Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lost in Translation

Firstly, don't ever, and I mean ever take the N2 to get anywhere. I have started a Facebook group, a petition a blog you name it to have the N2 declared the world biggest or should I say longest parking lot. Getting stuck in traffic at the best of times can be a sour grape to swallow but when your dying of thirst, craving Elgins famed grassy Sauvignon Blancs, surrounded by Taxis and with only distant views of the Cape Flats to console you, then traffic jams are officially worse than cork taint.

And so it was that Dionysus took almost 2 long hours to finally arrive in the beautiful Elgin Valley. Pegerine Farmstall were hosting a farmers market, but no time for that as we had wineries to visit...first stop Elgin Vintners. The sign at the gate said open for tasting, and the tasting room was set in a truly amazing spot beside a lovely lake surrounded by tall tress. Pity the tasting room was closed...As I peered through the glass pain window the alarm to the building went off. I had become a wine thief. Leaving the distant chimes of the alarm behind us we set off undaunted to find Highlands Road Winery. As my stomach was beginning to rumble like a car that needed fuel I was looking forward to enjoying the delights of their famed
deli. Pity the sign at the farm gate said Deli Closed. Well at least they still made wine. Oops the bridge to the farm had been washed away and access to the farm was no longer.

By this time I was getting desperate. With haste we headed off to find South Hill Winery, and what a find it was. Slap bang in the middle of nowhere, this beautiful stunning Winery and Restuarant welcomed us with open arms. Finally cold, crispy Sauvignon Blanc. If you enjoy the greener style cooler climate Sauvignon Blanc then you will enjoy this wine. South Hill also make a stunning Cab Sav Rose that I really enjoyed. The wine tasting is done very informally at the bar counter in the restaurant. Don't expect the barman to be able to answer to many questions relating to bailing, brix or tons per hectare. However the wine, the beautifully decorated restaurant come Bohemian art gallery and stunning views make the trek worthwhile. We will be back to try the restaurant as the menu and food looked interesting.

Back on the dreaded N2 we headed off to Hermanus. First stop Whalehaven Winery. A lovely young lady and a non perplexed type reading the paper (I recognised him as the winemaker Mr Bodega) welcomed us. I firmly believe in a winery focusing on a select core range of wines, while some wineries are capable of doing a broad spectrum of wines. I would say Whalhaven falls into the latter. Their product includes the Premium Idiom Range, and the extensive Whalehaven Range. I tasted quite a few of the wines across both ranges and came away fairly impressed. The standout wines for were the Idion Cape Blend and Sangiovese, and from the Whalehaven Range the Crushed Velvet and the Old harbour. With such an extensive list of wines, so many varieties at different price points you are spoilt for choice, and a return visit is in order. One thing that stood out for me, was Mr Bodegga's relaxed demeanour and candid way that he interacted on a personal level. So many times winemakers can be aloof or distant, this certainly wasn't the case. He was friendly and warm, and with our lovely host helped make this a memorable tasting and definitely a venue that we will be paying a return visit. A less rushed and extensive tasting of this entire range of fine wines is called for.

From here we headed to Hemanuspietresfontein, but more about our experiences here in my next blog.

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