February 9, 2012

Dear Family and Friends,

Today was another day off, and it was awesome. I woke up early and by 8:45, was in the van on my way to the first wine tasting! The tour group was just five of us and our driver and guide, Tenga. The tour was a tour of the Cape Town wine lands. I slept on the way to the first vineyard in Stellenbosch but that was okay. Sometimes I can’t help falling asleep in the car. The first estate was called Zevenbosch. We got a cellar tour, and tasted four wines as well as three and six month aged cheeses that went well with the wines.

A lot of these estates make both cheese and wine. The coolest thing about this cellar tour was that since we were there at the time of the harvest, we got to see the grapes coming into the cellar and get crushed by the machines! I’ve only been on a few cellar tours before, but I think this was a really special treat.

Next, we went to a little store on the way to the town of Stellenbosch. It was called Uncle Sam’s store. You have to hit a buzzer to get in (and also to get out). It’s a pretty old fashioned kind of general store, and you can buy a lot of different things there, although I didn’t. They make their own food products, including Peri Peri sauce, the local kind of chili sauce that goes on lots of different foods around here. 

After our little detour to the Uncle Sam’s shop, we went to the town of Stellenbosch. Theres an enormous university there, so the town has a very college-y feel to it. If I remember correctly, Stellenbosch university was originally an Afrikaans university, (and Cape Town University was English speaking) but now they teach to accommodate all (most) students. Still, the signs on the buildings are all in Afrikaans so that’s kind of cool, and I was told that there are some professors that are very traditional and well established and only teach in Afrikaans.

After walking through the town for a little over a half hour, it was time to break for lunch. By this time, the two other guys on the tour left us as they were only doing a half-day.

I ate lunch with my tour-mates John and Lene, from Denmark. They’ve been married for either 41 or 45 years, they weren’t sure. We went to Allee Bleue estate to the bistro there, and of course shared a bottle of wine. For lunch, I had smoked salmon with capers and pasta in a white wine sauce (keeping with the theme of the day). This picture is of John and Lene and Tenga. We’re getting back in the van after a nice photo opportunity of the valley to the right that you can’t see in this photo but is the subject of the first photo of the post.

On the way to the next tasting, we saw some baboons on the road! Just hanging out there! This was in Franschoek area.

If you look closely you can see that the one that’s in motion has a little baby baboon holding onto it’s belly. 🙂

The next wine tasting was at an estate called Fairview in Paarl area. You may be familiar with one of their brands of wine, Goats do Roam. This is the brand that they sell internationally. I had heard of it and tasted it before because two years ago I saw something about it on the Food Network about great value wines.

This tasting was also paired with cheese. You get a little sticker that says official taster, and then get some wine, and then if you want to, go over to the cheese tasting counter and taste the cheese that goes best with the wine. And then do it again (and again). We tasted a lot of wines. My favorite cheese was a goat cheese but I liked the wines more. They also poured some big tastes, so that was awesome. And this picture is what happens when you taste too much wine: 

I didn’t fall asleep the whole way back to Cape Town. It was about an hour drive. There was a bit of traffic too because the President was giving a State of The Nation address this evening at 7, so they closed a lot of the roads.

For dinner, I went back to Bukhara, the Indian restaurant I went to on Sunday, and now I’m packed and ready to go to Namibia tomorrow. I have a flight to Windhoek extremely early in the morning. I can’t wait to come back to Cape Town.



One Response to “Winelands!”

  1. Have a good flight, Love you

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