Monday, July 20, 2009

Brokeback Mountain

Saturday was a day discovering the Voor Paardeberg area outside of Paarl. The views from this relatively undiscovered and certainly beautiful area makes this one of my favourite places to explore. The Paardeberg Mountain has Paarl on the one side and the Swartland on the other. This area is regraded as hot property, with loads of new wineries producing some fantastic wines. First stop was for padkos, so we found the nearest roadside MacDonalds, aka a padstal. Between Klapmust and Wellington you will find Red Star Padstal. As we were in drive through mode we opted for takeaway home made pies. These were no King Pies, but rather the genuine real authentic home made mammas pies. They had a lovely veranda and a play area to keep the little ones happy while you sip wine and take in the splendid views. Heavenly.

Stomachs well lined, we set off. Our first port of call was Perdeberg Winery. What impressed my immediately was their slogan: Keep wine simple. I like that and it works for me. They also have a long lineup of value for money winners. I found the wines to be pleasant, enjoyable and easy drinking. No fruit bombs or giant oak killers. As tasting room experiences go they can do better...these guys are rightly popular and on the afternoon of our visit they just couldn't cope. A very friendly and knowledgeable young lady fought a lone battle trying to keep thirsty wine lovers happy. Surely a winery with such a wide variety of wines at each price point needs a matching tasting room. The tasting room was no bigger than a small office.

Next we headed off to the Voor Paarderberg Tasting Venue on the David Frost Wine Estate. Their marketing punts the fact that this is a road less travelled, and that certainly was the case as we were the only visitors and had the place to ourselves. A group of smaller producers in the area have come together to form one tasting center, this makes sense as it is easier to manage and market. However it all seems to be falling flat as half the wineries have/are about to pull out of the this little joint venture. The tasting room is set in a most idyllic location with beautiful mountain views. It was a treat to enjoy the warm weather from the veranda and taste fine wines in such a stunning location. The standout wines were: David Frost Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 at R90 per bottle, a very elegant, silky well balanced wine. David Frost The Soft Smooth Red at R30 per bottle was like David Frosts putting stroke, very dependable, loads of red fruit, smooth finish. I also enjoyed the Bernheim JP Pacas Shiraz 2005 at R80 per bottle. I had never heard of JP Pacas before, but it turned out to be a lovely wine that should make a great match to Rosemary and Garlic Roast lamb.

A short hop took us to Riebeeck Kasteel for a lovely light lunch at The Barn. This is one of my favourite country bistros. Sitting outside, looking over the village to the distant mountains, enjoying a glass of crisp Chenin, sharing mezze platters with friends. What could be better...

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