Cape Town and South Africa’s Wine Country: Final Segment of the African Experience Series
Cape Town and the Historical Mount Nelson Hotel are on the Top of the List if you’re looking for Beaches, Mountain Views, World Class Restaurants and Five Star Services.
http://www.mountnelson.co.za/web/ocap/mount_nelson_hotel.jsp (Mount Nelson Hotel)
The Nelson employs Guides specialized in Wine Tours and recommended their best for our tour. Mr. Darrol Lee was Professional, Knowledgeable, Enthusiastic and Passionate about Cape Town, the Wine Country and South Africa. He made our trip. In one day Darrol steered us thru three Wine Tastings, showed us incredible scenery in the Stellenbosch Region and the Franschhoek Valley 86 K from Cape Town.
We also stopped at the Gates of Victor Verster where Living Legend Nelson Mandela exited to Freedom on February 11th, 1990. (President Mandela spent his last 18 months of captivity at Victor Verster after spending most of his 27 Years of incarceration at Robben Island Prison & Pollsmoor Prison.)
SEIDELBERG Vineyard (Stellenbosch)
This beautiful Vineyard was established in 1692 under the Dutch Name of De Leuwen Jagt (The Lion Hunt). It was purchased by the German Roland Seidel Family 13 years ago and continues to produce sensational wines. We tasted Chardonnay, Sparkling Rose, Shiraz and a Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve (that we also purchased). The Tasting Room is a brick situated below ground level making a cool and comfortable atmosphere. Our host introduced a Seidelberg Wine Maker who graciously answered questions. The Vineyard also offers a Guest House, Restaurant and Bakery.
BOEKENHOUTSKLOOF (Franschhoek – Cape of Good Hope)
The Franschhoek Valley (Dutch for French Corner) was Pioneered by French Huguenot Refugees in 1688 and covered with Pine Trees and is simply beautiful. The Boeknehoutskloof Vineyard takes full advantage of its location and a visit to its tasting room was a highlight of our trip. We tried their staple Wolftrap Label named after a 250 device placed on the property to protect the workers. (The staff enjoy the fact that wolves never inhabited the region and the trap remains useless to this day.) It’s a delicious blend of Syrah/Mourvedre/Viognier and we enjoyed it thoroughly at the Sevruga Restaurant located at Cape Town’s Marina Waterfront. We also purchased a bottle of THE CHOCOLATE BLOCK which is a fine combination of Syrah (69%), Grenache (12%), Cabernet Sauvignon (10%), Cinsault (7%) and Viognier (2%), respectively. This wine is delicious and went well with very Fresh Seafood and Sushi eaten at the Codfather Restaurant located on THE DRIVE at Camps Bay.
http://www.dining-out.co.za/member_details-MemberID-1054.html (Codfather Seafood & Sushi)
WATERFORD ESTATE (Stellenboch)
The Waterford Estate is a Majestic Piece of Property with Architecture equal to the Natural Beauty of the Blaauwklippen (Blue Stone) Valley encompassing the Vineyard. Our very knowledgeable Host for the Wine Tasting “Marvin” grew up on the property and looks forward to designing wines for the Waterford Estate in the near future. We purchased a 2006 Bottle of the JEM. (Flag ship wine named after the Estate Owner Jeremy “Jem” Ord.) The Estate also produces Chocolates designed to be enjoyed with specific wines. This was an new experience and we enjoyed it thoroughly. (We brought a box home to sample with wines in our home cellar.) We’d like to return to the Waterford Estate and enjoy time in their Guest House with tours focused on their wine craft.
-Oprah Winfrey selected the Kevin Arnold Shiraz (Waterford Estate) for her 50th Birthday Party.
-Each Vineyard visited had a beautiful and large canine mascot that inevitably joined our tasting session.
-A Victor Verster Prison Guard greeted us and joined us for Photos in front of its Gates.
-The Franschhoek Region also offers French History Museums, Monuments to the Huguenots and hosts Celebrations including Bastille Day.
-Our Guide Darrol Lee has guided the likes of Pro Golfer Ernie Ells who owns a Winery in Stellenbosch. Success breeds success: Darrol’s contagious enthusiasm inspired a New York Financial Mogul to fly him and his wife to New York for a Home Stay and City Tour.
-The Route to the Wine Tour passes about 10 Kilometers of Cape Town’s “Townships”. Africa’s dichotomy never failed to make us aware of the opportunities and life enjoyed in Japan and North America.