Today, we took time away from the ocean and visited some of our favourite winemakers “over the mountain” in Grabouw, Bot River and the Hemel en Aarde Valley. Kate works for the Cape Winemakers Guild and took the day off to introduce Chloe and Charles, visiting from Heston Blumenthal’s Hind’s Head Restaurant in the UK, to some of South Africa’s winemaking greats.
We started off with a visit to Andries Burger of Paul Cluver Wines who gave us a quick tour of his cellar (they are bringing in the last of the Sauvignon Blanc today) and tasted some of his magnificent wines. Andries is well known for his delicious Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Gewurtztraminer, Pinot Noir and Rieslings (including an awesome NLH version). And divers – you’ve just got to check out the sculptures outside their restaurant Fresh!
After a quick drive around Hermanus we popped in at Bouchard Finlayson Wines in the Hemel en Aarde Valley where Peter Finlayson treated us to a great selection of vintages from his absolutely stunning Chardonnays, Pinot Noir and Hannibal (an Italian varietal blend, the 2010 of which won a Platter 5-Star last year). Charles is a sommelier and was absolutely blown away by Peter’s old world – new world style wines.
Our final port of call was Luddite in Bot River. Niels and Penny are two of the most welcoming and accommodating people we know and they spoilt us rotten by sharing a rare bottle of Niels’ 2005 Sauvignon Blanc as well as a number of vintages of Niels’ fantastic, big, full-bodied Luddite Shiraz. Niels is well-known for giving his Cape Winemakers Guild Auction wines quirky names “The Chosen One”, “Fig Jam”, “Wild Hoar” and “Two for Listening” – all stemming from the escapades of his son, Kim.
Cape Town has some of the most beautiful vineyards in the world where world class wines are produced. So, if the conditions are not good for diving, there is still lots to see and do – get out there and explore the beautiful wine growing regions of South Africa – don’t forget the wine!