

Thanks for visiting our blog. Fairview was truly a wonderful experience. My children loved my photos of the goat tower, and we grownups also loved the wine and cheese. Your balsamic glaze sauce is the best I have ever had. I wish I had bought more and could have brought more good tasty things home. Also, the blond man behind the wine counter told me to try the dessert wine Le Beryl, which was fantastic. When we visited the other wineries later we got disappointed because neither of them had the charm and quality of Fairview. I am looking forward to come back sometime.