Posts Tagged ‘stellenrust’
taking a bit of a break from writing about the world cup. i have a lot to say on this year’s world cup, but i’m still a little emotional about my teams being out of it so i think i’ll give myself a little more time to cool down before getting my rant on. in the meantime, here’s how i spent last Sunday.
the first time i went to the stellenbosch wine festival was in 2008. it was held at paul roos. R120 got you in. it was fully packed…with very drunk students. i still had fun and enjoyed it, but i soon got over getting bumped into and having wine spilled on me.
fast forward to 2010. this year the price was R150, which is still quite cheap for a potential tasting from over 100 farms. this time however, it was not held at paul roos, but rather at the different wine farms that were participating. this meant: 1. we were not in a crowded tent with getting stepped on, shoved, and spilled on; 2. you got to visit the farm and appreciate it’s beauty and sometimes even meet the winemaker; and 3. while travelling between the farms your palate had a chance to recover from the last winery’s offerings and get ready for the next one.
we went to 5 different wine farms – all with at least 3 wines on offer for tasting – you really would have needed to go all 5 days in order to stand a chance of covering all the wine farms. also, they had a free shuttle services to take you to most of the farms – which is awesome, reduced the potential of drunk driving! really good job on this one guys.
1. we started off at the doornbosch center to pick up our tickets and then we had a glass of one of checker’s famous odd bin wines and a cheese tasting. Checker’s has a selection of wines which they sell for way less than you’d find in other stores or at the wineries themselves, and they save costs because the bottles don’t have labels on them, just a number – and from what one of the winemakers told us, labeling wines is quite expensive. so you get a high-end bottle of wine for a low-end price. yay!
2. we then took the shuttle to blaauwklippen wine farm. we had 3 different wines to taste – my favorite was their savignour blanc, i also liked the zinfandel…although i wasn’t very impressed with one of their employees who, i think, thought we were a bunch of drunk students and came over and told us we were being too loud…which we were not – drunk, students, or loud!
3. we then left that farm and headed for kleine zalze, were we bought a food basket and sat outside enjoying the sun while having some eats and tasting wines. they had a very wide selection of wines from which you could choose 5. my favorite was the chenin blanc. another one i liked was the cellar select blend, which a friend bought.
4. from there we headed to stellenrust. this farm had a jumping castle and pony rides for the kiddies, which was pretty cool. they also had a tractor ride so you could a tour of their farm…awesome. they also had an unlimited number of wine tastings – WIN! needless to say, we stayed for quite a while. we sat outside on their lovely grass and had glasses or wine bought out to us…i really enjoyed that stop.
5. second last stop was donier wineries. the cellar tours unfortunately ended at 2pm, we got there just after. but the winemaker allowed us to join a group that was already in progress. this tour included a little bit of wine-making education and a tasting of 3 of their barrel wines. because we were late we missed out on one of the wines, but i enjoyed the info on how wine is made and getting to see the facilities…very cool!
6. our last farm of the day was waterford. apparently they are famous for their chocolate but i’m not a huge chocolate fan so i wasn’t interested in chocolate tasting. (one of our group members however did buy me a chocolate brownie which was heavenly.) here, you could choose up to 8 wines to taste. my favorite wine at this stop was the rose-mary, which is blanc de noir wine. the colour is beautiful, and the taste, exquisite. that was the only wine i bought that day. we stayed at that farm quite a while as well as we had already decided that it was our last stop. the atmosphere was super perfect, the views beautiful, the waiters super friendly and engaging. i loved it.
from there we got back on the shuttle and headed back to doornbosch. some got coffee, others got food, and we sat and enjoyed the live music…while being entertained by a group of english tourist who kept yelling “we want more wine! this is a wine festival!”
oh yes, another hightlight was meeting lots of tourists on the shuttles and being reminded just how different cultures behave so differently. my favorite conversation went like this:
friend: “well, i call it soccer”
me: “it’s football, only americans call it soccer”
random english guy: “well we invented it, and we call it football so…”
random american guy: “yea, you just can’t play it”
lots and lots of laughs. also, lots and lots of passionate…uhm…disagreements. at some point we decided to change the subject to twilight because we felt that was a safer conversation.
it really was a wonderful way to spend a lazy sunday. i hope next year they don’t go back to paul roos – i really enjoyed visiting the wine farms!